Signs of Dyslexia?

This week, I am going to tell you about the early signs of dyslexia, and what are normal letter reversals in written kindergarten work as opposed to reversals that indicate a problem such as dyslexia.

Signs of Dyslexia Sign

Below, I have also posted some examples of my students’ writing from last week, and I specifically chose writing that included what I consider to be “normal” reversals in them as examples.  I will explain more about that below, but just in case you were wondering about the writing project itself, I decided to have the children make a sticker book to try to motivate some of my reluctant writers.  The idea was that everyone would title their book, “What is it?” and then write a “This is a _____,” sentence with a sticker above it.  I told the children that they would receive the sticker of their choice for their next page AFTER they wrote the sentence for the first page!   Children that finished the “What Is It?” book in a timely manner had enough time to do a “What Are They?” book as well!  In this book, the children were allowed to choose more than one sticker for each page, but then had to write a “They are _____,” sentence about each set of stickers before they could get another set of stickers for the following page.  As you can imagine, the stickers were very popular with my students!  It was just a little hard to control the distribution of the stickers in general.  Next time I do this, I am going to only get out a FEW stickers and keep them in my LAP!  Then they will have to SHOW ME that they have written their sentences before I am going to give them a sticker!  My students started this project while I had a sub and when I returned, many of them had already decorated their whole book, but had written very little- and that was certainly not supposed to be the point!  It was supposed to be a trade off:  I’ll trade you a sticker for each sentence that you write about the sticker.  Unfortunately, it was a sticker explosion for some of the kids, and it was pretty hard to get it back under control, once the pattern was set, unfortunately!

An example of Kindergarten student writing with NORMAL reversals.

So what are the early signs of dyslexia in Kindergarten?  And how many letter, word, or number reversals are too many?  How do you know if your child is dyslexic?  Only a qualified reading specialist can tell you for sure, but this is a commonly asked question by concerned parents regarding their children in their journey to become readers and writers.

When parents see children writing or reading reversals, they often ask me if their child could be dyslexic.  First, let me define reversals, just so we all know what I am talking about.  A reversal is when a child either reads or writes a letter backwards from the way it ought to be.  For example, a child that reads a “b” as a “d” or a “p” as a “q” just reversed both of those letters.  A child that writes “deb” instead of “bed” just wrote a reversal, in that he or she turned the direction of the d and the b around when writing them.  A child that writes “der” instead of “red” reversed the entire word, and is struggling with left to right progression.  This may be in addition to reversing the direction of the printed letters within the word!  Children often write a number twelve as a twenty-one without realizing it as well, etc.  These are things that happen normally in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade.

An example of Kindergarten student writing with NORMAL reversals.

Most adults don’t struggle with reversals, but many children do.  Reversals are usually thought of as a progression of the development of visual perception rather than of fine motor skills.  A nice, strong, coloring and printing stroke indicates good fine motor skills.  A “shaky” or wavy line, (made when a child is trying to draw a straight one,) is indicative of undeveloped fine motor skills.  A child that cannot color inside the lines when asked to do so, and who cannot cut along a straight or curved line has undeveloped fine motor skills and needs to work on that.  But then, I think that we all know that some children simply choose not to make neat work their priority, so you have to figure out what exactly is going on before making that judgement call!

An example of Kindergarten student writing with NORMAL reversals.

As children mature, their visual perception matures right along with everything else, and those reversals usually start to disappear in a normally developing child.  In a child with dyslexia, those reversals persist and continue take over the page of the child’s writing on into second grade and beyond.

An example of Kindergarten student writing with NORMAL reversals.

In my kindergarten class, I typically see children start off the year with only a few reversals, and then as fluency in writing picks up and the children write more and more, I start seeing even more reversals in their writing than before!  This often concerns parents who are concerned that their child may be dyslexic.  Usually, what is happening is that the children are writing more frequently, and writing the letters completely from memory, rather than copying them from another source.  As they continue to experiment with pulling the letters from memory, they often remember them “a little off” and write them down backwards or upside down.

An example of Kindergarten student writing with NORMAL reversals.

