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At what age can dyslexia be reliably assessed and why is this assessment important?

Hi, my son is five and a half and struggling with learning the basic phonetics. This may well be purely a developmental issue as he is still very young. However, I would be interested to know what the earliest age a child displaying symptoms of dyslexia should realistically be assessed?. If a child is struggling with reading and writing and this is being addressed and supported by the school, is it still important for a child to be tested for dyslexia? Are there different types of interventions that work specifically for a dyslexic child?
Kelly :)
  • Replied by Fennaon Sunday, February 24 2013, 01:38 PM·Hide·#1
    In Holland we don't start reading until we are 6, in Finland it is 7. I think 4/5 is much too young to diagnose. Children are more symmetrical and so more likely to make typical mistakes like changing the b for a d. However, now that I know that my 7 year old is dyslexic, I do see in hind-sight that she was developing as a dyslexic. She was deaf at 3-4-5 so missed the early stages of her phonics, and got used to guessing. She talked messily, in sentences or joined up words rather than words... What made me finally at 7, suspicious is that she would write one word in many different ways in one text: her, hur, hr, hor, har.....
    Replied by HiHopeson Thursday, March 28 2013, 11:17 AM·Hide·#2
    There are check lists around and many professionals who will decide if someone is dyslexic according to the symptoms they see and what they know about dyslexia. It's hard to find someone who has a solid picture of all the components of dyselxia.
    The only way to 'test' for it is to observe or test the spelling. Some dyslexics will learn to shape read over time and hide that they aren't really reading. Reading requires both phonetic and shape reading skills.
    As far as a diagnosis you'd have to wait until your child is in the second grade, past the first month to use the only diagnostic test available which is the DDT Dyslexia Determination Test. Before that there is a screener called the DSF - Dyslexia Screener for First Grade and the PLCT which is the Pre-Dyselxia Letter Coding Test for kids who are in the second half of K but not in First Grade yet. These tests look at a traditional dyslexia which involves phonetics, visual, and motoric dyslexia. They do not take into consideration why a child has attention challenges, oculomotor issues such as with tracking, non-integrated primative refexes, or scocopitic syndrom (Irlen). Regarding the primative relfex work by Dr. Blomberg, every person with dyslexia will have the same set of reflexes that did not integrate as babies. These reflexes are like a rubber band neurologically and are where we originally develop our ability to track with our eyes, focus, sit up and not slouch, connect the left to right sides of our bodies etc...
    5 and a half is very early to worry too much about your son's phontic issues yet. The most important question is - does he have a speech/articulation problem or does he have great difficulty identifying the letters and the sounds they make. If he is having trouble with either then there may be a problem that is just starting to become evident.
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