How to tell if my child has dyslexia, Top 10 Parents Stories

As a parent, nothing matters more than seeing our kids grow and succeed. We watch them with excitement as they explore the world, soaking up new things and skills with an endless curiosity. But sometimes, along this learning trip, we may notice signs that our child's path isn't as easy as others.

If you're a parent who has wondered if your child might have dyslexia, you're not alone. This learning difference affects an estimated 10-15% of people, and its impact on reading, writing, and spelling can worry many families. Spotting the signs of dyslexia early on is important, as it can open doors to the right support and help that can make a big difference in your child's learning journey.

Why and when did you think your child was dyslexic?

We asked this question and here are the responses from real parents/carers of dyslexic children in U.K and USA.

  1. When she was 2, started writing her name and I have to put it in-front of the mirror for me to read it. When she was 3, I kept on teaching but she said, "I don't understand it, it's moving." Then, the doctor confirmed it.
  2. School year 5. From reading and research when he wasn't meeting the expected standard in school for the core subjects. His handwriting rarely improvement despite home tutors and explore learning.
  3. Son - School mentioned it from thr age of 5 but as no-one outside school would help with diagnosis we had to wait until 7yr old and pay private for a assessment. Daughter was end of Yr 7 I noticed she was struggling with reading assessments so decided it was worth paying private for a assessment.
  4. He didn’t seem to understand instructions. Couldn’t distinguish phonemes at age 5, did it in a very strange way. ie: what does “snake” start with? “snay-k”. Always seemed to be with his head in the clouds. I couldn’t find a way to explain things to him.
  5. End of year one age 6 just couldn't get phonics and reading was difficult, it felt different to me eldest daughter who also struggled with phonics.
  6. In Year 1 of school she struggled with phonics and writing but the school said no they didn't think she was was. She is now 9 and the school have paid for the assessment and it has come back that she is.
  7. Nursery - refused to take part in any mark making activities. Most children come home with paint pictures and he didn’t. He had no interest in trying to write or learn the letters of his name.
  8. End of reception, my son was really struggling to learn key words that my daughter the year before had already done. When I flagged it I got fobbed of with 'he is a summer baby, he is fine' then had covid then he finally had a teacher again who taught him a few years prior and she flagged she hadn't seen the progression she was expecting and referred him!
  9. year 1 when wasn't retaining phonics learnt and struggled to read. my child just wasn't progressing same as everyone else and it was at odds with how clever I knew she was. struggled with sequences like days of week, months of year, telling the time, number bonds, times tables, counting backwards. she is dyscalculic too.
  10. He couldn’t remember the sounds a letter was supposed to make, and couldn’t quickly name many of the letters, towards the end of 1st grade (so he was 7).
  11. End of year 5 tests talking about the tests each day and him telling me his low sores on the last day something just clicked and I picked up my phone and googled dyslexia in children. I was told by his assessor that his primary school had to of known but chose to ignore as it was so severe.
  12. I knew chances where high as I am and my mum. But I saw signs from 5/6 but again this didn't mean she was. I kept working with her and the school did aswell and as years went on she improved in maths but English was a slower rate. I think early intervention helped her to over come some bits.
  13. Preschool. Everyday he could not find his name tag for attendance... for two years! Very bright but letters made no sense to him. I eventually found out what it was in 4th GRADE. He got OG tutoring, graduated from art school and works for a Harvard professor. Keep your momma bear instincts SHARP.
  14. My daughter couldn’t remember letter names and any sequences (days of week, months of year, phone number). Her level of frustration in pre school was so much higher than her peers. She did everything so much slower than her peers. I think it was more of a gut feeling than something concrete.

