Kids with Dyslexia ⋆ Redefine Normal with Wendy Andersen | Redefine Normal with Families with a Special Needs Child

Kids with Dyslexia

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Kids with Dyslexia

Dyslexic Means

Knowledge is power, and so little is known about dyslexia in the educational community. I, myself, am a former teacher and didn’t know much about it until my 7-year-old daughter was diagnosed. Yes, I said 7-year-old, 1st grade daughter. 1 in 5 have dyslexia. There are several types of dyslexia, There are many signs of Kids with Dyslexia in 7-year-olds. It can be hard to not know what is going on, and not be able to find out how to help your child. 

Kids with Dyslexia

What are the 3 main symptoms of dyslexia?

One resource that helped us so much in our dyslexia journey was Decoding Dyslexia Iowa. Most states have their own chapter.

The first signs of dyslexia chart I saw were here; click here to visit.

And yes, to my surprise also, contrary to what everyone had been telling me, you can see signs starting in preschool, you don’t need to wait until 4th/5th grade.

Everyone is so different, and the signs of dyslexia can be so varied. Here is a list of frequently seen signs of dyslexia that can be seen at younger ages. And as you’ll see, there are many more than 3!

dyslexia young children

What are the signs of dyslexia in a child?

 Dyslexic Child Symptoms

Another website I spent a lot of time on was the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.

The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity includes not only challenges but strengths through each age span. They talk about how these signs might be seen in speaking and in life. This allowed us to not only look at the challenges and troubles our daughter was having but also see how she was excelling in the areas of her strengths. 

For her, she has an incredibly vast knowledge base about animals. She can talk about animals and facts you’ve never heard of before. And in fact this was part of her coping mechanism. When she didn’t want to do a task because she knew it was going to challenge her, she would start talking to you about animals and the topic would change.

Another strength that we now know was a coping mechanism is that she became a great “class helper.” She would help people log into their computers, or help them do something they were struggling with. This allowed her to be later in logging in to her own computer or doing the tasks that she didn’t want to do and ultimately that she didn’t know how to express to us or the teachers that she couldn’t do it and was struggling.

It’s so important in addition to the challenges to be able to see the strengths. Our daughter has an incredible memory when it comes to auditory learning. We need to continue to help nurture that and find audiobooks and teach her in a way that works best for her and not only rely on the conventional learning systems of textbooks only.

dyslexia with children

What are the signs of dyslexia in a child?

Here are the 3 main symptoms we noticed in our little girl that had us look further into how to get tested for dyslexia for my child.

  1.  Our daughter loved school, she was always excited. During the pandemic, we started using an online program to help with our children’s education. As she progressed to the next grade level it stopped reading the material and questions to her. We soon had a school lover who refused to do any school at all. She would have massive meltdowns and not want to do any schoolwork. This was one of the first indicators to us that something was going on.
  2. She stopped singing. Our daughter has a beautiful voice and loves to sing, she would sing all day long. After a while we began to notice that she wasn’t singing, she wouldn’t sing if requested and she didn’t want anyone to watch her or see her. This was the beginning of a decrease in self-confidence and a decrease in mental health. 
  3. She verbally processed numbers backward. We were at a volleyball game and she said “Wow look, the score is 71-52.” Instantly I smiled and she smiled, we both knew that a volleyball score couldn’t be that and she read them backward. It’s the little things. She rarely wrote numbers or letters backward but frequently spoke them backward.

Here are other signs you might notice:

Dyslexia is a common learning disorder that affects how children read and write. It is important to note that dyslexia is not a reflection of intelligence. Many children with dyslexia are highly intelligent and have many strengths.

Symptoms of dyslexia can vary from child to child, but some common signs include:

Early signs (preschool and kindergarten)

  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes or playing rhyming games
  • Problems remembering or naming letters, numbers, and colors
  • Slow progress in learning to read
  • Difficulty blending letters together to form words
  • Reversing letters or words when reading or writing
  • Difficulty understanding what they have read

Later signs (school age)

  • Slow reading speed
  • Difficulty with spelling and grammar
  • Poor handwriting
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Difficulty with math
  • Poor comprehension of what they have read

MYTH BUSTER: You don’t have to wait until 4th and 5th grade to diagnose dyslexia.

dyslexia font

How do you teach a dyslexic child?

The conventional model of school was not going to work for our daughter for multiple reasons. One of the main ones being her self-esteem and mental health had decreased so much throughout this process that was our first priority. So we sought after help for her and worked with an incredible Occupational Therapist in Omaha who does the DIR Floortime method. The Zier Institute was instrumental in helping her and also important in helping us to understand how to help her. A little over a year later after starting to work with them one day we heard her singing in her room. We hadn’t heard that in so long. She stopped the minute we walked into the room, but she was singing again.

We also found a tutor for her. Mrs. Debra as we all call her is an incredibly patient, amazing and genuine human being who completely understands reading challenges.  She has a PHd, is a researcher, has been in the classroom, and gets it! She has worked with our daughter for 3 years now, 15 minutes at a time 3-4 times a week. Now she is reading at grade level. Slow, not perfect and comprehension is challenging because of the speed, but she is reading at grade level. So, she keeps practicing!

Lastly, we use audible books as much as we can find and we read to her when we can’t. Yes, we have her read too. We embrace her strength in learning by utilizing audio books, this is how she learns best so it’s important to continue her learning in a way that works for her!

