Is my daughter dyslexic?

My daughter is 7 years old, very bright, and loves reading. (She learned to read from an outstanding Montessori teacher who utilized phonics exclusively.)

However, she still frequently will write letters backward. She is right handed, but writes utilizing many “left handed” traits such as starting certain letters from the bottom instead of the top.

But here’s what really threw me. We have pianos and other keyboards all over the house. She hasn’t done much with them so far in life, but recently she wanted me to show her a particular song (I play by ear). She learned it OK with a little practice. Here’s the kicker: tonight, I played the same song “upside down” for the fun of it - in other words, I was standing in back of the keyboard, which reverses everything. This is supposed to be difficult. But she then did the same thing herself, starting off with exactly the right note. I was speechless.

So is this another manifestation of dyslexia, dumb luck, or something else?

seY ehs lexdysa si.

Maybe she’s the next Mozart? This doesn’t sound like the manifestation of a problem, it sounds like a very sharp kid.

She sounds a lot like me. I write a lot of letters backwards or upside down and start a lot of my letters from the bottom (I’ve created a scheme where each letter is written with the minimum amount of pencil movement…). But the stragest thing is when I type, sometimes I’ll catch myself typeing a word and sometimes even a whole sentence completely backwards.

I’m not dyslexic, or at least I’ve never had any problems with language- indeed, that is where I excell. I did have a lot of trouble with math though.

Oh yeah, I can’t spell. I like to think it’s because my brain is working too fast to get bogged down in the details. Don’t know about the math though.

Is she, by any chance, left-handed? My left-handed, very bright daughter did mirror writing and other reverse things until the age of eight, and she’s certainly not dyslexic. She’s turned out to be an excellent reader and writer, and she’s an intuitive speller. I wouldn’t worry about it at all.

It would be best to have her evaluated by a certified language therapist. An online message board can’t really tell you much about your specific case.

In the event that she actually is dyslexic (hopefully not), you’ll be saving both her and yourself a lot of heartburn later in life. Progressing through the normal schooling process becomes less and less manageable once you enter the higher grades.

When I had just learned to read, it was just as easy to read upside-down as right side up. An “A” looks the same regardless.

It was after I got better at reading right side up that it became more effort to do it otherwise.

The piano keyboard, etc, might work that way also.

Is her first grade teacher experienced? What are her thoughts?

I believe that I am dyslexic.
When I was a child, it was bofre deslexia was well known. I was just the kid who had some issues with:
[li]I wrote letters backward (N, Z, B)(not any more)[/li][li]When I glance at a newpaper headline my mind sometimes twist words into different words (County becomes county)[/li][li]I can’t spell for shit[/li][/ul]

But with all that said, I am a very good, very fast (750 WPM+) reader.
Dyslexia is not the end of the world.
But I suggest that you have your daughter tested. There are things now that will make her life easier than I had it in school.

She’s reading? Is she spelling? Letter reversals are not a major indicator in a kid who can read and who can spell. If her phonological processing is just fine, then I’d say you’re probably not looking at dyslexia.

My older kid is dyslexic although he is reading very well. Teaching him phonics did nothing to help his phonological processing disorder – he simply does not retain them.

If she’s reading, and reading well, it is extremely UNlikely that she is dyslexic.

She may, however, be ambidextrous. Even if she has right-handed tendencies.

She may also have greater than usual visual-spatial abilities, allowing her to turn things around in her head (like the piano keyboard) and perform tricks that are difficult for many other people. This might also explain the mirror-writing.

Looks more like a gift than a disability, to me. Just becuase she’s different doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing…

Thanks for all the feedback, folks. This was really helpful.

I would second going for evaluation by a child language speciallist. But don’t feel this is a bad thing, and don’t let your daughter worry about it. Saying something allong the lines of “your skill at writing letters any way round, and playing keyboard backwards means we/they want to test you for any other extra skills you might have” (darned can’t use the word special any more). Dyslexia especially if mild does not need to be a problem, and it seems to me to correlate with greater skills elsewhere. I was tested at a similar age for dyslexia and found to be a sufferer, it helped to know that my strange spelling was not due to lazyness at school. My parents and I would play scrabble as often as possible to help me, but it didn’t so much help my spelling as increase my allready good vocabliary to contain words like xi, fa, jo …
To this day words like enough,enuff,enugh,enouth,enoughth (sp?) are a hidden mystery to me as to their correct spelling.

Isn’t it more rare for girls to be dyslexic? My 6-year-old is reading at a 6th grade level, but she still occasionally gets letters and numbers backward. It also takes a while for handedness to be sorted out sometimes. My 4-year-old son still hasn’t decided.

Things are generally pretty fluid at that age. Friends of ours claim that their younger son learned to read fluently upside down (the letters, not the son) at an early age because his older brother always got the comics page first.