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Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects 5 to 10 percent of school-age kids in the U.S., causing problems with reading and spelling. The condition is not an intellectual disability, and it's found in kids at a wide range of intelligence levels. When caught early, dyslexia can be very effectively managed. If you suspect your child's schoolwork struggles may be more than just a phase, don't keep your worries to yourself. You should talk to your child's teacher and pediatrician if you notice any of the following signs:
If in kindergarten and first grade your child:
• Doesn't seem to grasp that certain words can come apart. For example, that "batboy" can be pulled apart into bat and boy, and later on, that the word bat can be broken down still further and sounded out as: b-aaaa-t.
• Is unable to associate letters and sounds, such as connecting the letter b and the "b" sound.
• Makes reading errors that aren't even close to the sounds of the letters. For example, he reads the word big as goat.
• Is unable to read common one-syllable words or to sound out even the simplest words, such as mat, cat, hop, nap.
• Complains about how hard reading is, or runs and hides when it's time to break out a book.
• Has a family history of reading problems.
If by second grade or later your child:
• Doesn't speak fluently (he pauses or hesitates when speaking and says "um" a lot).
• Confuses words that sound alike, such as tornado and volcano, lotion and ocean, humanity and humidity.
• Has trouble remembering isolated pieces of verbal information like dates, names, telephone numbers, and random lists.
• Has difficulty sounding out new words and makes wild guesses when reading a word instead of trying to sound it out.
• Omits parts of words when reading, such as conible for convertible.
• Can't spell well.
--Caren Osten Gerszberg
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.