Parents and teachers often ask how early dyslexia can be diagnosed. While diagnosing a reading disability prior to literacy instruction is considered questionable by most school systems, there are patterns in children’s speech that can predict later challenges with reading. This is when a dyslexia screening is very helpful.
Children often make sound errors when they first learn to speak. Young children may say “pasketti,” not “spaghetti”, “packpack” instead of "backpack", or "aminals” for "animals". For some children, these differences are more pronounced and may indicate poor speech sound development. Children who have trouble processing sounds for speech often carry that difficulty into reading and spelling. This can be a predictor of reading and spelling difficulty.
A second grade child with weak speech sound processing may have trouble identifying the four speech sounds in a word like smash >>> (s-m-a-sh). This may indicate an underlying language processing problem. Even if these children appear to be mastering early literacy, their underlying challenges with sounds mean they are far more likely to memorize words and use dysfunctional decoding patterns than to build the necessary skills that prepare them for lifelong literacy.
The relationship between speech and print is anchored in an understanding of phonology and phonological processes. Making this connection is a vital step for children in developing literacy.
Not only do phonological skills underlie early reading, but they can also be taught. If your child’s previously “cute” preschool speech is moving toward concerning reading struggles, we encourage you to do a free screening with your child as a first step to identify a possible underlying language processing problem.
With or without an official diagnosis of dyslexia, you can start your child on the right path to literacy. With our structured literacy approach, we can begin as early as 6 years of age.
Explore the screening option below, or contact us for a free phone consultation at (561) 517-0420.
The Dyslexia Screening Test is an app, and your child uses a device with a touchscreen (Apple or Android) to complete the 60 minute screening. The extensive report provides users with 3 kinds of information: