Typical learning or sign of dyslexia?

Kimberly - posted on 05/07/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My 4 year old has just finished pre-K (to which he has been going 2 days a week this year). In school, he has been learning to write letters and now words. He has been able to recognize all the letters for YEARS and has an amazing vocabulary and is very articulate. But it has taken him a while to get the hang of writing. No big deal, as he is still young and I wouldn't say he is particularly behind the boys in his class.



BUT, now that he is doing a lot of writing on his own and with the "homework" they give him, I have noticed that he very often writes letters backwards and even whole words backwards. I try not to make a big deal about it, but it keeps happening over and over, even with letters and words he has known for a while.



He is my first and so I don't know if this is typical learning behavior when kids first start to write or not. He is wicked smart, so it wouldn't surprise me if he were dyslexic, but able to compensate most of the time.



Thoughts??



Thanks!

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Laurie - posted on 05/07/2009

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Hi! I have my bachelors degree in elementary education and have a lot of experience working with preschooler. From my experience, 4 years of age is really too young to diagnosis with dyslexia. Many children at this age reverse their letters and write whole words backwards. The common practice in kindergarten that teachers take when children do this is to remind the child that they need to start on the left hand side, often they will draw a star there to remind the child. Usually just this reminder for a while is enough to help them self correct. You should also show him when he does it. Don't say he is doing it wrong, just say he did a really good try but let try to make your letters like mine and write it out for him. With some positive reinforcement you should see if he truly sees and recognizes the difference and should see signs of improvement.Another simple thing you can do to start reinforcing that we do everything with reading and writing from left to right and from top to bottom, is to point to the words as you read a book to him. Show him where you always start and end when reading, these are necessary skills he needs to know and understand for reading readiness. If you are still concerned you can always call your school district and ask them if they evaluate for dyslexia at the age of 4, if they do they can simply test him and offer you some support if necessary, if not they will probably offer simple exercises to encourage the correct way to write his letters, either way it will offer you a little less worry about his situation. Good Luck!

Trish - posted on 11/03/2011

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My 5 year old son is left handed and has been writing simple words the mirror image way (can be read using a mirror) is this normal??

Morag - posted on 05/07/2009

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My eldest daughter has dyslexia, I knew around 4 that she was. She never understood her letters, she'd get the alphabet all mixed up, she couldn't write her name properly and always backwards, and her name has three letters in it, so it wasn't complicated. Although this is quite common in children learning to write full stop, with my daughter it went beyond the normal age limit...she was still doing it at 6 years old. At 4 she couldn't read and she couldn't write anything really (her name backwards was it and only her first name, she couldn't even recognise her surname) but she could add and subtract her numbers so it was obvious it wasn't due to intelligence. Numbers she was fine with, but anything that involved letters just eluded her completely. She didn't start reading until she was 6 and even today, she can't spell well and her handwriting is illegible and she is nearly 10. Last year it was quite bad. You learn to read then read to learn and if you can't learn to read you're stuck, and as she got older, she needed to read more and more just to do well in class and pass her tests.They were looking at holding her back a year but we pushed to get her tested for dyslexia and now she has extra classes at school to help her reading.

Looking back she had ALL the symptoms of a dyslexic child. She learnt to walk at 8.5 months, never crawled, had speech problems etc.

Now she is doing amazingly well, but I won't give credit to anyone else for her progress than my daughter herself. She has put tons of effort and hardwork into her class/home work and studied very hard, thus she has reaped the benefit of this.

WIth your son he is too young yet to have the official dyslexia tests, they need to be around 6 years old, plus if he can read, write and recognises letters thats a good sign that if he does have dyslexia its not too serious.

Crisanne - posted on 05/07/2009

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I have two siblings with Dyslexia..so when I had my kids I had the same fear when they started doing this. Its runs in familys...Im pretty sure boys more then girls as well. But just let his teacher know you concerns so that its noted and he/she can see any changes or things getting worse...this is how I did it..my son is in 2nd grade now and doesnt show any of these signs any more...but he did at the PK and K level. If he has it, theres nothing you can do but teach him to use it to his advantage. My brothers happen to be super smart and amaze me still with how smart and successfull they are (there in there 40's now) They bolth have above average intellegence..sometimes I wish I could have just a little to get there smarts! :)

Davon - posted on 05/07/2009

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Kimberly, if this is his first year in writing words... Then no worries, he'll get the hang of it soon enough and I think you may be worrying just a bit too soon. I'm not a doctor, but I do notice that boys tend to write letters and words backwards at times. You didn't mention whether or not he's doing this when he's writing his name, if so, it would depend on how long he's been writing his name.



My son has been typing and writing his name and some words since he was 3...



Your son's development in writing letters and words is normal, if it does progress into the 1st grade (a whole 1yr+ out) then it would be something to check into, as at that point they have learned letter positioning, phonetics etc. He's only 4, and practice makes perfect.



When he's writing new words, just have him write them 3 times, repetition is key to memorization for them at this stage. My munchkin is now 7 and we did repetition exercises at that age and it works...

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Give him more time. Letter reversals and writing words backwards is very common since children at this age are still learning the direction of print (left to right). Most children self correct the problem during kindergarten and first grade.

Claire Louise - posted on 05/07/2009

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My twelve year old daughter is dyslexic and I was fairly sure she was from the age of five, mainly because her father is also and they both had similar diffculties in phonics. She too wrote her words back to front but I do not think that was a symptom as she now does not. Also my five year old tends to write letters backwards (I have no concerns about her being dyslexic as she has a different dad)and this is quite common in their age group.. What I would say is trust your instincts and keep an eye on your son,s progress and if you are concerned, ask for him to be assessed. Best of luck.

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