Kids with dyslexia need different types of help at different times. You may not yet know if your child has dyslexia. But the more you understand about this common learning difference, the better you can support your child. With the right support, kids who struggle with reading can improve skills and feel more confident.
This overview can answer many of your basic questions about dyslexia. It can also lead you to more in-depth information.
Has a hard time learning nursery rhymes or song lyrics that rhyme
Struggles to name familiar objects and uses general words like thing and stuff instead
Has trouble remembering things in the right order, like singing the letters of the alphabet
Has trouble sounding out words
Often confuses letters that look similar (b, d, p, q) and letters with similar sounds (d/t; b/p; f/v)
Has trouble with spelling
Often doesn’t recognize common words
Often skips over small words when reading aloud
Seems to be searching for words when speaking, and might substitute words (like saying “gate” instead of “fence”)
Often doesn’t “get” the joke
Finding out if your child has dyslexia
The only way to know for sure if your child has dyslexia is through an evaluation. You can get one for free at school, and the results will show where your child is struggling. That lets you get your child the right support at school. For example, your child might get specialized teaching designed for kids who struggle with reading.
An evaluator will give your child a series of tests for dyslexia. A school evaluation tests other areas, too. This lets you see the full picture of your child’s strengths and challenges. And that helps you and the school use your child’s strengths to make progress.
Evaluations can be done either at school or privately. You might hear different terms depending on who does it.
For example, schools don’t “diagnose” conditions. They “identify” learning disabilities. So, you might hear that your child has a learning disability in reading. But you might also hear the term dyslexia.
Before deciding on an evaluation, though, rule out any medical problems that might be a factor. Your child’s health care provider can check for vision or hearing problems. (Dyslexia is not a problem with vision.)
A psychologist will look for other things that might be getting in the way of your child’s learning. These may include ADHD or mental health issues. (Read about the connection between dyslexia and anxiety.)
The evaluator may ask you for a family history and have you fill out questionnaires about your child’s strengths and challenges. And your child’s teachers might give information on what they’re seeing in the classroom.
How professionals can help with dyslexia
There are no medications or medical treatments for dyslexia. But there are specific teaching methods to help kids with dyslexia.
How you can help your child with dyslexia
From working with the school to working on reading skills, you can help get your child the tools and motivation to thrive at school and in life.