Dyslexia is a specific learning disorder that involves difficulty reading. Testing and screening for dyslexia are available and are very important. Without proper diagnosis and instruction, dyslexia can lead to frustration, school failure, and low self-esteem.
An assessment for dyslexia includes reading or writing while the tester looks for signs of dyslexia, such as adding, dropping, or changing words; pulling words from other lines; or reversing or transposing words and letters. While not diagnostic in itself, body language may provide a clue: A person with dyslexia may frequently clear his or her throat, tap a pencil, or fidget during the testing out of anxiety about performing the test.
Dyslexia is a disorder present at birth and cannot be prevented or cured, but it can be managed with special instruction and support. Early intervention to address reading problems is important. Parents must understand that children with dyslexia can learn normally, but probably need to learn in different ways than children without the condition. Teaching should be individualized and may involve modeling letters and words in clay or other three-dimensional techniques to help the child learn letters and words.
If you notice any of the signs of dyslexia, your child's doctor can help determine whether there are physical problems, such as vision problems, that are causing or contributing to your child's condition, and he or she can refer you to specialists who can diagnose and treat learning disorders. These may include an educational specialist, an educational psychologist, or a speech therapist.