“What are the verbal dyslexia symptoms?” asked Sherry, a worried and concerned mom. Her daughter, Jenna, was in kindergarten and her teacher told her mom that she thought Jenna was going to need special reading instruction in first grade because she had verbal dyslexia.
I explained to her, as I explain to all parents who want to know what they can do if someone has told them that their child exhibits verbal dyslexia symptoms, this is not a reading disorder. In fact, it’s not even a documented disorder.
The proponents of verbal dyslexia describe children with problems that involve language and communication. It is referred to as aphasia in the DSM-4, the resource for learning disorders.
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Aphasia is associated with speech and language. It is difficult to understand what these children are saying. In addition, it’s difficult for these children to produce speech and retrieve sounds. These children need the services of speech and language specialists. Eventually, when these children begin to read and write, they may also have difficulty. At that time they may be diagnosed with dyslexia, because these children will likely have difficulty applying a sound to an image. At that point her daughter may need special reading instruction.
In the meantime, if she did have aphasia, or verbal dyslexia, as the teacher referred to it, she would need to see a speech and language specialist. In fact, speech and language services are given to these children as young as possible. But it’s never too late to start remediation.
If you’re concerned that your child has a speech and language disorder, call us. We can help you understand what you’ll need to talk to your child’s teacher, the school psychologist, the nurse, and your pediatrician about. We can also provide to you resources to help you understand what’s in store.
In fact, if your child is two, three or four, we can tell you who to contact at your local school district. Your child is probably eligible for a free evaluation and remediation before even starting school.