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Early Signs of Dyslexia?
Q: When my son writes his name or play-reads a book, he always goes from right to left. Is this an early sign of dyslexia, or is it something he will outgrow? Should I try and correct him or just let it go? At what age should I become worried? His father had problems in this area until he was about nine years old.
A: You didn't mention your son's age, so I have to assume he is a young child. Word reversal or directional reversals are common in younger children. From the information you've given me, it's difficult to assess if this activity might be a sign of dyslexia, or something he will merely outgrow. You might want to contact the International Dyslexia Association at 1-800-ABCD123 for more information.
Early intervention for dyslexia is vital for children who attend traditional school. However, children who learn at home do not face the narrow learning constraints imposed by traditional classrooms. In a classroom, most learning occurs through books, so reading at an early age is essential. Parents who teach their kids at home can and do utilize many other methods (reading aloud, audio and videotapes, hands-on experiences, discussions, etc.) As a result, many parents of children who exhibit symptoms that may indicate a learning difference, choose to wait it out. Like your husband, many kids simply mature and outgrow the problem.
Several moms in my homeschool group reported that their kids exhibited word reversal until they were around ten-years-old. Most gently corrected their children. How long you wait is your decision, based on your son's behavior and learning abilities. For more information about dyslexia, read When Reading Is Rough.
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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.