Most people believe that dyslexia is a reading problem, detectable only when children actually begin to learn to read. But dyslexia affects a number of language skills that underlie literacy. Signs of dyslexia can and do appear in preschoolers.
Consider having your preschool-aged child assessed if he or she has difficulty with three or more of the following:
- Acquiring new vocabulary words and speaking in simple sentences
- Recalling the correct word for the object you present to them
- Pronouncing certain words (ex. pasghetti for spaghetti)
- Recognising and responding to rhymes, as though he or she can not “hear” them
- Learning colors and shapes
- Learning common sequences such as the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, or months of the year
- Understanding notions of time: past, present and future; has difficulty anticipating upcoming events
- Learning to spell and write his or her own name
- Separating sounds in words and blending sounds to make words
- Telling or retelling a story in the correct sequence
- Following directions, especially those with several steps
- Developing fine motor skills such as holding crayons, playing with small toys such (beads, game pieces)
If there is a family history of dyslexia or other learning difficulties, be a little more vigilant. Dyslexia has a genetic component.
All this being said, keep in mind that what is normal for this age range can vary widely, so also watch for your child to successfully gain language and literacy skills at their own pace.
If you are concerned that your child is dyslexic, don’t delay in getting them the proper support. Dyslexic children who receive effective phonological training in kindergarten and the first grade have significantly fewer problems learning to read at grade level than children who receive intervention and support in the third grade.
Contact the BFDC if you have any concerns about your child’s language and literacy development.