Symptoms of Dyslexia
A child with dyslexia shows noticeable difference between his intelligence and academic performance, especially reading and spellings. These children often make spelling mistakes and struggle with reading. They may also face difficulty with writing and math. However, individual case needs to be looked into carefully to ascertain whether below average performance is due to dyslexia or prolonged illness, long absence from school and also social factors like physical or sexual abuse.
Motor skills: Fine motor skills may develop more slowly than other children. Motor skills indicators include tripping over, bumping into things, inability to clap a rhythm, difficulty in dressing, and a lack of preferred dominance (putting shoes on the wrong feet). Their pencil grip is awkward, fist-like, or tight, and they later on have poor handwriting.
Phonological processing: The most common symptom a dyslexic child shows is with spellings. They have difficulty in identifying sounds that letters make, whether singly or in groups. This causes a severe problem while spelling a word. Their weakness in identifying sounds also make their reading and writing an difficult up-hill task. They lack fluency in reading and at times are not able to pronounce words correctly.
Visual tracking: Skipping words or line/s and or reading the same line over again shows that the child is experiencing difficulty with visual tracking, which is a sign of dyslexia.
Visual memory: Visual memory of a dyslexic child is not sufficient to support fluent reading. While reading, we recollect the shape of different words and are able to read fluently. A child with dyslexia has insufficient visual memory to recollect the shape of the words, read earlier and hence is unable to read properly.
Mirror writing: Dyslexic children often exhibit “mirror writing” which is when letters in their writing are flipped around as in a mirror image- for example, they will write "b" as "d", "E" as "3", "S" as "z" “bog” instead of “dog” and vise versa. Severity may differ from child to child. In very severe cases, the child may write the entire paragraph or sentence backwards.
Confusion about direction and confusion about direction and confusing between left and right or east and west is yet another symptom of dyslexia.
Sequencing: Trouble with sequencing i.e., perceiving and remembering things in sequence is indicative of dyslexia. This affects their ability to read and spell correctly. Changing the sequence of letters may some times change the meaning of the word completely. Examples 'left' as 'felt', 'cat' as 'act', 'expect' as 'except'.
A dyslexic child may put syllables in the wrong order 'animal' as 'aminal', 'enemy' as 'emeny. They may even put words in the wrong order, reading 'are there' for 'there are'.
Omitting letters: Yet another sign of dyslexia is omitting letters in reading and writing, such as 'wet' for 'went', 'sing' for 'string'.
They may also face problem remembering order of alphabet, string of numbers, months of a year and days of a week.
Difficulty with math: Problems with mathematics arise in dyslexic children due to difficulties with sequencing. They are unable to follow string of numbers and face difficulty in learning multiplication tables. They tend to reverse and transpose numbers.
Weak short-term memory makes it hard to remember basic math facts such as the multiplication tables, and later on- approximations of mathematical constants, and mathematical formulas
Difficulty copying from the board: A dyslexic a child faces difficulty in remembering the spellings of the words, while copying from the board and is unable to find the place back on the board because of weak visual memory and erratic visual tracking.
Auditory discrimination: A dyslexic mind is unable to differentiate between certain sounds like “m” and “n”, “d” and “t”, amongst others.
Rote memory: Dyslexic children have a weak rote memory. They find it hard to remember words with little meaning or no meaning, such as months of a year, days of a week or telephone numbers etc.
Organization: Dyslexic children are poor organizers. They tend to forget things easily. Since they have problems sequencing, they find it hard to handle large quantity of work and divide it into manageable units.
Social & Behavioral Attitude: Children having dyslexia may feel uncomfortable with children of their age, because of low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence due to inadequate academic performance.