Evaluation of 5-Year Old Child

Question:

How can you tell if a 5-year-old is dyslexic?

Answer:

It is very normal for a young children to reverse letters when learning to write. By itself, this is no cause for concern. Because dyslexia is a label attached when children lag behind in reading development, there is no way to reliably assess a preschool or kindergarten age child for dyslexia; many children that age simply haven’t reached the developmental milestones that allow them to accurately copy letters.

However, it does make sense to be alert to early signs of difficulty, and can also help to look at a child’s strengths as well as weaknesses. That will provide insight into the child’s overall learning style, as well as helping to determine whether the child’s pattern of development seems consistent with dyslexia.  That understanding might help to make better decisions early on as to school selection and placement, to make certain that the child’s school environment is a good match for her learning style.

Even though the child may be too young for formal diagnosis, the child can be introduced to the same tools used for helping older children with dyslexia, such as using clay to model the alphabet. These hands-on techniques are appropriate for all young children, and can be extremely helpful for those with dyslexic tendencies.

(Answer by Abigail Marshall)