Randolph School

Is It Dyslexia? How Do I Know? What’s Next?

Is It Dyslexia? How Do I Know? What’s Next?

By Dr. Debbie Hargett, Head of Greengate School at Randolph

Dyslexia or similar language and spelling difficulties affect 15-20% of the population, and there is a familial component. A close relative with dyslexia is a risk factor. You may think that these difficulties won't be evident until a child starts to read, but there are many early signs that parents and teachers can look for in preschool children. 

If you think your child might have dyslexia, testing should be your next step. Early intervention is critical to a child's academic success and well-being. All children benefit from the direct and explicit nature of the Orton-Gillingham approach, but it is essential for children with dyslexia.  

Early signs of dyslexia in preschool: 

  • May have difficulty with rhyming 
  • May have trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, and days of the week 
  • May struggle to understand questions or directions 
  • Often has difficulty separating sounds in words and blending sounds to make words 

Early signs of dyslexia in elementary school: 

  • Letter or number reversals continuing past the 1st grade 
  • May be slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds 
  • Slow, choppy, inaccurate reading 
  • Avoids reading  
  • Difficulty with spelling 
  • Often can’t remember common irregular words (they, were, does) 
  • Dreads going to school, complains of stomach aches or headaches 

Maintaining your child's self-esteem is critical. If you suspect your child is struggling, he or she should be tested as soon as possible. 

While Greengate's program may not be the solution for every child, testing is critical to identifying a problem, and the earlier a reading problem is identified the more readily the issue can be remediated. 

Which tests should be given? 

At Greengate School, our dyslexia battery assesses a child’s proficiency in: 

  • Fluency and comprehension 
  • Phonemic awareness, phonological memory, and rapid naming 
  • Spelling 
  • Decoding real and nonsense words 
  • Listening comprehension 
  • Nonverbal intelligence 

The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V) is required before admission or promotion to grades 2 through 8.  

Additional testing may be required during or after admission.  

Local Dyslexia Testing Options Include: 

Greengate Services 

Greengate Services, based at Greengate School at Randolph, provides onsite testing, and is not limited to students applying to Greengate School at Randolph. Our diagnostician Donna Caldwell, M.A. SLD/CSP conducts the evaluations on our school campus. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.   

Scottish Rite Foundation of Alabama 

Diagnostic assistance for children with dyslexia or other speech, language, or learning difficulties at no cost to families and schools. Waiting lists may be long. Please note, additional testing may be required for Greengate admission. For more information about Greengate School at Randolph, please email the Admission Officeschedule a campus tour, or call 256-799-6192.

About the Author

Debbie Hargett Headshot

Dr. Debbie Hargett is the Head of Greengate School at Randolph. She oversees the instructional program, accredited by the Orton Gillingham Academy, for students in grades 1-8. She is also responsible for directing Greengate Services, an outreach program that provides dyslexia testing, teacher training in the Orton Gillingham approach, the Greengate summer reading program, and Orton Gillingham tutoring.

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