In a normally developing child (at least in my 25 years of experience, this phase quickly passes (like in a few months) and the child only reverses a few letters on the page.  Naturally, the most commonly reversed letters are the ones that look the most alike:  the b, d, p, and q.  So, if the child has written two short sentences, we might see two or three reversed letters.  As a general rule, in a sentence like “I can ride a horse,” you might expect to see one or two reversed letters, and this is normal in Preschool, Kindergarten and first grade.  I have not taught second grade, so I cannot comment on that, but I would assume that a few normally developing children probably still have some of these issues on into second grade.  Certainly, one or two reversed letters on an entire page of writing is not a reason to panic, even in the higher grades, in my opinion!

An example of Kindergarten student writing with NORMAL reversals.

So when should the alarm bells go off?  When your child has finished Kindergarten and is STILL writing sentences with MANY reversals, and is doing this time and time again, consistently, then it’s time to first get your child’s vision checked.  Make an appointment to see your pediatrician and/or optometrist and express your concerns. Let the professionals direct you the right specialist.  Talk to your child’s teacher as well.  If you ask your child’s teacher for an evaluation, and you don’t get one, then put it in writing and submit it to the school principal or the district office.  Make sure that you date the paper, too.  Most districts respond very well to requests such as these that are submitted in writing, and are required by law to respond in 60 days.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that they MUST test your child for a learning disability, but my basic understanding is that they must respond officially somehow (at least in CA).  Just remember that funding now for all special services is very tight, so you will have to be your child’s advocate and educate yourself on your child’s rights by searching online and reading up on it.  Some parents seek and pay for outside testing by professionals, and then submit this testing to the school and ask for services to be provided by the school based on the results of these tests.  I am not sure exactly how this works, but I have heard that this can be done.  You’ll want to research it yourself, of course, before investing a lot of money in hopes that the school will then provide the educational services based on the results of the tests.

An example of Kindergarten student writing with NORMAL reversals.

In the past, I have encountered only a few students that I thought were probably dyslexic, but it can be very hard to spot in Kindergarten because the children’s visual perception is simply not done developing at that point in time. In Kindergarten, it’s really too early to diagnose that particular learning disability, in my opinion.  But the ones that I thought had dyslexia, and who went on to receive special education services, were simply unable to copy nearly anything!  I could put a letter down in front of them on the table, and the child could not copy it correctly, even though he or she was five years old.  Some copied it backwards over and over and over again, even though I pointed it out many times.  We would trace it with our fingers, draw it in sand, form it with play dough, and still the child would just “see it differently” in their heads.  When the child drew the letter, it came out differently.  I remember a few years ago, showing one little boy how to make a lower case h five times in a row, and having him write it backwards for me- five times in a row!  And this was with me sitting right there with him, telling him, “No!  It’s the other way!  Go on the other side!”  And then I would trace it for him on the page, and he would STILL draw it backwards!  And unfortunately, there seems to be a very good chance that the parents of these children will vigorously deny that there is any problem whatsoever when you suggest that there may be an issue.  These types of learning disabilities tend to run in families, and also seem to, for some reason, bring a sense of shame upon the parents, even though it is really an accident of birth and not their fault at all.  After that, the teacher is simply “out to get their child,” or “had it in for him from the very beginning.”  This is unfortunate for the child, because without parent support, the child cannot get any extra help, and could very well grow up barely literate.  And unfortunately, our correctional system is filled with adults who are barely literate and who have learning disabilities, so if they gave this some thought, they would probably go a different direction.


My advice to any parent is that, if your child’s teacher is telling you that there may be a problem, then check it out- even if you are offended and “absolutely sure” that there is nothing wrong.  It is not easy for teachers to give this news to parents because we know that we risk alienating the parents and that they may very well turn on us.  No teacher wants to give bad news to parents, because most parents would prefer to blame the teacher or school if the child is not successful.  Few parents accept responsibility for these problems as their own; placing blame on the teacher and schools is far easier.  The fact of the matter is that a learning disability is usually NOBODY’S fault!  It is an accident of birth and a malfunction of the neurons in the brain, and it does not indicate that the child is not intelligent.  In fact, in order to receive services at school, we must first show that your child does have at least normal intelligence, if not above average or beyond! So my best advice to anyone that is facing problems like this is to put your aside your own pride and feelings about your child’s teacher, and remind yourself that early intervention is the key to your child’s success.  Waiting to see if it will get better next year or the next is really not the best course to take, for the sake of your child.  If the teacher thinks that your child has a problem, or if you suspect a problem, then check it out!  (Don’t kill the messenger!)

