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Child and Adolescent Counseling Blog for Lisa Klipfel, MFT
Dyslexia can be identified before kindergarten

Dyslexia is a learning disability that is neurological in nature effecting the phonologic process, the ability to translate the written word when reading and writing. Dyslexia runs in families and can be identified even before kindergarten, although this rarely happens.

Most people associate dyslexia with mixing up b,p,d,q in writing, but it is a much more complicated and insidious language issue. Although dyslexia shows it's self mostly in reading and writing, there are some dyslexics (but not all) who have a specific speech difficulty. The symptom that I want to share with you today is that of mixing up syllables when talking. This is seen when a child says, "aminal" instead of "animal".  It is very cute when they are in preschool. Many children mix up syllables in this way, but most are able to correct themselves. Those who are unable to correct their syllables are sharing a big red flag for dyslexia. Additionally, the child insists that they have said the word correctly.

This last weekend was one of the largest watched TV shows, the Oscars 2014. Actor John Travolta misread the teleprompter when introducing the singer, Indina Menzel. There has been speculation that Travolta has dyslexia. Actor Whoopi Goldberg who identifies herself as dyslexic, comments on Travolta's mishap stating that she has practiced names, attempted to memorize names and there were some she just can't get the name correct despite countless tries. Her example shares how she mixes up the syllables of the person's name, just as Travolta did at the Oscars.

I mention this misread, because it is the exact phenomena that can be heard with young pre-kindergarten children. They mix up the syllables in a word, "ocifer" instead of "officer". If as a society we take this public mockery of Travolta as a lesson to teach our preschool teachers, our kindergarten teachers, and our parents the early indicators of dyslexia, then perhaps Travolta has provided us with a great public service announcement.

We could really help so many more children if key people were provided with information, looked for red flags and took action when they were alerted to those flags.

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