Early Identification

Shaw4The Learning Disabilities Round Table of the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities recommended that “all preschoolers be screened to assess early language and reading skill development just as they are for vision and hearing.”  This recommendation comes from the understanding that students who cannot read well, read less, and the lost practice time makes it difficult to acquire even average levels of reading fluency.  Overtime, the consequences of a slow start in reading accumulate.  This becomes especially evident around third grade when children are expected to begin to read to learn. The “wait and see” approach can become a “wait to fail” outcome, with children often experiencing  frustration and anxiety.

For Parents…How do I know?

Current research shows that the sooner a child with dyslexia is offered the opportunity to learn in a way that best suits them, the greater the opportunity the child has for success. Between the ages of 2 and 4, some children demonstrate observable weaknesses in specific phonological skills. The delay in skills is even more likely if a family member or close relative has had learning difficulties or been diagnosed with dyslexia.  If a parent has dyslexia, the chances are 35-40% that their child will also be dyslexic. Dyslexia is a not something that a child will outgrow.

Parents and educators can look for consistent patterns of difficulty that may signal an underlying learning difference.  To begin the screening process, review the following lists of difficulties often observed in children with dyslexia.  Each child is unique and will have different strengths and weaknesses.

Language and Reading Skills

  • Early delays with speaking
  • Mispronounces words
  • Limited interest in books and  stories
  • Difficulty retrieving vocabulary
  • Trouble naming letters
  • Difficulty rhyming

Motor and Social Skills

  • Appears clumsy or awkward
  • Trouble with buttons, snaps or zippers
  • Struggles to learn to tie shoes
  • Awkward pencil grasp
  • Struggles to color within the lines
  • Difficultly with self-control when frustrated
  • Difficulty sustaining attention in work tasks or play activities

What to Remember

  • You cannot tell someone has dyslexia just by looking at them.
  • Dyslexia is NOT an indicator of intelligence.
  • Having dyslexia in no way inhibits one’s creativity, ability to learn or to succeed in life.
  • The National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities recommends that all preschoolers should be screened to assess early language and reading skill development as they are for vision and hearing.

Free Preschool Screenings

Riverside offers early identification screenings for children ages 4-8 from the community free of charge. If you suspect that your child is at risk for having dyslexia,  contact Riverside School to schedule a screening at (804) 320-3465 or info@riversideschool.org. The screenings will provide parents with additional information needed in determining whether or not to have a child undergo testing and evaluation for language-based and other learning difficulties.

Professional Workshop

Riverside School offers a complimentary awareness workshop to early childhood educators, pediatricians, child psychologists, educational and community organizations/associations.  This workshop highlights the importance of identifying children who are at risk for having a language-based learning difference as early as age 4. To schedule a one-hour long workshop, contact info@riversideschool.org or (804) 320-3465.