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Could My Child Have Dyslexia?

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Is your child struggling with his spelling, his writing, or his reading? Is your child not progressing as quickly as his classmates? Are you waiting for him to improve and catch up but he doesn’t. Then someone mentions dyslexia, and you start to wonder. But what is dyslexia and how do you know if this is something your child might have?


What is Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a broad term defining a learning disability affecting the language skills of reading, writing and spelling in children with normal intelligence and who have reasonable opportunities to learn these skills. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in children and persists throughout life. I affects boys more than girls.

Dyslexia can be related to brain injury, hereditary, or have hormonal influences. There are different levels of dyslexia from mild to severe. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among children with dyslexia include difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding.  Here are some indications that your child may be struggling with early language or reading development:


Warning Signs

Preschool Years

  • fails to appreciate rhymes
  • mispronounces common words
  • has trouble learning and remembering the names of letters, even those in own name

Early Elementary Years

  • struggles to break words into parts
  • has trouble learning names and sounds associated with each letter
  • struggles when reading simple one-syllable words
  • avoids reading
  • is persistently confused by letters which look similar, particularly
b/d, p/g, p/q, n/u, m/w

Middle and Late Elementary Years

  • has trouble pronouncing new words
  • makes slow progress in reading
  • lacks strategies for figuring out unfamiliar words
  • stumbles over simple sight words, like “the,” and “at”
  • guesses when reading unfamiliar words; pronunciation may not seem to correspond with sounds of letters
  • struggles with spelling
  • may avoid reading, or seem to spend an inordinate amount of time getting through reading assignments
  • struggles with reading comprehension
  • has trouble recalling sequences of things
  • has difficulty copying from a board or a book
  • written work is disorganized
  • difficulty remembering content, even if it involves a favorite book or video

Behavior problems

The child can become frustrated by the difficulty in learning to read, and other problems can arise that disguise dyslexia.  Watch out for behaviors that might reflect this, such as:

  • becoming withdrawn or appearing depressed
  • problems with self-esteem arising
  • acting out, drawing attention away from the learning disability
  • being excessively tired, due to the amount of effort and concentration required


What To Do

If you are concerned about your child, talk to his  teachers and pediatrician.  Diagnosis of dyslexia involves reviewing your child’s processing of information (seeing, hearing and participating in activities). It is important to get him or her evaluated as soon as possible because there are many strategies that can help your child improve and make significant progress and the earlier the interventions are put into place the better the outcomes.

If your child has dyslexia or any other learning disability one of the most important things is to motivate him and keep him excited about learning. Because the academic demands on a child with dyslexia may be great and the child may tire easily, work increments should be broken down into smaller chunks. Frequent breaks should be built into class and homework time. Positive reinforcement should be given for efforts as well as achievements. Alternatives to traditional written assignments should be explored and utilized. Teachers are learning to deliver information to students in a variety of ways that are not only more interesting, but also helpful to students who may learn best by different techniques. Interactive technology is also providing interesting ways for students to give feedback on what they have learned, in contrast to traditional paper-pencil tasks.


 Creative commons-licensed photo provided by SiSter PhotograPher.



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About the author

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz was born and raised in Guatemala and studied in a bilingual school, which is why she wanted the same for her children. She is a very passionate advocate for disability and Latino rights, loves cooking and loves going to the beach with her children. Paula is the founder and editor of the blog She lives in Florida with her husband and two kids.

  • Anna

    This is article brought me peace! I started thinking that my child had a learning disability but now I believe he might have dyslexia, I know that this can be hard but I also know now how to manage the situation and how to get help and help my Jason, thank you so much for articles like this.

    • Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

      I am so glad that this article was helpful and I and sure that your child will succeed at school if he is given the right accommodations and supports!

  • Marcusb

    There is nothing wrong with someone having Dyslexia and a child shouldn’t be treated any differently because of it. There is plenty of ways to treat Dyslexia and the quicker you get onto it the quicker you can fix the problem!

    • Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

      Thanks you for your comment and I could not agree more with you. We have to open our minds and realize that we are not all the same, children learn in different ways and we should not to fit a square peg into a round hole but we should be giving each child the tools he or she needs to succeed taking into account that everyone is different and that is ok.

  • BohemianBabushka

    I like the way you stated facts and didn’t pry on fears. I’m going to keep this article on hand as my grandbabies go through school- thanks for the reference guide.


    • Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

      Gracias a ti BB for your support!

  • LuAnn Braley

    Thank you for this well-reasoned article on dyslexia. Our exerience in school with our boys has been about 50% that if someone hears the word “dyslexia”, “AD/HD”, “sensory processing disorder” and the like, a child is pigeon-holed for the benefit of the school to create the fewest waves. It wasn’t all bad, though.

    In any case, the information you provide will help parents of children with medical diagnoses and/or learning differences to be proactive in protecting the educational rights of their kids.

    • Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

      I understand what you are saying and that is very common, but as parents we need to advocate for our children and remind the schools that they have a right to a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. Schools have the responsibility and are required by law to prove whatever your child needs to achieve success in a regular classroom. Schools sometimes forget and we just need to remind them. :)

  • Kristie

    I like to see that there are people that care about the kids having troubles in school i was one of those kids and i still have problems but i have learned to deal with it in my own way.Thank you for sharing all this with everyone that is trying to find help and answer’s it is very helpful and brings me peace to read all of this.

    • Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

      Kristie I have ADD, my husband has ADHD and Dyslexia and we where not diagnosed until we where adults. My kids also have learning disabilities but we are giving them the support that they need and they are doing great! I am glad that my own experience opened my eyes and I was able to get my children the help they needed early on. :)

  • Jeremy

    Dyslexia is an often overlooked problem that can have a serious effect on a childs learning ability. It is good to pay attention and point this type of thing out early on to give you child what they need to succeed.

    • Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

      Jeremy I completely agree. It is better to trust your instincts and find out more if you are concerned than to wait and see if your child grows out of it. The earlier this is addressed the easier it is for a child to strive in school.