Reading and Learning Disorders: Catch Them Before They Fall
It is currently estimated that 1 in 4 children have difficulty with reading and comprehension. These students struggle both in and out of the school setting. Not only do impaired reading skills impact someone’s ability to learn but can also be the source of significant stress for young children leading to mental health concerns and social difficulties. Further, when untreated, poor reading skills that are not remediated have been associated with negative long-term effects including dropping out of school, unemployment, and criminal activity.
Reading involves several complex parts including letter-sounds awareness (the ability associate sounds with letters), phonemic awareness (the ability to hear and manipulate sounds and letters into words), decoding (using sounds that correspond to letters and words), fluency (automatic reading), and comprehension (understanding meaning). Children may present with mild difficulties in one of these areas, or they may present with a more significant reading disorder that effects abilities across these areas such as dyslexia.
Children’s reading abilities should be routinely screened or assessed in order to ensure that they are making expected gains with each academic year. When reading is not routinely assessed, children can fall significantly behind their peers, making it difficult to catch up. Fortunately, research shows that with appropriate support, children can make expected gains. One recent study showed that with just an additional six to ten minutes per day focused on reading skills, children went from struggling readers to those who met determined benchmarks.
If you think your child may be a struggle reader, contact their school as soon as you have concerns! If the school is unable to assess your child’s needs, they may refer you to a reading specialist, educational psychologist, or neuropsychologist that specializes in learning disorders. Early identification is the key to getting children the support they need to ensure optimal outcomes.