As a footnote to this post, a reader left a comment below regarding her own child’s diagnosis with dyslexia, and early warning signs that they missed.  Be sure to check the comment left by “Caught in the Middle” for more information.

Signs of Dyslexia? By HeidiSongs


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Heidi Butkus

About Heidi Butkus

Heidi Butkus has been teaching in California public schools since 1985. She has somehow managed to stay in Kindergarten all of those years, with the exception of five years in first grade, and also taught a parent participation preschool for a short while! Combining a strong knowledge of brain research with practical experience, Heidi has created a wealth of fun and engaging teaching techniques that work well with diverse populations. She has presented at conferences nationwide, and is the owner and founder of Heidi has also created fourteen original CD's and DVD's for teaching beginning reading and math skills, three musical plays designed especially for young performers, and has written some picture books and many other teaching resources. Heidi's multimedia workshops are filled with fun and motivational educational activities that have been classroom tested and revised for effectiveness with all types of learners.
  1. Thanks for the great information! I love your blog! This is my first year teaching kindergarten and I am seeing a lot of the normal reversals. Do you recommend having the child correct their reversed letter or word? If a child reverses a letter, I will show them the correct way to make the letter, but I am not sure if I should ask them to correct the reversed letter. Thanks!

  2. To Anonymous,
    Thank you! I do ask the children to correct their reversed letters, if there is time to do so. But I also keep in mind that in certain writing assignments, my goal is to try to get some fluency going in their writing. So there are times when correcting reversals is not my top priority. I may have them go back through their little booklets later and see if they can find their own errors, and then they often catch them because they cannot read their own writing back! And sometimes, if a child is getting frustrated by my asking them to erase and fix too much (not just reversals), then I just have to let a few things go. Otherwise, writing becomes so negative! And I want it to be a joyful experience for them.

  3. Thanks for a very informational blog. Have you ever encountered a child that you think may have dysgraphia? I have a kiddo that I retained last year,and he can write words, but when he writes a sentence, it's all garbled (not reversals, it completely doesn't make sense). If I have him tell me the sentence, and give it back to him one word at a time, he can write appropriately.

    • I have had children diagnosed with dysgraphia. There are many strategies you can utilize including visual motor activities, explicit and systematic instruction, structured formation of letters and numerals. Being consistent and using developmentally appropriate materials help students overcome their learning challenges.

  4. Looking for a little bit of information. I have a student with a late summer birthday. She started the year unable to write her name and made sticks and scribbles. She is still writing from right to left with letter reversals in her name. She spent a good portion of the year switching between left hand to write, color, draw, and cut and so I had trouble figuring out which one was her dominant hand. After watching her consistently open doorknobs with her RIGHT hand I made the decision that she should stick with her right hand, and her cutting was better with her right. I thought this could be part of her challenge with not writing her name from left to right. Do you have any tips or see any causes for concern? I would like to retain her and mom is pro retention if the girl stays with me next year (socio-emotional concerns and just a great repoire built with the child and family). However, the family has moved to a new attendance zone so that can't happen. Any helpful tips or suggestions?

  5. Heidi, thank you for your post. As always, it is timely for me. I have a little boy who is struggling in some areas. I have noticed that he consistantly writes a few of his letters upside down. The L is one of them. I've suggested an eye exam to the parents. Any other ideas?

  6. Great post!! Thank you much for this! I tried to explain this exact concept to quite a few patents at conferences last week. Many were very concerned about the reversed letters. I'll be sending a note home with the link to this post! Thanks again 🙂

  7. This is such a helpful post. I am in K this year after being in second for many years. With the end of the year in sight, I have been feeling like I have not taught my students well enough to write correctly. I am glad to see the reversals are normal for their age. Thank you!


