Researchers do not know precisely what causes dyslexia so it is impossible to completely prevent it. However, early diagnosis and targeted treatment can help a great deal. All children in the public school system are entitled to special education services if they are diagnosed as dyslexic or as having a significant discrepancy between their intelligence level and their reading level.
Things To Do Before Kindergarten Starts
Know that one symptom of dyslexia is late talking. This doesn't mean that all toddlers who talk late will have dyslexia, but if your child speaks, make sure to talk to your pediatrician about it. She may recommend a speech and language evaluation, which can only help you help your child.
Read to your child every day. Read the same stories over and over so that she can absorb the language patterns and the sequence of events.
Rhyme with your child everyday. This can be through books like those by Dr.Seuss, nursery rhymes or just phrases you inject into your everyday life. Around three or so you can start discussing the idea of rhyming with your child and encourage her to make up rhymes too. Studies show that the ability to rhyme is indicative of later success in reading.
Help your child learn to organize. Organizing information is a large part of reading and something that dyslexics often have a hard time doing. Teach your child to organize at a young age (such as by sorting toys when cleaning up, helping you sort laundry, retelling what happened during the day in order) will prepare him for reading later on.
Use visual cues to help your child to break down tasks. Create an illustrated, sequential chart to help your child get dressed in the morning or set the table. This prepares your child for understanding sequences.
Stress fine motor skills. Spend lots of time drawing, painting, cutting, gluing, and using Legos.
Things To Do in Kindergarten and Beyond
Communicate with your child's teacher. If you are concerned about dyslexia, talk to your child's teacher before any problems start. He may be able to assure you about what's normal (reversing letters is normal in kindergarten and first grade) and not normal (recognizing a word one day but not the next).
Get your child's eyes and ears checked by specialists. Certain visual and auditory processing disorders can mimic dyslexia but should be treated differently or can even be eliminated. Rule these problems out.
Use a multi-sensory approach to learning letters and words. Have your child trace the letter or word while she says it. Create movements to go along with letters and/or words. Develop songs to aid in letter and word memory.
Record school lessons, stories and other information. This will allow your child to focus on the information, not the challenges of reading.
Break down lessons into smaller increments. If your child's class is working on ten spelling words a week, see if your child can work on only three or five words per week. Make schoolwork as manageable as possible to allow your child to feel more success.
Make sure the reading program being used emphasizes phonological awareness skills at the beginning. These skills include rhyming, identifying individual sounds in words, recognizing syllables and being able to substitute sounds in words (such as being able to answer the question, "What happens to pig when you take the /p/ away and put in a /w/?"). If not, practice these skills at home.
- Try to make your child's reading experiences as fun and as relaxed as possible.
- Reading difficulties can lead to poor self-esteem. Make sure your child has other outlets - sports, arts, music, science - where she can be successful.