Reading disorders in general, but dyslexia, specifically, usually become evident in early elementary grades with children. Some reading disorders that are connected to fluency and comprehension present themselves later, but basic reading disorders, such as dyslexia, tend to have some earlier signs and a somewhat typical presentation. A great deal of the difficulties lie with the use of phonemes; the smallest sound segments connected to letters and syllables.
Early warning signs – not universal, but tend to occur more often:
- Mild language delays
- Extended period of mispronunciations (beyond preschool), e.g., pisgetti for spaghetti
- Difficulty with rhymes and rhyming games
- Difficulty pulling the correct phonemes for objects – calls a similar sounding word, or after struggling says, “I forgot”
- Understanding of words/language seems more advanced than actual word production
- Sometimes speech is labored, that is, a lot of delays or hesitations between words
- Difficulties learning the names and/or sounds of the alphabet (this one is critical, as it is the first major step toward reading; known as the alphabetic principle)
As is the case with many developmental processes, the earlier a child can be identified as having certain difficulties, the earlier appropriate treatment can occur, and that may lead to better outcomes later.
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