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Recognizing the early signs of a learning disability

Sometimes the signs of a learning disability like dyslexia are easy to spot, and sometimes they’re not. According to a recent study conducted by Dyslexia Canada, only 30 per cent of Canadians think they would be able to identify any problems.  

From a child struggling with reading, to one who can’t finish writing their first short story, being aware of the signs can lead to improvement. Here are key markers to watch out for:

Early Signs. Although not always evidence of a learning disability, there are a few early signs that parents can watch out for in preschool and kindergarten.  Difficulties rhyming, learning and remembering letter names and their sounds, difficulty sounding out simple words like “cat” and “nap” may be indicators of dyslexia. 

Know your History. One of the biggest red flags used to identify children who may struggle with a learning disability is if there is a family history. Parents, siblings, or grandparents may have thought they were poor readers when in actuality they have a learning disability. “Where a parent or sibling has struggled with dyslexia, there is a 40-50 per cent chance that that child will as well,” says Christine Staley, executive director of Dyslexia Canada.

Hiding out/Acting up. In a classroom, there are always children who are naturally confident and outspoken and those who aren’t. This isn’t always due to personality. Some kids are quiet because they don’t want to embarrass themselves. For most children with learning disabilities, reading aloud in front of the whole class or writing out answers on the blackboard are their worst nightmares.  To conceal difficulties, children may sit back in class to avoid being called on or even intentionally act out to divert attention.

Staley says that while all children learn at their own pace, parents should pay particular attention if they see more than one of the above signs or if school struggles begin to impact a child’s self-esteem. Make yourself aware and available to provide the support needed to succeed. Take the test to find out if your child could have dyslexia at

Courtesy of News Canada

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