In a highly competitive world, every family would want their children to excel, especially in school. The world of academics has been built up into a very categorical structure, with the nerds generally mentally grouped together, while the jocks and the cheerleaders also comprise another group. This unconscious sorting already happens even right in childhood, where children who are fast learners are applauded while those who lag behind, possibly because of a learning disability, are told this so often that they start to feel inferior to their peers, even before they reach middle school.
Dyslexia is one learning disability that greatly affects nearly every area of a child’s education, largely because it affects many major areas: first, it affects the child’s ability to read, and also affects his ability to spell and comprehend words. It also affects a child’s ability to memorize sequences, or to make directional discernment. Given the way that dyslexia affects a child, the following symptoms should serve as warning bells:
- The child tends to mix up syllables, whether in speech or in written form. For example, he may intend to say “animal” but winds up saying “aminal.” (Some experts believe that this symptom can be seen even in toddlers, but sometimes toddlers just mix up words and outgrow them in months. If you notice that it seems consistent, though, it could be an early symptom.)
- He has trouble remembering sequences. For example, a child with dyslexia can wash his hands, but forget to turn off the faucet. Because tying shoelaces also require following a certain sequence, he may also have trouble learning this skill at the time when most children his age are already tying their own shoelaces. While it is not too great to compare your child with other children, some developmental milestones happen at a given range of time.
- He has trouble differentiating letters that have similar form but different directional orientation: the most common mix-ups that children with dyslexia make is mixing up the letters b, d, p, and q, since they all look alike but have a different orientation. Of course, this manifests only when the child is starting to read and write.
If you suspect that your child is manifesting dyslexia symptoms, go ahead and have him take a diagnostic test. The purpose of early diagnosis is so that you can resort to early intervention. Remember, when a child has a learning disability, it is not a sign that he is not normal, nor is it a result of anything you or he may have done.
This reminds me of an interesting story in the Bible: the people brought a blind man to Jesus and asked Him if it was the man’s sin or His parents’ sin that caused him to be blind. (Interestingly, he was born blind, so how could it have been his own sin in question, when he had not done anything yet by the time he was born…?) Jesus replied that it was neither, but that it happened so that people would see the wonders of God.
The same thing could be said about learning disabilities in children. As a mom of a child with dyslexia symptoms, the Lord is equipping you with His heart for your child, and you will definitely find ways for him to learn with his particular characteristics. For example, you can benefit from books like “Overcoming Dyslexia,” which details the condition as well as how you and your child can work at overcoming the limitation. You need not worry because it is your heritage as a Christian parent to have the Lord alongside you, teaching your children with you.