    Sprinkles to Kindergarten

  8. To Anonymous, regarding the child with R-L confusion:
    Good for you for watching to see which hand she opens the door with! That was very observant.
    As far as I am concerned, though, based on the very little bit of information you have told me, I would refer the child to the Student Study Team and see if they can do any further testing, considering that she is still not choosing a dominant hand herself after a year of kindergarten, and still writing her name (I assume consistently?) from right to left, and with reversals within it.
    Also, you never know what kind of support she will get in her new school next year. Obviously, she is going to truly struggle in first grade, and since she is on the young side, an extra year in K probably won't harm her if her parents are in favor of it. But I would still get the testing process started to see if she has any visual perception problems, or even dyslexia, etc.
    My understanding is that children who don't choose a dominant hand are more likely to be diagnosed with dyslexia later- though I couldn't tell you where I picked up that information at this time. It's just something I remember reading. And if she is truly dyslexic, an extra year in Kindergarten won't fix it. It will help her get a more solid base in the foundation of skills, but it won't reverse her dyslexia, if she has it.
    Good luck!

  9. To Karen,
    I, too have encountered children that cannot write an entire sentence, but who are fine writing single words. But I never have thought that they have had dysgraphia, since they were able to write the single words. I thought that they were overwhelmed with the size of the task!
    On the other hand, I do not remember being given a single BIT of training regarding dysgraphia in my Master's program when I got my Reading Specialist Credential. So I really couldn't say for sure. The only thing that I can say is that the children that were unable to write the sentences did a little bit better when I broke the task down for them into small parts. So, just give them one word to copy, and then a spacer (a physical spacer to put in between the words which holds the space.) Then give them one more word. Praise the child lavishly when he or she does it correctly, etc. When they see that this "mountain" can be climbed, then they can be taught to slow down and do it right, I think! (Or I HOPE!)
    Good luck!

  10. To Joanie,
    An eye exam is always a good place to start! I really like tactile letters for children to touch, and have them then immediately try to rebuild with blocks (or sticks, as they use in Handwriting Without Tears) or play dough, etc. One child that I had that did things like that got used to tracing the letter (not a tactile letter, just a plain letter) with her finger, and then trying to write it with her pencil. We had some success with that method, and it was easier than trying to pull out the tactile letter cards every single time. It was as though she simply couldn't SEE it, even though her vision test showed that she could see.
    It's a matter of visual perception, not vision, if you know what I mean! And that's a different thing entirely! The little one that I had would hold her entire book UPSIDE DOWN! I remember spending five minutes just trying to persuade her to turn the book right side up! That child did turn out to have a learning disability, although I don't know if it was labeled as dyslexia or not.
    I would tell the parents to make sure that the doctor understands exactly what is happening with the vision issues so that he or she can direct them to the correct professionals, if she passes her vision test but still "can't see."

  11. Thank you so much for this post. I teach pre-k and I've had parents come to me because they are concerned about reversals. I have assured them that it is normal but I have bookmarked this so I can refer parents to it in the future.
    ps- We have started using the sounds fun phonics cards I bought from you when I taught kindergarten. My kiddos are LOVING them!

  12. Thank you for this. I actually have a lot of parents ask me if their child might be dyslexic because of typical reversals like those you posted. I've even had them ask me about it because of backwards numbers! I appreciate you posting this. I may email it to any future parents who are concerned about their child. The photos of normal reversals are helpful! 🙂

    Kindergarten Simplicity

  13. Thank you for providing this information to teachers and other parents! Last year we learned that our 4th grader was actually dyslexic and even with my husband and I being teachers, we didn't realize it. Some early signs that we missed included not being able to rhyme, not being able to substitute letters in a word, skipping over "small" words when she did begin to read, having robotic fluency, and never being able to spell, even the smallest words. In her spelling, the words would be there, but jumbled in a way that wasn't at all common. By fourth grade she could verbalize how she would read. "I see the sentence in my head, or don't read through each word independently." "Sounding it out doesn't work for me since I don't see how it's connected to the whole word." She qualified in basic reading and reading comprehension with a 20 point discrepancy.

  14. To Caught in the Middle:
    Thank you for sharing that with me! That's very useful information for all of us! I'm going to edit the post and include it in the body of the blog, if you don't mind, crediting it to you.
    Thanks so much for passing that along to all of us that have children that are struggling with reading.

