Is your child struggling to read? If your child isn't keeping up with his classmates in terms of reading or writing then he may have some kind of learning difficulty.
Could he be dyslexic? There's a chance that he is if he's displaying any of the following symptoms of dyslexia in children.
Dyslexic children are often bright and intelligent with a high IQ but are often labelled "lazy" or "stupid" by their peers and teachers may think that they aren't trying or that they have behavioural problems so they don't receive the help that they need. As a result the child himself thinks he's stupid and develops low self-esteem. He tries to hide his weaknesses by misbehaving or daydreaming in class and becomes frustrated easily when faced with reading, writing or mathematical tasks. In general, such a child will be:
• unable to read, write or spell at a level considered to be normal for his age
• not able to complete written tests although he may do well orally
• good at non-academic subjects such as music, art, drama, business, woodworking, design or engineering
• able to learn more effectively by demonstration and visual aids
• able to count but will have problems with counting objects or money
• unable to do sums without using his fingers or other such aids; he will come up with the right answer to simple sums in this way but won't be able to put the workings down on paper and won't be able to progress to higher maths or algebra
Specifically, the child will read haltingly, leaving out words or substituting different words, reversing letters or numbers or even words and will understand little of what he's read. Letters, words, numbers and explanations may cause confusion and spelling will be inconsistent. There are also some physical manifestations such as:
• headache, dizziness or stomach ache while reading or a feeling that a fictional something is moving and causing distraction
• vision problems although an eye test reveals nothing
• very keen sight and observational skills or poor peripheral vision
• hearing things not audible to others
• speech problems including mispronunciations, transposition of syllables, words and phrases and stuttering when stressed
• being ambidextrous
• repeated ear infections
• a sensitivity to food additives or chemicals
Other symptoms of dyslexia in children concern motor skills and may include:
• writing difficulties often because of an unusual way of holding a pencil; writing may be inconsistent or illegible
• clumsiness and a lack of co-ordination, not good at ball sports or team games, difficulties carrying out simple tasks that require a degree of motor skills
• a confusion between left and right or over and under
In addition, a dyslexic child may have problems telling the time, managing time or learning or remember sequences, facts or information that he hasn't personally experienced but will probably have a good long-term memory for people, places and experiences.
Behaviour and development can be an accurate indicator that a child has dyslexia and shouldn't be confused with normal childish behaviour. Behaviour can be compulsive or obsessive and could be at either end of the spectrum such as:
• tidiness or untidiness
• too noisy or too quiet in class
Development can be either very early or very late when it comes to crawling, walking and talking and the child may be a very light or deep sleeper or may continue to wet the bed long after it is normal to do so.
The child may have a very high or low pain threshold and may be sensitive emotionally.
Any of these symptoms of dyslexia in children will appear to a greater degree if the child is confused, stressed, under pressure of any kind or in poor health.
If your child is displaying any of these behaviours or traits, do get him tested for dyslexia right away so that the appropriate education can be started before the symptoms become worse or eventually unmanageable.