Part 2

  1. Around 2. She struggled with her speech. Couldn’t learn sequencing like counting, alphabet and nursery rhythms. But she was really clever and found other ways to do describe/ communicate. Didn’t get a formal diagnosis until. 8yr. Now pursuing ADHD or Autism diagnosis also.
  2. When he asked me how I can read my books when all the letters are moving around.
  3. Honestly I didnt recognize it until his 1st grade teacher brought it up. Instantly I thought no and then all the signs popped into my mind. Couldn't recall sight words with consistency, even with just focusing on a few at a time. Would show a slight growth in reading in kinder only to drop reading levels again. Couldn't retain letter sound knowledge nor use it in his writing. I've also wondered if him never being interested in books as a toddler and prek was a sign too. My older son loved looking at books and even having me read to him while he looked at the pages. However my younger son never showed any interest. Maybe that's just his personality but I've wondered if that was an early sign of his dyslexia.
  1. Okay. I am the child but you want to hear the story. It is my favourite me being dyslexic story and it's funny. I know a lot of them aren't going to be funny. You need this. When I was in the first grade it was the early 1980s and I had a first year teacher. To this day my mom says I was a terrible thing to do to a first year teacher and a first year teacher was a very terrible thing to do to me. But at the time we didn't know. I was a little kid with a college level of vocabulary and my parents had every reason to think that I was going to be one of those gifted kids. That's not what happened. We read in class every day in our first readers but I couldn't read the first reader. I barely recognize the letters and I had to sound out the word the. So as often as possible I avoided reading a class. What I did was I listen to every word that was said and memorize it so that when I got home I could "read" to my parents. I memorized the words and associated them with the pictures on the pages because let's face it there weren't a lot of pictures on each page. So I had all the stories in my first reader memorized but my teacher kept sending notes home with my mom saying that I didn't participate in reading and I couldn't read. This didn't drive with what she was seeing at home because I read to her every night. Finally, my mom added two and two together and that night asked me to read to her but she was going to hold the book. I decided the story she picked I told her when to turn the page and I read her the story without the book. I was so proud of myself that I was showing her how good I was at reading that I didn't even need the book. I was seven what do you want from me. The teacher meanwhile is trying to push to get me held back because I was illiterate. I knew the alphabet, and I could recognize the letters. I even knew what some of the sounds were. But I couldn't identify them in words. So her understanding of me was that I just wasn't that bright. She had never talked with me. My mom went to the school and ask for me to be tested but the teacher had already passed on that she didn't believe I was appropriate to move on to the second grade because I just wasn't smart enough. They refused. And this is where it becomes really convenient to have teachers for parents because my mom was friends with a psychometrist. That's luck. She got me scheduled for a test with my school district to be identified with whatever might be going on with me and I broke the chart. As I said I had a college level vocabulary. I knew the scientific names of all the animals and I could define the different eras of evolution. But I couldn't tell Kat from dog. So I had the worst reading skills I couldn't read a graph I understood storytelling and when they did the thing where they put the pictures and asked me to put them in order I made up my own story because that was more fun. Needless to say I am every kind of dyslexic thing that could exist but because it was the 80s there was only dyslexia. Dyspraxia and dyscalculia didn't exist. They just weren't diagnoses. But I was very obviously also adhd. And that had something to do with the way I put the stories together. But needless to say I broke the charts. The lady who tested me had never seen somebody score so high and so low at the same time. And to this day I'm pretty sure I am a case study that's taught in schools. I was almost tempted to go into psychometry just to see if I could identify which one was me.
  1. I still get a little giggle about me standing there very proudly reciting my textbook to my mom and believing that I was convincing her of exactly how good of a reader I was.
  2. I always knew something was “off” with my daughter. In kindergarten (5 years old/during the beginning of COVID) I had a suspicion she may be dyslexic because in my mom heart I knew she was so bright, but her struggle to read and write didn’t make sense to me. I kept on being told that every kid is struggling. Fast forward 3 years later with lots of interventions with little progress we had a psych evaluation which confirmed my Dyslexia/ADHD suspicions. Since being diagnosed and being taught in a manner that fits her mind, she is thriving.
  3. I am the dyslexic. I have a different story. Mine wasn’t diagnosed untill I was 50. I was 3yr old in 1955. Nursery teachers were amazed that I could read my favourite Cinderella book word for word perfect from beginning to end. Untill mum explained I had memorises it ! It was also noticed I was clumsy!!Always falling over.

