A mom in our support group asked, "I’ve noticed my daughter’s writing letters backwards, I thought that was a normal thing for kids to do from time to time, but then I noticed her writing her name backwards. So, when do we become concerned that this isn’t normal instead something is wrong.
Now that I have moved on to the sight words, I have noticed ¾’s way through she starts saying them backwards. For example; ‘new’ was read as ‘wen’, ‘out’ was read as ‘tuo’, ‘what’ she began to sound out ‘ta’. Shortly I realized the pattern, so I stopped and tried from where she started struggling, and she got them all right. Is she one of those who experience dyslexia? As I see such reversed letters. The question arises, seeming its intermittent, ‘How does dyslexia work?"
Unfortunately, not a lot of research has been done on the subject. Many children reverse or flip letters, numbers and even short words, like my daughter is doing, around the ages of five to seven years old. Many kids outgrow reversing as they become better readers and more proficient at writing. By eight, most children have mastered directions in both reading and writing that they previously found confusing. Common areas of difficulty are letters b and d, p and q and the numbers 2, 5, 6 and 9.
Letter reversals are, mostly, due to a weak memory or lack of enough previous experiences. Do not wait to see if it is a problem for your child instead take a step to help your child with their letter reversals from an early age, especially if you have noticed other learning disabilities or such traits in siblings too.
Here are some exercises that can help:
Some Current Research Findings:
However, a 2016 study published in the 'Frontiers in Human Neuroscience' rejected the claim that reversals of letters and letter sequences are caused by phonological deficits. Instead, the study found that visual movement can detect dyslexia early on and could be used in successful treatment to prevent children from not being able to readily learn.
What Can You Do?
Most teachers have discovered that there's no magical cure for children who display reversals in their reading or writing. Some of the best strategies to use include:
Jess Arce is a homeschool mom of four, a tutor for children & adults who struggle with Dyslexia & Dysgraphia and an all around entrepreneur. She is passionate about helping others understand dyslexia.