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How to Recognize Early Signs of Dyslexia

As a hidden disability, dyslexia symptoms can often be hard to recognize, especially the signs of dyslexia in toddlers and early signs of dyslexia in children. Dyslexia impacts an individual's ability to read, write, concentrate, memorize, and impact their development of speech, spelling, and numeracy skills.

It's important as parents, caregivers, or teachers to look out for early signs of dyslexia. The sooner a child is diagnosed with dyslexia, the sooner the child's development and learning can be aided by sensory products and tools. Educational tools will help teach dyslexic children the valuable skills needed to navigate daily tasks throughout their childhood and adulthood.

According to the NHS and the International Dyslexia Association, the following are the most common signs of dyslexia in toddlers and children under 12.

Dyslexia symptoms:

  • Lack of interest or difficulty learning the alphabet
  • Misunderstanding of nursery rhymes or rhyming words
  • Speech development is delayed in comparison to others their age
  • Often muddles or murmurs words, for instance, instead of saying 'butterfly,' they say 'flutterby'
  • Spells out words phonetically
  • Sentences are formed incorrectly or struggle to remember the correct word to use in a sentence
  • Sees letters or numbers when they’re not there in a sentence, or switches letters and numbers around, for instance, uses 'p' instead of 'b'
  • Compared to others their age, struggles coloring, sticking and cutting
  • Learning to read is difficult; with a lack of focus on certain words or phrases
  • Struggles to remember numbers and names of teachers or friends
  • Finds telling the time and understanding the numbers around the clock a challenge
  • Tests well in verbal tests but not written
  • 'Daydreams' frequently and is often described as losing focus
  • Easily distracted by sounds
  • Often described as clumsy; falls or bumps into objects often
  • Difficulty with physical activities like skipping and jumping
  • Finds the motions of tying shoelaces, doing up buttons, catching, throwing or kicking a ball difficult
  • Difficulty following a sequence of two or more instructions at once

What happens next?

It's important to note that diagnosing dyslexia can be challenging as not all dyslexia symptoms are obvious in every child.  If you believe that your child has any of the above early signs of dyslexia, first speak to their teachers to see how they are progressing and developing compared to their classmates.

Following this, book a doctor's appointment to rule out potential visual or hearing difficulties or other conditions like ADHD. After any other potential problems or conditions have been eliminated, there will be an assessment and testing to evaluate if your child has dyslexia.

According to the International Dyslexia Association, the dyslexia testing, or evaluating as it should be referred, is a thorough process of screenings and verbal, written and listening evaluations. Afterwards, there will be a diagnosis. It’s important to note that the levels of dyslexia vary in every individual diagnosed, so there's no one-size-fits-all. Dyslexia can also run in families, hence why your family history will also be looked at.

It’s important to remember that dyslexia doesn't impact your child's level of intelligence. The testing and screening process can highlight your child's strengths, making educational intervention centered around areas your child understands more easily, such as verbal learning and communication.

child-learning-to-read

What sensory tools can help with dyslexia?

Whether your child is learning and developing at home, pre-school, or elementary school, the key signs of dyslexia in children are learning to read, write, and focus on certain tasks. There are many learning tools and speech and language tools for dyslexia to best support your child's development. You may also find our article 3 Dyslexia Learning Tools a useful read.

Here we have a quick overview of our favorite sensory tools for dyslexic children to help them increase concentration, confidence, and stimulation.

  1. Balance Beam Brilliant for motor planning and color recognition

A child walking on a colourful balance beam.

2. Bubble Tubes: Bubble tubes have many uses, including aiding in motor skill development

A bright blue bubble tube.

3. Fiber Optics: The tactile element is brilliant for the child to be surrounded by the slow-changing colors which aid in concentration

Purple fiber optics hanging from the ceiling.

4. Sound Boards: Great for engaging conversation, telling stories, and improving fine motor skills

White sound board with purple and blue lights.

5. IRiS Sensory Room: All the child’s senses are engaged in a 'full body' experience to aid in vocalization and cause and effect skills

Bright and colourful sensory room with yellow rocket on the wall.

We hope that you now understand the early signs of dyslexia in toddlers and children.  If you believe your child shows any of the dyslexia symptoms listed, it's best to first check with their teachers how they are developing. Following that, book a doctor's appointment to go through an evaluation to check against any other conditions as well as visual or hearing difficulties.

If you’ve already spotted some of these signs of dyslexia in children in your child and have already been to see a doctor, please contact us to talk to one of our expert sensory advisors. Together, we can explore the best sensory products or services for your child’s needs.

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