We chose to homeschool her after the diagnostic experience and going through a preliminary IEP meeting with the school. This is really a blog post in itself but what really helped us decide was when we were sitting in the meeting and I heard “We have a great reading group for her, they are learning to read top to bottom and left to right.” And at that moment I fully knew, they don’t understand dyslexia. I didn’t want to fight a losing battle in a system that didn’t get it, so we withdrew her right then

There are realities we have to face with a child who has dyslexia just like there is with having a special needs child or sibling. 

girl on swing playing - Wendy Andersen - redefine normal

Dyslexia treatment you can use:

       Educational Interventions

The most common and effective treatment for dyslexia is educational intervention. These interventions typically focus on teaching individuals with dyslexia the following skills:

  • Phonics: Phonics instruction teaches children how to decode words by sounding out individual letters and letter combinations.
  • Fluency: Fluency instruction helps children read smoothly and efficiently.
  • Comprehension: Comprehension instruction helps children understand what they read.

Educational interventions can be delivered in a variety of settings, including schools, clinics, and private tutoring. The most effective interventions are typically those that are tailored to the individual’s needs and learning style.

More Dyslexia treatments:

       Accommodations

Accommodations can also be helpful for individuals with dyslexia. This is when there are changes to the learning environment or testing procedures that can help individuals with dyslexia demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Some examples of accommodations include:

  • Extra time on tests: Extra time on tests can help individuals with dyslexia complete tests without feeling rushed.
  • Access to notes or other materials: Access to notes or other materials can help individuals with dyslexia remember information during tests.
  • Use of assistive technology: Individuals with dyslexia may be allowed to use assistive technology such as text-to-speech software or word prediction software on tests.

Kids with Dyslexia be aware

Reading dyslexia you can use:

    Assistive Technology

Assistive technology can also be helpful for individuals with dyslexia. These devices can help with tasks such as reading, writing, and spelling. Some examples of assistive technology include:

  • Text-to-speech software: Text-to-speech software converts text into spoken audio, which can help individuals with dyslexia read more easily.
  • Word prediction software: Word prediction software can help individuals with dyslexia type more quickly and accurately.
  • Speech recognition software: Speech recognition software can help individuals with dyslexia dictate text instead of typing it.

How to support a child with dyslexia  

Emotional Support

Emotional support is also important for individuals with dyslexia. Dyslexia can be a frustrating and challenging condition, and individuals with dyslexia may need additional emotional support from their parents, teachers, friends, or even their SIBLINGS.

emotional support

How to help a child with dyslexia read

Here are some of the ideas we used to help our daughter:

#1: We eventually learned not to fight it.  Us forcing her to read and do things was actually creating more of a problem and challenge than it was helping. We moved to working with her and helping her.

#2: We read to her and we got audible books to read to her. If reading was the source of so much frustration and challenge, us forcing her to do it was creating a greater divide. If I absolutely detested something and I was being forced to do it, I too would probably lash out.  We had to realize that she would read, we needed to give it time and not fix it right now.

#3: We sought out help. We first started with an Orten-Gillingham tutor which did help her, she made progress. It just wasn’t the right fit.  And then we found Mrs. Debra, who has been so amazing as we’ve stated before. Many times as we’ve all experienced our children listen to and work with someone else better. For us, this is definitely the case with Mrs. Debra and we are grateful we are able to invest in her help with Phoebe.

How to help a Kids with Dyslexia at home – These are a few resources we used to help our daughter at home in the past and now as she learned and is growing in her reading and writing skills:

#1: The public library! Our library has started getting Wonderbooks and now has chapter books that read the stories out loud!  Many books can be rented online that are audio-only books. We learned to use what is working and use it more!

#2: Books on YouTube and Vooks: The internet is full of amazing resources. Bring the books to life!

#3: Writing was and still is a challenge. Our daughter likes to receive letters, so we have her write letters! I make a phone call to whomever she is writing to and ask them to please write back and why we are doing it. It makes it more fun and she gets mail!

#4: We don’t always require a written response. If she can draw a picture in her journal, tell a story or make up a song, that works too! We fully adopted the mindset that it will come along, in her time. And it has.

dyslexic child symptoms

Problems faced by dyslexic students in the classroom :

My thoughts on the problems faced by dyslexic students in the classroom like my daughter is first and foremost the lack of dyslexia knowledge by the education community. Knowledge and understanding about dyslexia is growing and it’s imperative that the myths are busted. Several teachers I know have been told by their district “We don’t even think about dyslexia until 4th or 5th grade.” This is absolutely detrimental to the child!

Holding a belief that dyslexia is also “just another learning disability” can be harmful. Science is very clear on how to help someone with dyslexia. So using the same methods you would have for another student who is delayed in reading could also be detrimental and is a disservice.

The mental health challenges are also important to address. Many times the child feels “stupid or dumb” because they cannot read. They shy away from interacting with peers or start problem behaviors to get out of the task at hand or read out loud in front of the class. These thoughts, feelings and behavior continue with them until they can be optimally addressed.

Dyslexia parents resource 

 Here are a few Dyslexia parents resources we use that help Kids with Dyslexia: 

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Our reflections on a ‘Kids with Dyslexia’ event I took her to click here or below to listen.

Kids with Dyslexi event


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