Does Your Child Have Dyslexia? Advice from a Mom

Guest post by Melissa Batai

Unless you’re specifically educated as a reading teacher, you may have no idea if your child has dyslexia. Yet, as many as one in five children have dyslexia. As homeschoolers, we may have trouble recognizing the signs and attribute it to our child just not being ready to read yet. Certainly, there are some kids who fall into this category, but there are many more who have undiagnosed dyslexia.

Well Meaning Homeschool Moms Can Hinder Diagnosis

I am a mom to three kids. Our son is our oldest, and he went to a Japanese language immersion preschool and kindergarten. He was reading both English and basic Japanese at age five. He picked it up easily and was a prolific reader.

I have homeschooled our younger two children, our daughters, since the beginning. They’ve never been to school. I’m an English major and love to read and write. You can imagine my shock when I tried to teach my six-year-old to read, and she cried through every lesson! I would ask if she wanted to take a break, but tenacious spirit that she is, she refused and finished each lesson in tears.

I was sure I was a horrible teacher and that it was my fault she struggled so badly with reading; after all, our son learned so easily. Other homeschool moms tried to comfort me by saying she just wasn’t ready or that their children didn’t read proficiently until nine. While I appreciated that reassurance at the time, I realized later that all those words did was delay my search for an answer to her difficulties.

When my youngest daughter also struggled to read, I knew something was wrong. Certainly, I couldn’t be this big of a failure as a teacher?

I want to tell you, parent to parent, if you feel that something is hindering your child, if you feel the problem is deeper than just being a slow learner, please follow your gut.

Signs of Dyslexia

There are a host of signs of dyslexia. Some of the most prominent include:

  • Trouble reading fluently

  • Misspelling words frequently

  • Writing phonetically

  • Learning to read at a late age

  • Speech delays

  • Letter and word reversals (my dyslexic daughters still struggle with this a bit even after significant intervention)

You can get a full list of the signs of dyslexia at The Child Mind Institute .

Do You Have Dyslexics in the Family?

Also, take a look at your family tree. Do any of your relatives have dyslexia? Dyslexia is a genetic condition. If either you or your spouse has dyslexia, your child’s chance of having dyslexia is 40 to 60%. However, if both you and your spouse have dyslexia, your child has a 100% chance of dyslexia.

Don’t be surprised to discover that while you’re researching to determine if your child has dyslexia you also discover that you or your spouse has it.

I was puzzled how our children could have dyslexia since no one in my family has it. However, when we began researching, my husband realized he has dyslexia. Then we also learned that his nephew has dyslexia, and suddenly, the mystery was solved as to how our kids could have it.

If you already know that someone in your family has dyslexia, pay close attention to your own children. They are more likely to have dyslexia.

Why Should You Get an Official Diagnosis?

I have had many, many parents tell me that they think their child is dyslexic, but they don’t want to get an official diagnosis because they don’t want their child to be labeled.

As a parent, you must choose what you think is best for your child, but my husband and I decided to get the diagnosis for several reasons.

An Official Diagnosis Opens You Up to Services

Interventions for dyslexics are expensive. We decided to seek a Barton Reading and Spelling tutor, which runs $40 an hour. Some other locations charge up to $70 an hour for a Barton tutor. Most families cannot afford this, especially if they have multiple children with dyslexia. Luckily, in the state of Arizona, we could apply for a scholarship that covers these expenses.

My cousin, who also has a daughter with dyslexia, found a grant in Ohio for professional tutoring. To utilize these resources, you must have an official diagnosis.

An Official Diagnosis Gives Your Child Accommodations

I plan to homeschool my daughters through high school, but as we all know, life doesn’t always go as planned. I may need to work outside the home sometime. I may be unable to continue homeschooling due to medical reasons. We just don’t know what will happen in the future.

If your children may need to go to brick and mortar school at some time, they will have a diagnosis, which will open up services for them. They will be able to get extra time on tests. They may have a lighter homework load.

Even if they don’t go to brick-and-mortar school, they may need these services when taking standardized test and if they go to college.

Final Thoughts

If your child is struggling with reading, yes, she may just be a late bloomer. However, don’t wait too long to have her evaluated. The sooner you discover whether or not she has dyslexia, the sooner you can provide her with interventions.