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By Don Cook

How is dyslexia diagnosed? How can I provide support for my child after diagnosis?

According to the Child Mind Institute, dyslexia is most commonly associated with trouble learning to read. It affects a child’s ability to recognize and manipulate the sounds in language. Kids with dyslexia have difficulty decoding new words or breaking them down into manageable chunks they can then sound out. This can lead to struggles with reading, writing and spelling. Children with dyslexia may exhibit some signs both in school and outside of school. Their vocabulary may not seem as robust when compared to other children their age. In school, children with dyslexia are likely to:

● Have difficulty sounding out new words

● Reverse letters and numbers when reading

● Find it difficult to take notes and copy down words from the class board

● Struggle with rhyming, associating sounds with letters, and sequencing and ordering sounds

● Stumble and have difficulty spelling even common words; frequently they will spell them as they sound

● Avoid being called on to read out loud in front of classmates

● Become tired or frustrated when attempting to read

Dyslexia affects children outside of school as well. Kids with dyslexia may also:

● Find it difficult to make out logos or signs

● Struggle with learning the rules of different games

● Have difficulty with following directions, especially where multi-tasking may come into play

● Struggle with telling time

● Become frustrated easily with certain tasks, which can affect their mood

If you notice that your child may struggle with some of the tasks listed above, there are steps that you can take to have them evaluated for dyslexia. As parents, you can ask the school district to perform an evaluation and share the results with you. An evaluation can also be conducted by a psychologist, a neuropsychologist, a reading specialist, or a speech and language therapist. If the evaluation determines that your child may have dyslexia, you can take the results to your child’s school, and use it to apply for an IEP (Individualized Education Plan/Program) for extra assistance or time. 

There are a multitude of options for providing support for a child struggling with dyslexia. Some of those options include:

● Multi-sensory instruction in decoding skills

● Repetition and review of skills

● Small group or individual instruction

● Teaching decoding skills

● Drilling sight words

● Teaching comprehension strategies

● Using a ruler as a guide when reading as a focusing technique

One of the best ways to support a child struggling with dyslexia at home is to encourage activities that they like and feel good at, which will help build confidence. Listening to audiobooks, typing on a computer or tablet instead of writing, using games that can bring fun or entertainment into learning to spell, and decode words, or associating sounds with words can be great tools that can assist a child struggling with the challenges of dyslexia.

Dyslexia can result in frustration and embarrassment, so emotional support during the process will help. Talking about what they are going through and how it makes them feel will help you determine what program or approach may provide the child with the best tools to work through the challenges that they may encounter.

For more information on diagnosing and supporting children with dyslexia, visit

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