Is It Dyslexia? Now What?

Posted by Debbie Hargett - 26 February, 2019


Dyslexia or similar language and spelling difficulties affect 15-20% of the population, and there is a familial component. A close relative with dyslexia is a risk factor. You may think that these difficulties won't be evident until a child starts to read, but there are many early signs that parents and teachers can look out for in preschool children.

If you think your child might have dyslexia, testing should be your next move. Early intervention is critical to a child's academic success and well being. All children benefit greatly from the structure and sequence of learning to read with the Orton-Gillingham program, but this is the only reading program that has been proven effective for children with dyslexia.

 Early signs of dyslexia in preschool:

  • May have difficulty with rhyming
  • May have trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, days of the week
  • May be unable to follow multi-step directions
  • Often has difficulty separating sounds in words and blending sounds to make words

Early signs of dyslexia in elementary school:

  • Letter or number reversals continuing past the 1st grade
  • May be slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds
  • Slow, choppy, inaccurate reading
  • Avoids reading aloud
  • Difficulty with spelling
  • Often can’t remember sight words (they, were, does)
  • Difficulty telling time on a clock with hands
  • Trouble with math (memorizing facts, sequence of steps, directionality, word problems)
  • Dreads going to school, complains of stomach aches or headaches

Maintaining your child's self-esteem is critical. If you suspect your child may be struggling with a reading difference, he or she should be tested as soon as possible.

While Greengate's program may not be the solution for every child, testing is critical to identification and the earlier a reading problem is identified the more readily the issue can be remediated.

Which tests should be given?

At Greengate School, we frequently receive questions about which tests should be performed to determine if your child may be dyslexic.  We recommend the following:

  • An intelligence test such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V). WISC is required for Greengate School admission.

A dyslexia assessment including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Reading comprehension test such as the Gray's Oral Reading Test (GORT-5)
  • Phonemic Awareness such as the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP-2)
  • Test of Written Spelling (TWS-5)
  • Test of Word Reading Efficiency (TOWRE-2)
  • A test to assess the child's writing abilities such as the Test of Written Language (TOWL)
  • Listening Comprehension and Oral Expression (OWLS-II)
  • Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (TONI-4)

Additional testing may be required during or after admission for purposes such as class placement or updating of records.

Local Dyslexia Testing Options Include:

Greengate School Services
Greengate School Services, based at Greengate School at Randolph, provides onsite testing for dyslexia for anyone in the community who needs it  and is not limited to students applying to Greengate School at Randolph. Our diagnostician  Donna Caldwell, M.A. SLD/CSP  conducts the evaluations on our school campus. We also have a partnership with Dr. Halina Hale. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.  

Scottish Rite Foundation of Alabama
Diagnostic assistance for children with dyslexia or other speech, language, or learning difficulties at no cost to families and schools. Waiting lists may be long. Please note, additional testing may be required for Greengate admission purposes. Contact details here.

Greengate is offering FREE dyslexia screenings for Pre-K and Kindergarten students on March 15 & 29, 2019. Screening appointments are available daily, 8:30 AM.-4:00 PM, are scheduled on a first-come/first-served basis on the half hour, and will last 20-25 minutes. Call 256-799-6192. If you cannot make either day or if the 30 free slots have been filled, screenings will be offered throughout the spring for a reduced rate of $50. For students 1st grade and older, ask about our Dyslexia Battery. Screenings will take place at Greengate School at Randolph, 1005 Drake Avenue SE Huntsville, AL 35802.

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Topics: dyslexia, preschool, reading, learning differences, kindergarten readiness, early intervention

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