Does my 2nd grader have dyslexia?

Most cases of dyslexia are diagnosed in elementary school, and second grade is prime time for an official diagnosis.   Dyslexia is a learning disorder which affects the brain’s ability to turn letters, or phonemes, into sounds.  It’s actually not at all uncommon, and you’ll find dyslexics in all walks of life, from doctors and lawyers to teachers and scientists.  Dyslexics must make some accommodations and learn to read using a different part of their brain, but they can definitely learn to read.

The earlier dyslexia is diagnosed, the easier it is for a child to accommodate for.   Some signs of dyslexia include trouble with reading and writing, reading slower than one’s peers, and difficulty with rhyming words too.   Though kids can compensate to a degree, these signs are often apparent to the trained eye by 2nd grade.  Dyslexia often occurs with one or more other learning disabilities, with dysgraphia (difficulty with handwriting) being one of the more common.  Some kids may also have learning difficulties with math, or in some other developmental area.

The resources, books, and websites available to help kids with dyslexia, and their parents, are too numerous to list.  A quick scan of your library’s card catalog, or a quick web search, will turn up lots of valuable information for you if you suspect your child may have dyslexia.

working with your local public school

It seems everyone has a different opinion on the value of their local public school to their family’s homeschooling efforts.   Folks who’ve had bad experiences with public schools are far less likely to look into extracurricular activities there for their kids, for example.  Parents who’ve never dealt with the public schools may not have a knowledge base of how these schools function.  But in either case, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on your local public school system.

Some school districts will allow homeschoolers to receive services like speech therapy or occupational therapy at their schools, for example, and others will only provide evaulations for these services, but not the services themselves.  Some districts allow homeschoolers to participate in afterschool sports or clubs, and others won’t.  It can’t hurt to ask, and to know their policies.

In some parts of the country, homeschoolers can attend public school part time, or enroll in just certain classes.  Maybe you’d like to cover the core curricula at home but have your child take an art or foreign language course at the school.  Private schools will also sometimes offer these types of things to homeschoolers, so don’t overlook their resources.