Evaluation of 5-Year Old Child


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


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)


  • Cotton S

    my five year old grandson has a problem remembering what numbers look like, especially which number is 7 and which one is nine. I am very repeatative in teaching this and yet it doesn’t seem to help. Is this normal or a problem

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      At age 5, this confusion would be quite normal developmentally. Children that age are just learning, and it is hard to keep the symbols straight. It’s helpful to use techniques such as molding the symbols in clay and also, with numbers, to make sure that the child understands what each symbol represents — for example, by molding the 7 with an array of 7 clay balls; the 9 with a group of 9 balls.

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