According to The International Dyslexia Association, “dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.” Teachers often misinterpret dyslexic children as lazy, disinterested or lacking in intelligence. IDA experts counter with the fact that “dyslexia is a specific reading disorder and does not reflect low intelligence.” An estimated 15 to 20% of people have some symptoms of dyslexia.

Amelia’s Pre-K teacher was the first one to spot a potential learning difference, which prompted her mother to seek diagnostic testing. Experts say both early identification and treatment are critical in helping dyslexic children succeed in school and beyond.

Read Related: Learning from a Child With Dyslexia

It is a myth that people with dyslexia “read backwards,” but some signs that parents can look for are:

  • Difficulty with paper & pencil tasks
  • Following a series of instructions
  • Difficulty in learning the alphabet
  • Reversing letters
  • Difficulty with letter shapes and associated sounds

Larry Evans, the principal at The Hillier School in Dallas, which began serving students with learning differences in 1968, offers this advice regarding what age parents should consider diagnostic testing:

“If a child is age 5, in a good program, and shows some of the above signs, parents should start working closely with the teacher and begin phonemic awareness training (pre-reading skills that the child did not acquire on their own) for their child. If the child is still experiencing these difficulties well into the first grade year, parents should take steps to have their child tested for dyslexia.”

Dyslexia is a life-long condition, but with the proper help, people with dyslexia can and do learn to read and write well. Amelia, the child in the story, is now reading on grade level. She will begin Fourth Grade at The Hillier School in the fall.