When your child is struggling to read and you’re left wondering if he/she may have dyslexia, it can be unsettling. For some parents, it can bring up feelings of what it’s like to have dyslexia themselves. For other parents, it can bring up feelings of the unknown and reminders of what they’d heard growing up.

Luckily, there have been so many advances when it comes to understanding what dyslexia is and how to teach kids who have dyslexia to read & write. Dyslexia is classified as a learning difficulty not a learning disability. Children with dyslexia can learn to read and write just as well as someone who doesn’t have dyslexia.

If you'd prefer to watch instead of read, this video is a great resource.


Dyslexia is a general term that involves difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols.

It does NOT affect general intelligence.

Dyslexia is classified as a learning difficulty not a learning disability as it does not affect intelligence.


how to help a child with dyslexia (1).mp4

In many ways, having dyslexia is pretty normal.

20% of people have dyslexia.

In a school with 5 classes in each grade, that’s 1 whole class of kids per grade level who have dyslexia!

Having dyslexia is even more common than being left-handed!


Dyslexia is genetic and hereditary. People who have family members with dyslexia have about a 50%-60% chance of having dyslexia too.

Dyslexia is NOT caused by low intelligence. In fact, Steven Spielberg, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Whoopi Goldberg, and many other highly successful people have dyslexia. People with dyslexia tend to be so successful because as children they had to work hard to get through reading. This results in them developing a strong work ethic, which leads to success in their adult.


Dyslexia is a neurobiological condition.

People who have dyslexia use their right side of their brain. People who do not have dyslexia naturally use their left side. The left side of the brain is in charge of language. This is why explicit, intensive phonics instruction is so important for individuals who have dyslexia. The instruction helps them train their brain to use the left side of the brain to read rather than the right side.


Signs of dyslexia include:

  • more slowly progressing in learning to read

  • difficulty learning letter sounds & names

  • difficulty implementing letter sounds while reading

  • difficulty implementing letter combinations when reading

  • loosing track of what’s being read while reading

  • getting tired of reading easily

  • difficulty with short vowel sounds

  • having higher than average math abilities and lower than average reading abilities

  • still reversing letters like b & d in 2nd grade – prior to 2nd grade it is still very common.

While these are common signs of dyslexia, reading is a developmental skill. It’s similar to learning to walk – it happens at everyone’s own pace. So, just because a child exhibits one of these signs it does not mean that they are dyslexic.

Formal testing can identify if the cause is truly dyslexia or not. Formal testing can be done privately or through most schools. An educational diagnostician administers the dyslexia testing.


Dyslexia is on a continuum. Some people have mild dyslexia while others have severe.

Dyslexia looks different depending on the individual. It may look like letters jumping around on the page rapidly, it may look like a child struggling to remember the short vowel sounds, or it may look like a child struggling to remember certain words they see over and over again.

While it looks different for different people, this simulation can help people without dyslexia experience what it can be like. Time yourself reading the passage with the simulation on. Then, time yourself reading the passage with the simulation off. This exercise helps people who do not have dyslexia understand why accommodations such as extended time to take tests and other tools can be helpful.


Dyslexia can be identified at any time. First Grade is an ideal year to identify dyslexia.

First Grade is ideal because then those children will be provided tools early in their academic career.

Early intervention is very powerful in helping children with dyslexia. By explicitly learning phonics skills, students rewire their brain which allows them to read with more ease.

Formal testing through schools can have a long wait time due to processing. If you think your child may have dyslexia, you can speed up the processing by requesting testing be done. Parent requests typically speed the process up by about 6 weeks. Otherwise, you have to wait for the teacher to progress monitor for 6 weeks after initial concerns are seen and then bring up the option of testing to you.

Formal testing can also be done in the private sector. Some private educational diagnosticians take insurance. Not all do; so, be sure to ask.

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