Could It Be Dyslexia?

It’s backward-ness and wrong-order-ness that I’m worried about with Natalie.
ADHD Parenting Blog |
Parenting ADHD Children blogger Kay Marner is mother to an ADHD daughter in Ames, Iowa

My daughter, Natalie, has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and since her diagnosis several years ago, I’ve learned quite a bit about the condition. Now, I think it’s time to focus my attention on learning more about learning disabilities.

Natalie was quite delayed in both her physical and mental development when we adopted her from Russia six years ago. Her potential for learning was a big unknown. From the beginning, what we saw of her ability to learn was heartening, nearly miraculous. With enough to eat and a little (well, a whole lot of) love and attention, her learning took off like a rocket. Still, we knew it would take several years of school to sort out how much Natalie needed to catch up, before we could assess her ability to keep up.

Six years later, it’s still a bit of a mystery. We know Natalie has ADHD, and while ADHD is not a learning disability, its symptoms, such as lack of focus, can impact her ability to learn. We know she has Sensory Processing Disorder, and the results of Natalie’s SIPT testing gave me a little insight into how this added burden effects specific learning-related abilities, although that complex information hasn’t synthesized in my mind well enough that I can explain it! (Yeah, what she said!)

Nat will turn 9 on Sunday, and she’ll enter 3rd grade in the fall. And, I’m wondering if she’s dyslexic. I wonder if she’s at the right age, and has done enough of the work of catching up over the last six years, to separate this one specific issue out of the mystery-mix that is the one-and-only Natalie.

I read that it’s a myth that seeing letters or numbers in the wrong order, or writing them backwards, are signs of dyslexia. That some of that is normal up until a certain age, and that while some people with dyslexia do transpose numbers or letters, dyslexia involves much more than that--it describes a more general, more all-encompassing difficulty reading. Is that true? I don’t know! But it’s backward-ness and wrong-order-ness that I’m worried about with Natalie.

Here’s a somewhat comical example:

Natalie wrote “BM” in large capital letters on June 28 on our calendar. Why? Is she planning, I won’t go there. It turns out “BM” stands for "My Birthday." Of course. Isn’t that obvious?

So, there’s that. Then a day or two later she and are playing with a magnetic calendar, and she’s putting the days in the squares one at a time. She gets to the number 12, and stops. She shows me both the number 12 and the number 21, and asks, “Mom, which one is 12?” She honestly couldn’t figure it out.

Our pediatrician mentioned sending us to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for a developmental evaluation. Looks like it’s time to follow through. And it looks like I’ll be looking for some good, easy to read and understand resources about learning disabilities.

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