Is Dyslexia Avoidable?

Dear Dr. Linda,

I have dyslexia and so does my dad. I have an 18-month-old son, and I don’t want him to have the same horrible experience learning to read as my dad and I did. So my wife and I are trying to give him as much exposure to books and reading as possible before he goes to preschool. When I hand him something, I say what it is and emphasize the sounds the letters make for that item. We point out street signs and store signs. We say the sounds and not necessarily the letters. We’ve read that many educators believe it’s unnecessary for him to learn the letters. Our question is when do we start introducing him to formal reading and what program do you recommend?


Sign Up for E-News

Dear Dennis,

I understand why you are concerned. Dyslexia does run in families. Since you and your dad have it, your son has a very good chance of also having it. So I do understand why you want to do whatever possible to prevent your son from having the same negative school experience.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing that you can do now to prevent him from inheriting dyslexia. You can certainly introduce him to letters and the sounds those letters make at a young age as you’re doing. You’re helping him develop phonemic awareness which means that he’ll be hearing those sounds over and over again. As you know, dyslexia is defined as having difficulty putting a sound with an image. It’s an auditory problem, not a visual problem. Therefore, stressing the sounds of things to your son at a young age may pay off in the long run.

But he’s only 18 months so you really don’t know how much he’s processing. In addition, if you’re using too much language, eventually he may not listen to what you’re saying. Next, he has to learn the names of the letters. Yes, one philosophy argues that it’s more important for toddlers to learn the sounds of the letters than to know the names of the letters. However, once he starts school when the teacher tells the children in the class to circle all the “Bs,” your son won’t know what a “B” is.

I don’t recommend starting any formal program now. Simply introduce him to the letters and the sounds they make by giving him toys to play with such as alphabet puzzles. Reading picture books together helps too. He needs to play and listen to stories because these activities provide reading readiness experiences for him.

When he’s four or five, then you can look for a reading readiness program that’s based on phonics. If he has dyslexia, he’ll need a strong phonics-based program such as a multisensory Orton Gillingham program. Follow his progress closely but don’t force him to read. However, if you see he’s not remembering the alphabet or the sounds connected with each letter, contact your local school. They’ll be able to work with him. Schools know a lot more about dyslexia than they knew when you and your father were in school.

Dr. Linda

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


What Is Cambridge Analytica?

Cambridge Analytica is a research organization. Apparently, it is funded by the Mercer family, second only to the Koch brothers on the liberal hit list. Both, through their philanthropy, spend millions on various needy organizations like hospitals. What makes them liberal targets is their funding of various conservative think tanks and candidates. I digress.

Cambridge Analytica used Facebook ...

Democrats Are Coming After Your Money

Understand what it will mean if you elect Democrats in November. When the tax reform bill passed in February, not one Democrat voted for it. In fact, during the discussions leading up to the vote, they lied and said your taxes will go up and only the rich will benefit. I wrote back then about the fallacy of their argument and I was right.

As a whole, Democrats and more and more of ...

Support the Hamlet Renaissance

April 6, 2018

This past August, the Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber Legislative Advocacy Board (LAB) published its Carmel Vision 2020 paper outlining the need for a new townwide master plan. Since then things have certainly taken off.

The current focus is on Mahopac’s business district and the town’s purchase of the Swan Cove parcel where dilapidated row homes currently stand. The intention is to ...

‘Sister Act’: A Musical Like Nun Other

Of all the Broadway musicals I’ve seen over the years at Westchester Broadway Theatre, only a handful have elicited the noisily enthusiastic audience response I observed at the recent opening night of “Sister Act.”

There were outbursts of applause in the middle of some numbers, and several clever turns of phrase sprinkled in the dialogue landed squarely, to the delight of big ...

Seen Any Good Ol’ Movies Lately?

As I become more, uh, mature, I find myself enjoying older movies more than newer movies. The trio of films presented here for your consideration are three of my all-time favorites. They share great stories, great screenplays, great directing, great acting. They also have in common ratings in the 90s on Rotten Tomatoes, and a place of distinction in the National Film Registry, a highly selective ...

Privacy? LOL!

Author’s Note: Mom + Pop Culture are a couple of real characters. They could be you and me. Or not. Every so often, I eavesdrop on their conversations. Let’s listen in on what they’re saying right now about how Facebook fans are shocked—shocked!—that their privacy has been compromised, prompting them to rise up and exhort oppressed social media users everywhere to ...

Cleaning the Empty Nest

Part of the shock of being a part-time empty nester is when the kids come back to visit and I have to watch my house transform overnight from a pristine haven of OCD goodness to a place that looks like an explosion happened at Forever 21.

After my kids moved mostly out, I put away whatever tchotchkes they chose to leave behind and then I put on a hazmat suit and cleaned their rooms until they ...

Tipping the Scales in My Favor

As I was settling into bed one night, I happened to catch my husband out of the corner of my eye.

He was getting on the scale.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I yelled at him. He jerked his head around and looked at me with alarm.

“What? I’m weighing myself.”

I jumped out of bed and yanked him off the scale. 

“You can’t do that now!” I ...

Doing Time in the Big House

“So, what did the doctor say about Dad?” I asked my mom over the phone.

“He has an incarcerated hernia,” she replied.

“INCARCERATED hernia?” I repeated.


“Why is it incarcerated? Did it rob a bank?”

“What? No.”

“Unlawful entry? Obstruction? Insider trading?” I ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, April 19, 5:30 PM

Starr Ridge Banquet Center, Brewster

CoveCare Center's 9th Annual Adult Spelling Bee

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Thu, April 19, 5:30 PM

Starr Ridge Banquet Center, Brewster

9th Annual Adult Spelling Bee

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Health & Wellness

Thu, April 19, 6:00 PM

Athletes Warehouse, Pleasantville

FORE Your Health: Injury Prevention and Treatment ...

Health & Wellness Sports

Houlihan Lawrence in Yorktown Welcomes Three New Team Members

April 10, 2018

Zef Camaj, brokerage manager, recently welcomed three salespersons to the team.

Marco Nogueras is an enthusiastic and dedicated professional who uses technologically advanced marketing techniques bringing the real estate experience to a new level. He values customer service and will ensure your goals are met while keeping you updated on current market conditions. Marco has spent the majority ...