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It is important to understand that when a dyslexic person *sees* letters or words reversed or mixed up, there is usually nothing wrong with her eyes. The problem is in the way the mind interprets what the eyes see -- like an optical illusion, except this mismatch between what illusion and reality happens with ordinary print on a page.

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Q. How can you tell if a 5-year-old is dyslexic? [January 25, 1999]

We have a 5 year old granddaughter. Her preschool teacher says that she might have dyslexia, but it is too early to tell. When and where could she be tested and how soon should we be concerned?

She does show all the signs. She is finally spelling her name forward instead of backwards but she does have a problem with making d 's like q 's. She is so creative it's scary and very in tune to people and animals on a level we have not seen before. Any suggestions....?

Janet, via email.

A. It is very normal for a young children to reverse letters when learning to write. By itself, this is no cause for concern. The teacher is right that it is too early to draw conclusions; there is no way to reliably test a child that young for dyslexia.

However, you are right to look at your granddaughter's strengths as well as weaknesses. Her unusual creativity is a quality that is part of the pattern of dyslexia. More important, it gives you insight into her learning style and needs.

Even if your granddaughter is dyslexic, that does not mean that she will have problems in school or with learning to read. By learning about dyslexia now, and about the best approaches for teaching dyslexic children, you can help guide her parents to choosing the best school environment for her.

Abigail Marshall, DDAI

Q. Will my child dyslexia from me? [November 2, 1998]

I have Dyslexia. I was just wondering what is the chance that my daughter has it. She is 1 year old right now. Her dad does not have dyslexia.

Michelle, submitted via e-mail.

www.schoolofeducators.com

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