Recently, Dr. Dan Peters, co-founder and clinical director of the SummitCenter, shared his insights on an important topic concerning many families: dyslexia. As a specialist in the assessment and treatment of children in the areas of learning, processing, emotional, behavioral and developmental issues, and giftedness, Dr. Peters had excellent info to share regarding dyslexia, including how to detect it early and how to cope.
What is dyslexia?
According to Dr. Peters, “You’re born with dyslexia, you don’t acquire it; it’s how your brain is wired.” Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that impacts reading, writing and spelling, and is thought to reside in the phonological part of the brain. “There’s much more to dyslexia than flipping letters and numbers.”
What are some of the early signs of dyslexia?
In young kids, early signs of dyslexia may include difficulty with: rhyming; finding the ‘right’ words; identifying letters; spelling their own name; writing/remembering the sequence of letters/numbers; and reciting the alphabet. Other early signs include challenges with directionality (left/right); and remembering info they’d be expected to know, like birthdays and days of the week.
At what age can you start seeing signs of dyslexia?
Signs of dyslexia can be identified as early as preschool.
What should families do if they suspect their child is dyslexic?
First off, families should ask their child’s teacher how they are acquiring basic reading and writing skills—i.e., how are they doing compared to other kids their age?
Families may have to seek help outside of their child’s school to truly detect the dyslexic process since—while many schools are aware of reading issues, they’re not always well-versed in dyslexia’s full scope. Also, many bright kids can compensate and ‘fake it’ pretty well, so a dyslexic process can go uncovered. So if families are seeing inconsistencies or some of the characteristics, they should see a professional, such as a speech and language therapist, educational therapist or someone specializing in dyslexia to have their child tested objectively.
Once families get an accurate diagnosis, what should they do next?
Families should start the intervention process ASAP because early intervention is key for changing the neural pathways and opening up pathways in school, which is less challenging and more successful for the child.
(photo source: http://specialedpost.com)