What should you do now?
Schedule a meeting with the school. Sally Shaywitz, M.D., Co-Director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, urges parents to schedule a meeting with their child's teacher without delay. In her book, Overcoming Dyslexia, the occurrence of a number of problems over a period of time, a persistent pattern, represents a likelihood of dyslexia.
Don't fall victim to wishful thinking. Shaywitz warns, "It is wishful thinking to believe there will be a sudden, magical improvement." Schools and parents often want to take a "wait and see" approach. (Why don't we wait until after the holidays? Let's see how she's doing at the end of the year.) "Remember," says Shaywitz, "scientific data show that reading problems are persistent: they do not represent a lag in development."
Make a written list of your observations and concerns. Shaywitz advises writing down the concerns, as a help for both parent and teacher. "Parents are often so nervous when speaking to their child's teacher, that they forget why they were worried." A list, Shaywitz says, will help both the parent and be appreciated by the teacher. Along with that list, Shaywitz offers a meeting checklist that parents can use to help get as much detailed information as possible.
Next: The school meeting checklist.