Does my child have dyslexia woman reading with girl

Does my child have dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability with a neurological origin which often runs in families. Brain imaging has shown, people who have dyslexia process sound-based information (phonological information) in a different part of their brains than non-dyslexics. As a result, it is hard for them to learn how to read and write because they have difficulty with:

  • word recognition
  • spelling
  • pronouncing words
  • identifying speech sounds, and
  • understanding how these sounds relate to letters and words (decoding)

Consequently, they have trouble understanding what they have read (reading comprehension) and don’t enjoy reading independently. This limits their vocabulary development and ability to learn. It can diminish their self-confidence because they know they are not learning at the same pace as their non-dyslexic peers. Worse, it can turn them off learning altogether.

(See: ODES Blog: The benefits of reading aloud to your child)

Early detection and intervention are key!

Educators and parents must be aware of the warning signs of dyslexia in young children and be ready to take action immediately.

(See: ODES Blog: Approaching the teacher about your child’s dyslexia)

“The biggest warning sign of all,” says Susan Barton, developer of the Barton Reading and Spelling System, “is having a close relative with dyslexia—a mother, father, brother, sister, aunt or uncle.” This is because dyslexia is known to be inherited. It’s never too early to observe and intervene as she explains in her detailed Bright Solutions for Dyslexia 45-minute video, entitled Could It be?

The signs of dyslexia vary in different age groups

Contrary to what some educators tell parents, children do not outgrow dyslexia. (See: International Dyslexia Association: What every classroom teacher needs to know about dyslexia handbook) It appears in different forms with different severities in different age groups but with targeted help a dyslexic person can learn to read and write. A preschool child with dyslexia may show signs of delayed speech, or mix up sounds and syllables in words, while a primary school-aged student may have trouble learning the alphabet, learning the sounds of letters and mispronounce syllables in words. A teenage student may present with signs of low self-esteem, be reluctant to read aloud, or have difficulty completing written assignments. (See: ODES Blog: Inspiring reading confidence in a reluctant reader )

For a full list of early warning signs and what to do if you suspect dyslexia in your student or child, visit:

The surprising gifts of dyslexia!

On the bright side, dyslexic people are very often intelligent, creative, artistic, athletic, imaginative, musical, and mechanically-minded, in addition to being good abstract thinkers with excellent people skills. To learn more about the positive attributes of dyslexia, check out this Tedx Talk, The True Gifts of a Dyslexic Mind by Dean Bragonier.

Above all, if you suspect phonological problems, investigate and get help. The earlier a dyslexic child is given effective, multi-sensory reading remediation help through programs like, The Barton Reading Spelling System used by The Open Door, the faster they will progress.

For more information about dyslexia, check out our Open Door blog posts (as mentioned in this post) and International Dyslexia Association resources:

ODES Blog: Understanding the challenges of dyslexia

ODES Blog: The benefits of reading aloud to your child

ODES Blog: Approaching the teacher about your child’s dyslexia

ODES Blog: Inspiring reading confidence in a reluctant reader

ODES Blog: What you need to know about the OHRC Right To Read Inquiry results

International Dyslexia Association of Ontario: Dyslexia and the brain factsheet

International Dyslexia Association: What every classroom teacher needs to know about dyslexia handbook

*October is Dyslexia Awareness Month. Here’s a shoutout to all the educators, parents, researchers and authors who dedicate themselves to making the world a better place for dyslexics!


Marion May is the Blog Curator and Content Writer for The Open Door blog as well as a reading and spelling tutor for The Open Door, tutoring children between the ages of seven and 10. Her blog content is “local, organic and specific” and is relevant for parents of children with dyslexia.


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