Dyslexia is defined as a learning disorder that causes individuals to have trouble processing words. It can range in severity, but those that have it usually have some difficulty reading, writing, spelling, or speaking clearly.
Although it’s classified as a learning disorder, it’s important to note that having dyslexia doesn’t mean a person is less intelligent. People with dyslexia are just as bright as others, and with the right support, signs of dyslexia can significantly lessen.
Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia
It’s estimated that 5-10% of students have some symptoms of dyslexia, but signs may go unnoticed until the child begins school. A teacher might even be the first one to notice dyslexic symptoms in your child! For grade school students, common signs include:
In some cases, signs of dyslexia may appear as early as preschool or kindergarten. Because dyslexia can affect language skills, some toddlers may not learn how to speak as quickly as other children. Other signs to look for in preschoolers include:
What to Do If Your Child Shows Signs of Dyslexia
It’s important to have testing done by a professional if you believe your child might have undiagnosed dyslexia. Either a private psychologist or your child’s school psychologist can perform an evaluation and give you an accurate diagnosis, treatment options, and other information. If your child is diagnosed with dyslexia, here are some ways you can help:
Importance of an Evaluation
If you’re hesitant to bring your young child in for an evaluation, psychologists recommend that it’s better to intervene early before your child risks failing classes or falling behind in school. Noticing signs early in childhood and having them tested has three important benefits:
For assistance with your child’s educational goals, please visit Dr. Syras Derksen today.
By: Dr. Syras Derksen
If your child has been bringing home bad test grades, or excels at some subjects while doing poorly in others, you might be at a loss for what to do. Trying to convince them to do their homework can become a daily battle, or they might refuse to let you help them at all.
If you feel helpless, you’re not alone. Millions of parents have expressed their concerns with their child’s academic performance. The good news is that there are many ways you can help, and plenty of resources are available. In some cases, you may find that there’s a medical reason that explains your child’s difficulty with learning. In any case, once you understand what is contributing to your child’s academic struggles, you will be able to better assist them in making meaningful improvements. Read on to learn more.
How You Can Help
As a parent, you’re the biggest influence on your child. It’s important that you show interest in how their day at school went, but more importantly, keep a consistent routine for your child. Make sure they eat nutritious meals, get enough sleep, and have time to play. No child will be able to focus properly in school if they’re hungry, tired, or hyper. Other ways you can help include:
If your child resists help from you or you feel like they need extra assistance, many parents look into after-school options. Depending on your child’s difficulties or needs, there are a few different options for after-school support:
Signs of Learning Disabilities
It’s estimated that about 30% of school-age children struggle on some level with reading or learning, and 7% of these students become diagnosed with learning disabilities. They can be difficult to notice because children might try to hide how much they struggle. However, some common signs of learning disabilities include:
If you suspect your child might have a learning disability, talk to your child’s doctor or psychologist. Only a professional can accurately diagnose your child, and they can refer you to resources that can help your child succeed.
Schedule Vision and Hearing Checks
Sometimes, a child’s difficulties in school can be directly caused by difficulty seeing the classroom board or hearing their teacher’s instructions. Auditory and vision problems can arise at any point in a person’s life, and children should get regular screenings from a pediatrician. Your child might simply need glasses in order to do better academically!
However, although some kinds of hearing problems are found when a child is a newborn, hearing loss can occur later in life due to exposure to loud noises, trauma, infections, or medications. 15 out of 1,000 children under age 18 have some degree of hearing loss, according to nurse Sue Griffard. If your child is found to have hearing problems, there are numerous ways to help them, such as cochlear implants, certain procedures or therapies, and training in sign language or lip reading.
If your child is frequently upset or discouraged by his experiences in school, therapists are available to help them manage feelings, gain confidence, and develop healthy coping skills. Reach out to our experts at Oakville Wellness Center for more information and further assistance.
By: Dr. Syras Derksen
Fine motor skills involve coordinating the eyes with small movements and muscles. Many of the most common daily activities, such as holding a toothbrush or using a spoon, require good fine motor skills. Young toddlers often struggle with fine motor skills at first but quickly improve with encouragement and practice.
Typical Development of Fine Motor Skills
Children go through many rapid changes and developments during the first several years of their life, and each child will develop at their own pace. If your child is healthy and meeting other developmental milestones, there’s probably no reason to worry if they can’t get the hang of certain tasks as quickly as other children. To make sure your child is on track with their development, some of the basic fine motor skills a child should have by the time they turn 3 include:
Signs of Fine Motor Skill Difficulties
It can take some time for children to learn all the different types of skills we usually take for granted, and some tasks can be harder to grasp than others. But if your child seems to be struggling with several different types of activities involving fine motor skills, it might be a sign of developmental coordination disorder, also known as dyspraxia. Signs of motor skill difficulties might not appear until your child is in preschool or kindergarten because these troubles often become more apparent in the classroom. Your child may struggle with activities such as:
Ongoing trouble with fine motor skills can lead to bigger problems as your child grows up. If your child is unable to write legibly or struggles to complete homework assignments because writing is too challenging for them, this may cause their grades and self esteem to suffer. They might compare themselves to their classmates and wonder why they’re not able to do the same activities as well. Therefore, it’s crucial to schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor if you suspect they might have a developmental coordination disorder. The doctor can give your child an accurate diagnosis, and will likely recommend occupational therapy or other resources to help your child succeed.
Treatments for Improving Fine Motor Skills
If your child receives a diagnosis of dyspraxia, rest assured that there are many treatment options for your child. Although there is no cure for this particular disorder, early intervention and treatment can help lessen your child’s difficulties with everyday tasks and improve their confidence. Some of these treatment options include:
Fun Ways to Develop Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills at Home
You should always encourage your child to do things involving fine motor skills on their own, but step in to help if your child becomes fatigued or overly frustrated. To make practicing their motor skills fun, you can do a variety of different activities at home with your child. Here are just a few fun ideas for you to consider:
For more guidance, visit Oakville Wellness Center or Dr. Syras Derksen.
By: Dr. Syras Derksen
It can feel like a daily battle when your child doesn’t listen to you or flat-out refuses to obey your requests. Even the sweetest and most well-behaved children can behave defiantly and push you to the limits of your patience. In order to keep peace at home, help your child be successful at school, and keep yourself sane, you first need to take care of yourself.
How to Stay Calm Amidst Defiant Behavior
When your child is screaming at you, staying calm can be a huge challenge. You might be tempted to start yelling as well, but clinical director Emily McNeil says that more yelling will do nothing but escalate the situation. McNeil says, "It's neurobiologically impossible for a child to be more regulated than his parent.” She offers a few tips for parents to keep their cool when handling hot-headed children:
Steps for Managing Defiant Behavior
Once you feel calm and collected, then you can start to effectively managing your child’s behavior and disciplining them appropriately. Many parents feel at a loss when it comes to disciplining their defiant child because they might simply ignore the parent’s instructions. To regain control of your child, school psychologist Rachel Wise shares some of her best advice that she’s utilized during her 18 years of work:
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Occasional defiant behavior is to be expected when raising children. However, if your child has been having defiant behavior for months and they are easily annoyed, hostile, or argumentative, they might have a disorder known as oppositional defiant disorder, or ODD.
ODD is described as a constant pattern of “defiance, negativity, and hostility” that lasts for at least 6 months. Some signs of this disorder include frequent outbursts, excessive arguing, refusing to follow rules, and lying. If you believe your child could have ODD, talk with your child’s doctor to explore treatment options such as family therapy or parent management training.
By: Dr. Syras Derksen