  15. Not working so far.. HELP!
    I have taught Pre-k for 15 years and this is my first in kindergarten for over 15 years. I have one student, in writing, that forms most letters corectly. However, in writing her "sentences" she starts on the right and goes left. She will point the same direction. She has been taught to start on the green (go) side and can tell you that. Her name is written backwords.
    She knows her letters/sounds and can read 8/10 sight words. She is beginning to read in a Level A/B guided reading book and reads left to right. We have concerns about possible ADHD with her ability to attend and sit not lasting more than a minute.
    Do you have any thoughts or ideas of a direction I could go to help her?

  16. To Anonymous,
    Wow, that's a tough one. I would have definite concerns on that, too. Have you referred the child to your Student Study Team, or whatever you call your committee that discusses children that may need special education referrals?
    I recently found an iPad app called Letter Reflex by Binary Labs that is supposed to really help kids with reversals. I really don't have anyone in my class this year with that sort of problem, so I haven't had a chance to try it out. But I understand that it was voted something like "The App Most Likely to Make a Difference" (or something along those lines.) Sorry, I don't have a really great memory for details like that! The only thing is that it did get awesome reviews. Perhaps it will help, IF you have access to an iPad.
    I'll give this topic some more thought and repost some more ideas when I have more time. Right now I have to run. Good luck!

  17. Pingback: Educational Jargon: Your Child’s Report Card Explained in Plain English | Heidi Songs

  18. Hi Heidi,
    Are you familiar with the work I’ve been doing with dyslexic kids over the last 4-5 years. It’s a completely different intervention to visual dyslexia, and I think you’d be interested.

    I’d love to get your feedback.
    Happy Holidays,
    Steve Round

  19. Hi Heidi,
    Are you familiar with the work I’ve been doing with dyslexic kids over the last 4-5 years? It’s a completely different intervention for visual dyslexia, which involves allowing and encouraging visually dyslexic kids to read and write completely upside-down or on a 90 degree angle.

    Once they’ve become fluent and attain their appropriate reading level, most easily train themselves to “flip-it-over” and read/write conventionally. For more information and lots of videos of these students in action, please go to

    I’d love to get your feedback.
    Happy Holidays,
    Steve Round

  20. Thank you for such a great article! I teach 1st grade and I h=often have parents ask about the possibility of dyslexia because their child reverses occasionally. Your thoughts are really valuable for that conversation. Quick note about test requests in California- districts must respond in 50 days. And those days are calendar days and include weekends, holidays and breaks! So turn around time should be quick for parents who request.

  21. Pingback: Teaching Handwriting in Your Homeschool: Elementary Edition - Golden Reflections Blog

  22. Not sure if this helps anyone else or not, but here it goes anyway. In pre K we noticed my son did not use either his left or right hand consistently. Later during T-ball he struggled more than most swinging the bat. We talk to our pediatrician and he noted nothing out of the ordinary. On to Kindergarten, about 1/2 through he started struggling reading and writing. Our school took this very seriously and put him through ever testing possible. Phyical, ocuuprational, speach, you name it. We took him to our eye doctor to rule out anything there. We found out that he had an underdeveloped midline. His brain would not let his hands cross over the center line (draw a line from your head to feet). So he would switch or use both hands depending on the situation. In first grade we notice he would start of the bottom right hand side of the paper is not reminded where to go. He is now left handed and since his body is learning the new way of moving we consider this normal. He is finished up 1st grade and has great support at school and home. We are still seeing reversal but he recognizes them himself. His reading is above where is should be and is only getting better. I’m still not sure if we are doing the right thing, but your article did let me take a big sigh of relief that we are not alone in this battle. Thank you. One more thing I myself struggled in school. I only wished someone spoke up for me back then maybe it would have been more enjoyable. I want my son to love to read and write early then I did.

  23. Hi Heidi,

    Thanks for posting this article. Very helpful and balanced. We are in a position now with one of my son’s kindergarten teachers who from the beginning of the year, when he was new to the school noted him having “behavioral issues”. What she meant by that was he used to gnaw at his Tshirt, was somewhat restless in class. She noted him having difficulty sitting in his chair while working and thought we should get him tested. As much as I was appalled, angry and upset, we took it very seriously and upon several chats and supportive play sessions with my son, this improved and the teacher also let us know. What I thought was an adjustment to school, was termed as a potential LD by this teacher.
    Now that the year is almost nearing to a close, she sends us an email expressing concerns about his academic and social behavior. We have noticed letter and number reversals that are getting better and he is reading, loving learning, science and enjoying his school. However I suspect that based on what he tells me, he doesn’t like this particular teacher who he experiences as very strict. She is and I think that’s not bad entirely…but what I want to know does any of what I have said, sound problematic? To me it sounds normal both academically and social/emotionally.

