Should My Teen Be Tested For Dyslexia? Some Signs & Things To Consider
Dyslexia can be hard to identify and treat. It’s a neurological disability that makes it difficult to process words, letters, and numbers. It can make learning the rules of phonics, retrieving language, spelling, and writing difficult. There are many subtypes that make each diagnosis unique to every person. Dyslexia doesn’t always appear the same in everyone. Typically, dyslexia runs in families, but it can also be present with no other known risk factors.
If your child has been struggling in school, a dyslexia diagnosis should absolutely not be seen as a personal failing. Their educational issues are not caused by laziness or unintelligence. It’s a common myth that dyslexics are less intelligent than their peers, but the science repeatedly shows this is not the case. Your child may just need a more personalized learning environment for them to succeed. It’s important for parents to be on the lookout for any of the following signs in their child.
Signs and symptoms of dyslexia
reading aloud slower than their peers
using “um” or other fillers while reading aloud
difficulty completing tests on time
spelling mistakes, messy handwriting
making distinct reading and writing mistakes repeatedly
confusion between similar-sounding letters and words
trouble learning to solve math problems
struggling to learn foreign language and new words
having low self-esteem
difficulty managing assignments and class deadlines
needing to repeatedly reread information in order to understand it
Some or many of these signs will be present in a child with a normal IQ and typically normal vision. Your teen is most likely doing well in school subjects that don’t require reading and writing.
The testing process can involve reading and spelling tests so a doctor can understand your child’s patterns with language. They may also interview the parent(s) and child to get a sense of their behavior, strengths, and frustrations. It might be useful for them to learn your family history to see if dyslexia has appeared as an inherited trait.
While there are no drugs or surgeries to correct dyslexia, there are many resources for learning to adapt to your child’s learning needs. The parent plays a crucial role in helping their child succeed after a diagnosis.
Guidelines for you as the parent
There are now many technological tools to help children with dyslexia overcome their learning disadvantages. Resources such as Grammarly, speech-to-text functions on smart phones and word processing programs, and smart pens that can synch handwritten notes across multiple devises can provide vital help.
With a diagnosis, you can also reach out to your child’s instructors and see what kinds of accommodations they can make. Giving extra time on tests, audiobooks of their required texts, and recorded lectures are all ways the classroom can be modified to fit your child’s learning needs. Your child might also benefit from an outside tutor to supplement what happens in the classroom and give them more guided attention.
Should you test?
You should see a doctor if your child shows any of these symptoms. While early intervention is best, it’s never too late to seek treatment. They may even be the one to ask for testing. If so, be prepared to listen. They may come to you having learned about dyslexia online or from peers at school. Take that moment to look at the list of symptoms together and see what they feel comfortable with going forward. Keep in mind that dyslexia gives children unique advantages along with the disadvantages, like the ability to think in larger context. A dyslexia diagnosis is nothing to be afraid of and caring for your child’s needs comes first.