Part 3

  1. My daughter was struggling learning to read. She consistently flipped numbers in math. After much frustration it dawned on me that she could have the Dyslexic gene that runs in my side of the family. My brother has it and I believe my Uncle did too. My Uncle was a baby boomer. When he struggled in school, they put him in Special Ed. Thank goodness they can pinpoint these concerns for parents and kids now.
  2. When he was 2 his Teacher said he didn't know his colours...He did he just called them different names. He loved transformers so red was heatwave, yellow was bumble bee etc. I knew he was so smart figuring out a way to learn his colors
  3. In first grade when spelling words and reading became a struggle. I suspected it but the teacher didn’t agree. We tried other interventions because that’s what she wanted. More ADHD attention things. That didn’t work obviously. Het got tested but the scores of several outcomes were added up so we didn’t see the huge difference in some test results. We weren’t told this so we struggles on. But in my belly I knew it was dyslexia. I researched and called people (before a lot of internet) and luckily the second grade teacher did recognize his struggles. He got tested privately first and later at school again. Sure enough dyslexia. It’s been a hard fight to get him services and accommodations but worth it. Lesson. A mother’s gut is always right.
  4. Dyslexia isn’t visible but can be hard for adults and children’s brain, I found out I was dyslexic a year ago. And it painted the picture all different colours to why I was rejected in interviews jobs and more. But the right training was handed to me and I’m doing well now I was 22 when I knew I was dyslexic. I couldn’t focus on systems and found it hard to calculate
  5. 5/6 years old. He could not understand rhyming and could not sound out simple words. I had him tested privately, and then through the school system in the same didstrict as his private school. His private school wanted accomodation suggestions and testing results, but they offer no accommodations.
  6. I knew when my daughter was 3. My mother is dyslexic as well as three of my cousins. I’m an Orton-Gillingham trainer and school administrator who focuses on building systems based in the science of reading so that every child gets what they need. My daughter struggled with phoneme grapheme relationships, directionality, and more complex phonological awareness tasks. Because she started Og work at 3, there was never a large enough discrepancy to classify. She’s now 9, just won a national NASA essay writing competition, and wants to be an aerospace engineer. While she can read on grade level, she does get overwhelmed with long pieces of text and prefers graphic novels. Her spelling is also tricky if it’s a concept beyond what she’s covered in OG lessons.
  7. Age 4 wrote and spelt completely mirrored. Got very upset doing homework, didn’t seem to retain knowledge from school to execute at home.
  8. Age 7 when a school teacher just happened to mention at the end of the year that another child had been reading the tests to my child all year. Still wondering why I didn’t know after the first semester.
  9. Her lack of phonemic awareness was my first sign.
  10. End of reception, so about age 5. Wasn't diagnosed as dyslexic until age 10.
  11. Very early, but with being dyslexic myself I was aware and so was my mum, who used to say she was very much like me.
  12. She loved having stories read to her, but trying to get her to read anything back (unless she had memorised it) was impossible, but her vocabulary was amazing! Then when she started school other traits have shown more and we have just had her formally diagnosed last month, she is now in Year 4.
  13. Nursery, I questioned reception, I knew. I was diagnosed as dyslexic at secondary school, even though at primary school, my mum was convinced. I think you’ll look out for the signs a lot more, knowing what you’re looking out for. My son is a carbon copy with a lot of his dyslexic traits. We constantly refer to it in our household as a gift.
  14. When my 2 middle ones were 4 I just knew as its in the family they were in an amazing private nursery so basically had one to one teaching, but certain things they did with letters and reading . Son would write backwards Oldest I ummed and arghd over if she was or not for years school never picked it up but college did . Youngest is 6 was not sure as she is like the oldest reading extremely well but certain things she does she writes backwards like my son and can do spellings but in a sentance make no sense . My middle daughter even though I knew she was when in year 3 we went to a pre assesment thing and they said they couldn't be sure as she met everything a what was expected and. Oped with her school work and to come back year 6 a definite yes.
  15. My daughter isn’t diagnosed but I have suspected that she is ever since she hid under the dining table when I asked her to spell or read her book for school (age 4.5). She is now nearly 6 and her reading is improving but spelling is still so hard for her and she reads certain words backwards no matter how many times we correct it with her. Her maths is great and she’s very funny and tells us silly wee stories and follows stories well. My mum is dyslexic which is why it’s on my radar but husband thinks I’m overthinking it. School won’t talk about it as they think she’s still too young to diagnose.
  16. My son was spelling 10x 5 letter words each week by this point and she’s only doing 6 x 2/3 letter words. Does that not speak volumes?
  17. Eldest child was suspected age 6, they said they would test age 7 and then he started to close the gap a bit so it never happened. He has just been diagnosed aged 13, kicking myself we didn't do something sooner but it was only after his little brother was diagnosed that we realised he was having issues too.
  18. Youngest suspected age 7 something was wrong with his reading/spelling, covid hit and we were fighting for adhd diagnosis so dyslexia was down the list of priorities. He got into Yr 5 and he was suddenly so far behind. Diagnosed right at the beginning of Yr 6 age 10.
  19. He was struggling with his spelling tests. I raised it with the teacher and she raised her own suspicions that it may have been dyslexia. This was in year 2 so we did a school test and then when that showed signs we did a proper assessment.
  20. I knew my daughter was dyslexic aged 4/5, phonics just wasn’t working like it had with my son. She was quick to pick up other things, early walker, very articulate, bright in all other respects, but some things were just too much of a struggle to be anything other than dyslexia. Paid for private diagnosis age 8.
  21. While we were in lockdown. She would of been about 7yrs old then (she's just turned 10 now) I could see it and when they returned to school I said to the teacher I feel she needs to be assessed for dyslexia. She was diagnosed last year and I got her EHCP though last month. She's in Yr 5 now. She's on the waiting list to be assessed for ASD. She is working about 3 yrs behind her peer.
  22. When he was 6 , just knew was different to his peers. Only diagnosed 3 weeks ago.

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