Dyslexia affects people in different ways. For example, if you have dyslexia you may be a very good reader but may struggle with spelling or writing.
Dyslexia doesn't only affect language-based skills. People with dyslexia may also have difficulties with their short-term memory, mathematics ability, concentration, personal organisation, speed of processing information, coordination and ability to think or do things in the right order (sequencing).
You can often spot signs of dyslexia in children at a young age. However, because children develop at different rates, it's important to remember that even if your child has one or more of these characteristics, it doesn't necessarily mean that he/she has dyslexia.
You should talk to your child's GP, health visitor or school if you think that, compared with other children of the same age, he/she:
" is slow to develop clear speech
" is slow to develop fine motor skills (eg being able to hold and use a pencil properly)
" is slow to learn the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, colours, shapes, left and right
" has difficulty pronouncing certain words, eg "mawn lower" instead of lawn mower, "busgetti" for spaghetti (although most children mix up pronunciation as they learn to talk)
" has difficulty finding the right words when talking and may substitute words instead
" has difficulty working out which words rhyme with each other
" has difficulty following multi-step routines or directions such as those in action songs, games or activities such as getting dressed
" has difficulty with numbers - putting them in the wrong order or the wrong way round, eg 14 for 41, 6 for 9
Your child may also have particular problems with reading and writing, such as:
" difficulty learning the alphabet
" struggling to spell and write his/her name
" reading letters or words in the wrong order or reversed (eg reading 'was' as 'saw', writing 'd' as 'b' and 'p' as 'q')
" difficulty recognising words that they have previously seen
" missing words out or adding extra words where they aren't needed
" hesitancy or inaccuracy while reading
" poor handwriting
Your child may experience visual disturbances or discomfort when reading print, such as:
" blurred letters/words
" letters that appear to move around, shimmer or shake
" words or letters that appear to break into two
" difficulty with tracking across the page
" glare on the page or oversensitivity to bright lights
These symptoms can affect reading ability, make it very tiring and cause headaches. If your child complains of any of these problems, he/she should be referred to an orthoptist or a behavioural optometrist (eye specialists with expertise in this particular field.