While teaching kindergarten, I have noticed that many parents are concerned about learning disabilities. I feel that we, as parents, are so anxious for our children to learn and excel that we sometimes end up putting the “cart before the horse”. While it is true that early intervention is best, we must also remember that in the early ages of 3, 4, and 5 sometimes all a child needs is time to grow and blossom.
Some actions, that later in life can be signs of a learning disorder, are developmental. One such action that I hear a lot of concerns about is letter reversing and dyslexia. Most kindergartners reverse letters to some extent. At this age perception skills are not strong enough to distinguish a great difference between b, d, p, and q. Often x and k are also confused. During the early kindergarten months, even letters and numbers are mistaken for one another. For example, 5, 2,and S; 3 and E; 8 and B all have similar characteristics. Year after year I have parents who want their child tested for dyslexia. It seems to be a quick cure all. However by the end of the year most children have mastered writing letters and are well on the road to reading.
Before becoming too alarmed about learning disorders such as dyslexia, first make sure that you are expecting age-appropriate skills from your child. If you notice behaviors that could be signs of a learning disability, notify the teacher and keep close track of your child’s progress. Many tests for learning disabilities are not given until a child reaches the age of eight. This allows time for development and growth. True alarms to learning disabilities such as dyslexia should come if a child has not made progress and is still showing signs after the age of 7 or 8.