    • Hi,
      Well, of course I haven’t met him or observed your child, and so this really limits my ability to help you determine what is normal. I do think that your reaction is normal, as a loving parent! Parents are usually appalled and upset, but if your son’s kindergarten teacher has a good 15-20 years of experience, she may very well be right. However, that being said, it is worth letting him see if he continues to improve next year, unless the school is offering testing of some sort. If they are offering testing, just take it! It’s information that you didn’t have before. If he does not have a learning disability, he will not qualify. And even so, just because he qualifies doesn’t mean you have to accept any services.

      Are his behaviors normal? Well here are the behaviors you listed, and I’ll tell you what I think. Keep in mind, I am not a school psychologist, and I haven’t seen your son at all! I am only going by your description.

      Gnawing at his T-shirt: In my 25 years of teaching, I’ve only had two or three kids that did this (not together in the same school year). As I would describe it, they actually “mouthed” their t-shirts, as a toddler might put something in his mouth for comfort or stimulation, still being in “the oral stage.” These children wound up with the front of their shirts pretty wet, and the shirt was all stretched out. Would I say it’s “normal?” No, because hardly anyone else ever did it. Was I alarmed? No. Did I feel it indicated a level of immaturity below Kindergarten? Yes, definitely. However, two of the three did fine in every other way. They just seemed to need oral stimulation. Some children may do this if they are just plain nervous in a new situation, and it comforts them, I think.

      Was somewhat restless in class: Okay, MOST of the children in Kindergarten are “somewhat restless” in class! It really depends on exactly what he was doing. If the teacher is saying this about 25% of the children in the class, then I might be able to ignore this comment. If it’s only him… well, can you take a peek at his behavior through a window at the school, when he does not know he is being watched? Just be fair- let the teacher know you are going to “spy” on HIM, and do it several times and at different times of the day. Children act differently when their parents are in the room.

      “She noted him having difficulty sitting in his chair.” Is he falling out the chair a lot? One thing that children with learning disabilities seem to do a lot is simply just “fall out of their chairs,” suddenly and for no reason (or what seems to be no reason!) They seem to have poor balance in general. It’s odd, but I’ve seen it happen quite a bit!

      Getting a learning disability diagnosed in Kindergarten is very tricky, because there are so many issues at play, the biggest one being immaturity. So in my experience, it doesn’t happen all that often. However, when a child actually qualifies for special ed help in K, it’s usually because you have a teacher with an eagle eye and a lot of experience catching those things, and a cooperative school psychologist. Catching a problem when a child is very young is the best case scenario, because early intervention is the key. Just remember that it is VERY hard to qualify for special services in any grade, but especially hard in K!
      Hope that helps! You can call our office if you would like to chat some more. (909) 331-2090.

  24. You have a large following, and could help a lot of kids if you could get the word out to kindergarten and first grade teachers on how to spot dyslexia. Here are the symptoms to look for (courtesy Susan Barton):

    Kindergarten Signs
    · Family history of struggling readers
    · Late to speak (first words > 1 year)
    · Mispronounces long words: aminal for animal
    · Trouble getting words out, “The um, thing that, um”
    · Confuses left and right
    · Trouble learning to rhyme
    · Trouble identifying first or last sounds in words
    · Trouble blending sounds into words
    · Trouble learning letter names

    Dyslexic Reading Mistakes
    · Inaccurate reading of words in lists
    · Can’t sound out an unknown word.
    · Skips or adds small words: an, a, from, the, to,
    · Adds/skips letters: could–cold
    · Mixes sequence of letters: who–how, lots–lost
    · Mixes similar words: house-horse
    · Confuses b–d past 1st grade
    · Confuses b–p, n–u, or m–w
    · Substitutes words based on context: trip-journey, fast-speed
    · Skips suffixes: need-needed, talks-talking, late-lately.
    · Listening comprehension much better than reading comprehension

  25. There is a lot more to being dyslexic than reversals. When you ask the school for a copy of your parents rights they should give it to you. Its the law.

