Recognising The Signs Of Dyslexia In Children

Dyslexia Assessment Melbourne | Raise the Bar Heatherton


Do you suspect that your child may have dyslexia? Knowing the possible signs of dyslexia in children can assist with providing them with the necessary support and resources needed to promote their academic success and general well-being.

Dyslexia is a common learning disability that affects a person’s ability to read, write, and spell. It can be challenging to identify dyslexia in children, as the signs may be subtle and easily overlooked. However, early detection and intervention are key to helping children with dyslexia overcome their challenges and reach their full potential.

By being aware of the signs of dyslexia and seeking appropriate support, parents and educators can help children with dyslexia thrive and succeed in school and beyond.


What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a substantial difficulty in reading and spelling words. Children with dyslexia struggle with reading and spelling despite having had ample opportunity to learn. 

Dyslexia is a type of learning disorder, which is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects the brain’s ability to perceive or process verbal or nonverbal information efficiently and accurately. It’s also known as a specific learning disorder.

Dyslexia is not a symptom of a lack of intelligence. People with dyslexia are equally as intelligent as most others their age, but their brains interpret language differently. Difficulties with reading and spelling as a result of dyslexia are typically caused by difficulties processing speech (phonological processing). 

While dyslexia is a lifelong condition, it can be effectively managed through tailored interventions, accommodations, and support with evidence-based instruction and explicit teaching practices being central to supporting the development of reading and spelling skills. 


Common signs of dyslexia in children

It’s important to catch dyslexia early so that children can get the help they need to succeed in school. Here are some possible signs of dyslexia in children:

1. Pre-school

  • Late talking.
  • Difficulty learning new words.
  • Problems forming words correctly, such as reversing sounds in words or confusing words that sound alike.
  • Problems remembering or naming letters, numbers, and colours.
  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes.
  • Difficulty following directions.


2. School-age

  • Problems with reading fluency (reading slowly and mechanically).
  • Difficulty sounding out new words (decoding).
  • Poor spelling.
  • Trouble understanding what they have read.
  • Difficulty following written instructions.
  • Mixing up similar-looking letters when reading and spelling (b/d, p/q).
  • Leaving out words when reading or writing.
  • Adding extra words when reading or writing.
  • Having trouble with rhyming.
  • Disliking reading and/or reading aloud.


3. Older children and adults

  • Reading slowly
  • Difficulty with written expression.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Trouble taking notes.
  • Difficulty learning a foreign language.

It’s important to note that not all children with dyslexia will have all of these signs.

Dyslexia Assessment Melbourne | Raise the Bar Heatherton

Diagnosing dyslexia in children

Early diagnosis of dyslexia is beneficial for students. Early detection can mean that they receive the support and intervention needed to make their difficulties with reading and spelling less severe long-term than they otherwise would be.

If you have a family history of reading challenges or are concerned that your child is struggling in school, particularly with reading and spelling words, you can consider taking the following steps.


1. Talk to your child’s teacher

The first step is to chat with your child’s teacher. You can enquire about how your child is progressing in reading and spelling. You can review your child’s school assessments with the teacher and enquire as to what additional support is or can be provided.

It may also be beneficial to discuss your child’s overall performance at school and their feelings about school.


2. Request a formal assessment

If you are still concerned after speaking with your child’s teacher, enquire as to whether the school can arrange a formal assessment.

A speech pathologist or psychologist may be consulted at this time. They’ll help you determine the causes of your child’s learning challenges.

If there is a long delay in receiving an assessment, or if the assessment does not appear to be available via your school, you can make an appointment to see a speech pathologist or psychologist privately.

A comprehensive evaluation by a psychologist is essential before your child can receive a clear diagnosis of dyslexia. The primary component of this will be an educational assessment. It may also include questions about your child’s family history and the literacy environment at home.

The psychological assessment may include testing a variety of aspects, including:

  • Intellectual ability
  • Memory 
  • Language skills
  • Literacy skills
  • Phonological processing


Interventions for children with dyslexia

Getting assistance and initiating intervention can help dyslexic children improve their reading and spelling abilities.

Most important for students experiencing difficulties with reading and spelling is that they are taught using a structured synthetic phonics approach. Actually, research tells us that all students benefit from phonics instruction, regardless of whether they are experiencing learning difficulties or not.

Additional supports that your child may benefit from include:

  • Extra teaching of reading and spelling in small groups or 1-1 support at school.
  • Private tutoring using a structured synthetic phonics approach.
  • Extra time to complete tests if they require reading or spelling.
  • Spell-checkers, text readers, word prediction, and voice recognition are all examples of specialist computer software that can assist with accommodating for the specific challenges with reading and spelling that students with dyslexia experience.

Dyslexia Assessment Melbourne | Raise the Bar Heatherton

Final thoughts

Recognising the signs of dyslexia in children can allow for the provision of early intervention and support.

By being aware of the signs and seeking help from psychologists, parents and teachers can help children with dyslexia thrive and succeed.

Remember, dyslexia is not a barrier to achievement, it’s just a different way of learning. With the right support, children with dyslexia can reach their full potential.



Book an appointment with one of our experienced psychologists today to discuss your needs and whether our dyslexia assessment services are appropriate for you and your child.