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Dyslexia is a phonological disorder that affects your ability to read and understand printed words.
It typically manifests during childhood and has a wide range of symptoms.
Because it manifests during childhood, it’s important to start speech therapy as early as possible so that your child can overcome their dyslexia and not fall behind.
There’s plenty of experienced speech therapists out there, so if you’re thinking “where can I find a speech therapist for kids near me?” you’re in luck.
But for now, let’s find out more.
What Is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a disorder involving your ability to read printed words.
This has nothing to do with intelligence – those who are dyslexic are no more or less likely to likely to have lower than average intelligence than the rest of the population.
Rather, it’s caused by difficulty identifying how sounds come together to make words.
Think back to when you were first learning to read – your teacher would tell you to sound the words out.
That works for most people, but it’s really difficult if you have dyslexia.
Spelling words can also be tricky.
But, it’s important to consider that even though your typical child with dyslexia has normal or above average intelligence, without help dyslexia can impact their understanding of what they read.
This is because reading without unnecessary pauses increases comprehension.
A great example of this is if your child understands the text when it is read to them, but gets confused while they read it out loud themselves.
It will affect their academic performance if extra resources aren’t engaged.
What Are The Signs Your Child May Have Dyslexia?
There is a wide range of speech and language difficulties that your child could experience that may indicate that they have dyslexia.
The following challenges may be experienced by primary school children and indicate dyslexia:
- Difficulty pronouncing longer words
- Difficulty learning to talk
- Difficulty rhyming
- Challenges learning the alphabet sequence, colours, shapes, and numbers
- Difficulty learning to read and write
- Challenges identifying syllables
- Challenges with handwriting and fine-motor coordination generally
Older children and teenagers might have some of these same symptoms, and will probably read and spell below their year level.
They’ll also probably avoid reading out loud wherever possible and work through their assignments very slowly.
There is a significant overlap between dyslexia and autism spectrum disorder as well, so if your child is diagnosed with one it’s more likely that they have the other.
How Does A Speech Therapist Test For Dyslexia?
The formal diagnosis for dyslexia is usually done by a psychologist.
This diagnosis will require supporting information from a multi-disciplinary team of professionals, including usually a speech therapist.
In this supporting information will be a thorough background history from you, their parent, reports from their school teachers and the assessment results from a speech therapist.
Your speech therapist will assess your child by carrying out a speech therapy pediatric evaluation to test different areas which are likely to be impacted by dyslexia.
These test areas include:
- Short-term memory
- Listening comprehension
- Ability to adapt language and identify synonyms, antonyms, etc.
- Sequencing ability
- Word retrieval skills
- Reading fluency and recall
- Reading comprehension
You can see why this assessment is very important information in order for your child to be officially diagnosed with dyslexia.
It is thorough and designed to consider all possible symptoms that dyslexia can manifest.
How Does A Speech Therapist Treat Dyslexia?
Since dyslexia is mainly a phonological challenge, speech therapists are an integral part required to teach your child how to work past these challenges.
This is because speech therapists are experts with phonological errors and have lots of experience teaching children which sounds go together.
Even if your child is only having difficulty reading, not speaking, a speech therapist can teach them to improve their overall phonological systems.
This will help them understand how sounds go together to make words, which will improve their reading ability.
Children with dyslexia may also sometimes have a language learning problem, which can be addressed by their speech therapist too.
Your speech therapist will first assess your child thoroughly to understand which area is in need of speech therapy.
Some questions they might consider are:
- How are they with phonological awareness tasks like rhyming or segmenting?
- Are they using any phonological processes in their speech?
- How do they score on expressive and receptive language tests?
Your speech therapist will create a personalized program to improve the areas your child needs the most help with.
This is done with a broad approach covering all of the skills that will help your child make changes to their entire phonological system.
If there is a severe limitation or area of concern, that would be addressed first with the goal of introducing the other skills as soon as possible.
Book Your Appointment With Triumph Therapeutics Today
You can see that there’s quite a lot of symptoms that may indicate your child has dyslexia.
The good news is that speech therapy is a great resource to help stimulate their development and reshape their whole phonological system, which will improve their academic performance and set them up for success going forward.
Book an appointment today with Triumph Therapeutics to schedule an evaluation.
If you’re ready to take the next step, reach out today for a free phone consultation.
4900 Massachusetts Ave NW suite 340,
Washington, DC 20016
Triumph Therapeutics is a team of highly experienced pediatric therapists specializing in physical therapy, speech language therapy, and occupation therapy for children, adolescents and their families as they work to reach their growth and wellness goals