  26. My daughter is a first grader. She really struggles reading and has constant reversals in her numbers and letters. She also can’t go back and read to you what she writes, and has problems sounding out & blending words. She’s also a few levels behind in reading.The teacher suggested I get her screened to see if we can get her some help at school and they said all the errors made were age appropriate and she does not qualify for help from school. I even had a tutor for her over the summer too because I knew she was behind in kindergarten. What do you suggest I do? I have suspected something is going on with her for some time. Would seeking outside assistance be the best route in this situation? I am afraid if I fight for it in school, it might not even be the help she needs because they were so quick to dismiss she had any issues in the first place. I don’t want to waste time fighting when my energy can be spent getting her the quality help she needs asap if I seek help outside school.

    • It is REALLY tough in some schools to get a kindergartner screened and then placed in a class for special help because they often require that a child be a full TWO YEARS behind in order for him or her to qualify. So if a child can name a few colors and a letter or two, they are already past the level of a three year old, and there you have it. The child is “too high” to qualify for help.
      Now I don’t know if that is what is happening to your child, but it could be. In some schools, they simply won’t screen a kindergartner for this very reason. It’s almost impossible to get children placed in special ed once they begin school. Oddly enough, it seems to be much easier to get children in preschool qualified, because the rules on what qualifies and what doesn’t qualify are very different when it comes to preschool. (Go figure.)

      So what should you do? I do think that getting her help outside of school would be quicker and easier, just based on what you have told me. I would also take her to a Developmental Optometrist for testing. My cousin is a developmental optometrist, and she does vision therapy with children that have learning problems. I understand that often times, children may appear to have 20/20 vision, yet still have issues with visual perception that can go undetected by their regular optometrists because they are not trained to look for these types of problems. Once diagnosed, they can do exercises and vision therapy with children that can make a real difference in their academic success! So it’s definitely worth checking out, even if you need to drive a fair distance to get there.
      Other than that, I would certainly try the multi-sensory approach and see if she can learn with any of my DVD’s. Go on the HeidiSongs YouTube page and see if she responds to and learns from that type of teaching. If so, then go for it!
      Best of luck to you!

    • Be patient! I understand the desire to keep her in sync with other children but she may simply need more practice and time to master those segments of her cirriculum. Your daughter has ample time (if you allow it) to master reading. A private tutor may be ideal for you. Particularly one who is trained in phonics and is also bilingual as this tends to be an advantage when teaching english words. Good luck!

  27. I teach an ESL (English as a Second Language) class for non-native learners. Recently, we had a woman in her mid-thirties (maybe 40’s) who joined the class. During one activity where I had the students write answers on the board, I discovered that she writes upside down with some letters reversed. She is from Latin America. The following time we did a class activity, I used large sheets of self-adhesive paper on the wall. We just turned the sheet upside down so we could read the answer. She is comfortable with her writing, however, are there any resources or references that I could use to help her? Is it more difficult for an adult to correct than a child? Appreciate any helpful tips.

  28. You use the word “disability” quite liberally throughout your post which I feel is severely generous. Children actually have until the age of 12 to master CHALLENGES. This is based on neurological development not grade level or “age appropriate” milestones. The issue here tends to be that our education system does not offer the time needed for children to develop individually as we are more interested in progressing through grade levels than mastery of subject through independent stages.

    A child you inverts letters does not have a disability and this can and will correct itself over time. Please do not use the word disability so loosely as you are not in a position to diagnose or speculate. Challenges are a natural element of humanity and everyone is capable of learning it just may be in a less standardized and conventional way than you are used to. Keep an open mind as teaching methods are simply practices designed for general consumption. This leaves room for specialty methods which it does not seem you are open to. I am sorry that you feel villainized by parents whom you address your concerns with. Perhaps suggesting a better fit for a teacher/tutor may get your farther than misdiagnosing a child.


    SK Affornik, MD/PhD
    Pediatric Neuroscientist
    Educational Advocate

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