Five Characteristics of Dyslexia
- Homophone Difficulties
- Struggling with Number Sequences
- Phonological Awareness
- Parental Dyslexia
- Trouble Writing
Struggling with reading is one of the most obvious indicators that a student may have dyslexia, but there are a wide range of important signs of dyslexia in students that are often overlooked by parents and educators. The signs and symptoms of dyslexia may become apparent as early as preschool, and problems are likely to become increasingly worse without proper intervention.
1. Homophone Difficulties
Homophones are defined as words that sound alike but are spelled differently. Homophones are complex, and they are one of the most common grammatical mistakes for even the most experienced writers. Students with dyslexia will have a particularly difficult time distinguishing the difference between homophones. Due to poor memory of the visual appearance of a word, students with dyslexia heavily rely on the phonetic spelling of words. Homophones are a nightmare because it can be nearly impossible to distinguish the difference between words like “their” and “there” or “effect” and “affect.”
2. Struggling with Number Sequences
The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity identifies a key trait in dyslexic students ranging from second grade to high school. The student will likely struggle with remembering number sequences like dates, random lists, telephone numbers and multiplication tables. While dyslexic students may be successful in math, a multiplication fact may be mastered and later forgotten again. Students may easily grasp subjects that are learned through meaning, but memorization tasks are challenging. This important sign of dyslexia in students is one of the key signs educators should be looking for.
3. Phonological Awareness
At an early age, children should be able to recognize rhymes. Learning letters and their sounds is fundamental to understanding future concepts like writing, reading and grammar. Early warning signs of dyslexia include confusing vowel sounds, difficulty recognizing individual sounds, struggling to create new words and mispronouncing familiar words. Children in Kindergarten and first grade won’t be able to phonetically sound out very simple words like map, nap or cat. They may not comprehend how words come apart.
4. Parental Dyslexia
Dyslexia was widely undiagnosed and misunderstood in the past, so it’s not uncommon for adults to be unaware of their own dyslexia symptoms. While researchers are still working to understand the exact causes of this condition, experts recognize that dyslexia runs in families. Parents who have been diagnosed with dyslexia are very likely to pass on their condition to their children. Those children who grow up with undiagnosed dyslexia can still be extremely bright and successful in areas like electronics, math, physics and computer science, so they may be completely unaware of their underlying condition until their child exhibits symptoms.
5. Trouble Writing
The International Dyslexia Association notes the greatest sign of dyslexia is trouble organizing written and spoken language. The earliest signs of dyslexia include difficulty learning to speak and acquiring a fluent vocabulary. As the child ages, the struggle to write fluently will become more obvious. Many students that do struggle in these areas do not have dyslexia, but an analysis of these signs together may lead an educator to suspect the condition. The only way to confirm dyslexia in a student is through formal testing of writing, language and reading skills according to the International Dyslexia Association.
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Dyslexia is often referred to as a learning disability because the condition can make it challenging to thrive in a traditional educational environment. Extra support may be needed, but dyslexic students can succeed and learn with the appropriate teaching methods. These five important signs of dyslexia in students are crucial for educators to understand so that the appropriate steps can be taken to help every child succeed.