In the past, some children who had difficulty reading were thought to have a lower intelligence level or were considered to be underachievers. In recent years, many of these youngsters were thought to have undiagnosed dyslexia, a learning disorder which chief symptom is an impaired ability to recognize and comprehend written words or symbols. If you think your child may be suffering from dyslexia, you first need to understand what the disorder is and some of the symptoms that it can produce.
Dyslexia is a problem that involves cortical (higher) processes of symbols in the brain, although the cause of the disorder has not yet been determined. Recent research has indicated that this condition may be genetic. In 1999, researchers at the Center for Reading Research which is located in Norway studied eighty members from one family over four generations and discovered several family members that all suffered from dyslexia. These researchers report that a flaw in chromosome 2 can lead to difficulties processing information in the “normal” manner and can lead the development of dyslexia. Other chromosomes that may be involved with the development of the disorder are chromosome 1, chromosome 15, and chromosome 6. These experts hope that by doing further research into the genetic aspect of the disorder that they will be able to diagnose and treat dyslexia at a much earlier stage. At the present time, most children are diagnosed with the disorder at the third grade level, although some other youngsters have “slid through” their academic careers and have reached high school before a diagnosis has been made.
It is estimated that about fifteen to twenty percent of the United States population has a learning disability that involves difficulties with languages. Seventy to eighty percent of these people have problems in the areas of reading, although it is questionable whether all these suffer from dyslexia or just a deficit in their style of learning. The majority of dyslexia patients are male and the disorder affects all ages, races, and income groups equally.
There are several symptoms that are exhibited by a child who suffers from dyslexia. He may problems identifying single words and has difficulties in spelling such as “switching” (transposing) the letters in a word, so that he may write “huose” for the word “house.” The child may exhibit difficulty with his handwriting as well as in areas that deal with reading comprehension. There may be apparent difficulties with spoken language, such as the child not understanding oral directions. He may also not understand the concept of opposites, such as on / off and inside / outside. The child may not understand the sounds in particular words, as well as not being able to identify the order of sounds as well as words that rhyme with one another. He may also have difficulty with words that are similar, such as “collision” and “conclusion.” If you ask the child to write the word “collision,” he may write the word “conclusion.” Yet if you ask him to define the word, he will give you the right definition.
If you feel that your child may be suffering from dyslexia, you should contact your family doctor as soon as possible. There are numerous tests that he can schedule to determine if your child has the disorder. The sooner you get your dyslexic child the help – that he needs, the sooner he can be given the special training and tools that he will need to become a successful reader.