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Signs That May Indicate a Need for Interventions


If a learner has 3 or more of the following warning signs, parents and teachers are encouraged to learn more about struggles with phonological processing, auditory processing, visual discrepancies, dyslexia etc. Reach out to Carmen Heethuis at or (605)359-6425 to hear about how our program may help.


In Preschool

  • delayed speech
  • mixing up the sounds and syllables in long words
  • chronic ear infections
  • severe reactions to childhood illnesses
  • constant confusion of left versus right
  • late establishing a dominant hand
  • difficulty learning to tie shoes
  • trouble memorizing their address, phone number, or the alphabet
  • can’t create words that rhyme
  • a close relative with dyslexia


In Elementary School

  • dysgraphia (slow, non-automatic handwriting that is difficult to read)
  • letter or number reversals continuing past the end of first grade
  • extreme difficulty learning cursive
  • slow, choppy, inaccurate reading: guesses based on shape or context, skips or misreads prepositions (at, to, of), ignores suffixes, can’t sound out unknown words, spelling difficulties
  • often can’t remember sight words (they, were, does) or homonyms (their, they’re, and there)
  • difficulty telling time with a clock with hands
  • trouble with math: memorizing multiplication tables, memorizing a sequence of steps, directionality
  • when speaking: difficulty finding the correct word, lots of “whatchamacallits” and “thingies”, common sayings come out slightly twisted
  • extremely messy bedroom, backpack, and desk
  • dreads going to school, complains of stomach aches or headaches, may have nightmares about school
  • a close relative with dyslexia
  • Little or no progress with traditional interventions at school or at home


In High School

  • All of the above symptoms plus:
  • limited vocabulary
  • extremely poor written expression, large discrepancy between verbal skills and written compositions
  • unable to master a foreign language
  • difficulty reading printed music
  • poor grades in many classes
  • may drop out of high school
  • a close relative with dyslexia


In Adults- Education history similar to above, plus:

  • slow reader
  • may have to read a page 2 or 3 times to understand it
  • terrible speller
  • difficulty putting thoughts onto paper – dreads writing memos or letters
  • still has difficulty with right versus left
  • often gets lost, even in a familiar city
  • sometimes confuses b and d, especially when tired or sick

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