Detecting Dyslexia

Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia and Determining When Academic Intervention is Necessary


Dyslexia is a learning disorder that causes difficulty reading and writing due to problems identifying speech sounds and relating them to letters and words. According to estimates from the Dyslexia Research Institute, it affects 10 to 15 percent of the U.S. population, and often goes hand in hand with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

There is no known way to cure the underlying brain abnormality that causes dyslexia. However, early detection and treatment can improve a child’s chances of success. Despite being a recognized visual processing disorder, only five in 100 people with dyslexia receive the support they require to lead full and productive lives. It's not only important to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of dyslexia, but also highlight the need to provide effective support and encouragement to people with the condition.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia

Parents and care givers may not recognize the signs and symptoms of dyslexia in children of pre-kindergarten age, but some early indications may signal a problem. Once children reach school age, their teachers may be the first to detect dyslexia. This is because the condition often becomes apparent as children start learning to read and write.

The symptoms of dyslexia can range in severity and vary between individuals. Compared with their peers, children with dyslexia may experience particular difficulties with:

Phonological Awareness

A child with dyslexia may struggle to identify the sound structure of words. For example, he or she may not understand that if you change the letter "s" in the word “sat” to “p,” the word becomes “pat.” This can cause difficulties with learning the alphabet, pronouncing words, and distinguishing rhyming words.

Verbal Memory

Verbal memory, the ability to remember verbal information for a short period, is often impaired in children with dyslexia, causing them to exhibit symptoms that are not related to reading or writing. For example, they may be unable to remember and follow basic instructions.

Rapid Serial Naming

A dyslexic child may perform more slowly on rapid serial naming tasks, which involve naming objects, colors, pictures or symbols aloud as quickly as possible. They may mislabel, make use of substitute words or stumble over names.

Visual and Auditory Processing Speeds

Children with dyslexia often have slower visual and auditory processing speeds than children without dyslexia. This means that they may read, write and speak slowly and hesitantly. They may not be able to distinguish between letters and other symbols, and may read letters or words in the wrong order. For example, they may read the word “saw” as “was” and vice versa.

What to Do if a Child Exhibits Symptoms of Dyslexia

Children develop at different rates, so it is important to remember that even if your child has one or more dyslexia symptoms, it does not mean that he or she conclusively has the condition. If you spot symptoms in your child which give cause for concern, consult his or her teacher. Children with dyslexia are highly capable, given the right support. Those who receive appropriate intervention from an early age often improve their reading and writing skills enough to achieve their goals.

For over a decade, the Brain Balance Program has helped over 25,000 children overcome their learning and developmental issues through our integrated, whole-child approach. If your child struggles with learning or has been diagnosed with a learning disorder, we invite you to consider the Brain Balance Program Contact us today to learn more.

Take Our Online Assessment Quiz


Enjoy These Related Articles
Study: Can Dyslexia Be Detected Before a Child Learns to Read?
Study: Dyslexia Caused By Brain Connectivity Problems
Signs and Symptoms of Learning Disorders

Contact Us Free Self-Assessment

Get started with a plan for your child today.