What to Do If You Think Your Child May Be Dyslexic

There’s a common misconception about dyslexia—that it involves “backward reading” or “mirror reading.” Reversing letters isn’t always a sign of dyslexia, and lots of little kids who don’t have the disorder write their letters backwards, too.

Instead, dyslexia is an “unexpected difficulty in reading for an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader,” according to the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. Those with dyslexia have trouble matching the letters they see on a page to the sounds those letters make. It’s one of the most common learning-based language disabilities, and yet you may not know your child has it. Dr. Meghan L. Jorgenson, a Clinical Neuropsychologist at The Child Study Center in Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, tells us some of the most common signs you should pay attention to.

How Do You Get Dyslexia?

According to Dr. Jorgenson, dyslexia can occur spontaneously, but it’s not uncommon for a child with a learning disorder to have a family member who also has it. It’s important to know that dyslexia isn’t an indicator of intelligence, or lack thereof—some of the brightest kids struggle to read. “It’s more of a specific weakness in a certain skill,” Dr. Jorgenson says.

In those with the disorder, the back part of the brain between the occipital and temporal lobes is affected, Dr. Jorgenson explains. Normally, an individual without the disability will process information very quickly and efficiently. In kids with dyslexia, however, this processing doesn’t work as well. “[That part of the brain] is not as activated, since they have overactivation in the frontal parts of the brain,” she says.

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