A lot of kids find it difficult to read or write and it is not unusual for young kids to end up reversing the letters. But beyond the age of 7, if a child continues to show signs of writing letters or numbers, backwards or upside down, it is an indication towards a learning or attention issue. Many people assume that writing backwards is a sure sign of Dyslexia, but it is not so. It could be due to simple learning difficulties and other problems.
Reverse writing is often called ‘mirrored writing’, wherein a child might write certain letters backwards or upside down. For instance a child may write q instead of p or d instead of b. But just because a child has problems with ‘mirror writing’ does not mean that the child has Dyslexia. While some children with dyslexia do have a problem with mirror writing, many of the children do not. Dyslexia is not the only cause of ‘mirrored writing’. Poor-memory could also be one of the reasons. One of the most common causes is visual-processing problems, which cause children to have trouble in visual discrimination (The difference in Images) or Visual directionality (the direction in which images face).
Most children overgrow the situation with proficiency in writing and reading. Some letters like: d,q,p,and b have the same shape but are only flipped or turned over. Children may have difficulty recognizing this distinction early on. But as their phonics skills build up with more experience reading and writing they will learn to make the distinctions.
If by the second grade, your child is still reversing letters, it could be an indication that there is a need for evaluation.
There is no loss in helping your child to learn how to write his letters correctly, regardless of his age. But in case your child does have a difficulty in visual processing, it is important to deal with it sooner than later as then the habit might get deeply ingrained. It will be better for your child to break off the habit early. Few exercises like working on one letter at a time, introducing a multi-sensory approach and the likes also help your child a lot. Skywriting while reciting the letter aloud also helps develop visual perception in regards to the letters and numbers.
In case your child continues to mirror-write beyond the second or third grade, it would be prudent to talk to his or her teacher. If the teacher is able to involve the child in some extra practice, there is a good chance that your child may improve. In case your child continues to have trouble with reversed writing, attention and the likes you could get your child evaluated for Dyslexia.
Special education can greatly help these children. With the help of a carefully constructed special curriculum with the help of occupational therapists, special educators can actually help your child overcome this difficulty. As we have already discussed the reason for reverse writing can be many ranging from visual-processing problems, visual-discrimination, dyslexia, and more. Professionals with experience in handling children with such problems can actually help devise a planned structure and exercise to motivate and help the children. Children diagnosed with dyslexia may need counselling, therapy and other specialised help to overcome the difficulty and special education provides easy access to such specialised professionals. Along with bespoke curriculums specifically designed to help the children with needs, special educators are able to bridge the gap between special needs children and other children, while integrating the parent’s role in the child’s development process in a more holistic way.
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