When your child is diagnosed with autism, it is natural to wonder if other symptoms are related to their diagnosis. Language and communication issues are part of autism, but language and communication issues are also common in conditions such as dyslexia.
If your child is diagnosed with dyslexia, you may be wondering if it is connected to their autism. Of course, you may wonder the same if the diagnosis is reversed.
In this guide, you can learn about the similarities, differences and spectrum of autism and dyslexia.
You want to start by learning the similarities and differences between autism and dyslexia. This way, you can pinpoint which symptom is a sign of which condition, which is especially helpful if your child has not received an official diagnosis yet.
Both autism and dyslexia are life-long neurodevelopmental disorders. The most common signs in both conditions are communication issues and delayed speech.
Each condition has its own symptoms beyond communication issues. For example, autistic children may display repetitive behaviors, difficulty socializing and sensory issues.
Children who are dyslexic face challenges with reading, spelling, decoding and word recognition. These symptoms may manifest into low self-esteem, anxiety or depression.
You may notice the following symptoms in your autistic child.
If your child is dyslexic, you may notice these symptoms.
Contrary to popular belief, reading letters or symbols in reverse is not common for everyone with dyslexia. Some children may experience reversal issues, but it is not a challenge that all dyslexic children face.
If you are like many parents of dyslexic or autistic children, you want to look into early interventions to improve their quality of life.
While you know the symptoms of dyslexia and autism, it is important to learn the early signs of these conditions. The earlier you notice a sign of a neurodevelopmental disorder, the earlier you can find a way to diagnose and treat the symptoms.
The following list includes several early signs of dyslexia.
On this list, you can find a few early signs of autism.
These lists include just a few of the early signs of both conditions. In both autism and dyslexia, children may reach developmental milestones later in life.
While it is difficult to determine which condition is responsible for the other, it is possible for your child to have both autism and dyslexia. They are both categorized as neurodevelopmental conditions, and both autism and dyslexia can appear in young children.
It is easier to identify the symptoms that occur in both conditions when they are thoroughly researched.
The most common symptom of both autism and dyslexia is difficulty communicating, such as lack of expression in autism or vague terms in dyslexia.
The next few sections include more details about how the early signs of autism and dyslexia compare to one another.
Late-talking or delayed language acquisition are the earliest signs of autism and dyslexia.
If your child is autistic, they may start showing signs when they are as young as nine months to two years old.
Children with dyslexia usually start showing these signs when they are about five or six years old. This is when most children start learning to read, write and process words.
If your child has not started talking by 15 months, it is best to keep an eye on them for further signs of dyslexia. Your child may display these signs even when they are preschool or school-age.
These signs are in addition to the early signs mentioned in this guide, and they can lead to frustration as your child is learning to read and write.
Autism is known as a spectrum disorder because the symptoms and severity vary per person.
For instance, some children communicate and even learn a foreign language, while other children remain nonverbal or nonvocal and have issues with socializing.
Reading can be challenging for dyslexic children because the parts of their brains that process language are not the same as other children.
When it comes to working around the dyslexic symptoms, telling a child to "just try harder" is frustrating and harmful. Your child is most likely trying as hard as possible to keep up with their reading, spelling and writing.
Instead, dyslexic children need patience and understanding as they process words and letters. They may also need alternatives to reading, such as listening to an audiobook.
The wide spectrum of autism puts children on various levels of reading. There are some autistic children who find it difficult to learn letters, sounds and words. Other children master these elements and excel at reading.
Confusing letters and words make it difficult for some dyslexic children to spell, while some autistic children have difficulty spelling because they think with pictures instead of words.
Additionally, trouble with handwriting can apply to both autistic and dyslexic children.
You may still have questions about autism and dyslexia, but these frequently asked questions may help you find the answers you need.
The similarities make it easy for people to mistake dyslexia for autism. While both affect your child's way of thinking, these are two different conditions that affect different parts of the brain.
Yes, an autistic person can also have dyslexia. However, more scientific research is required to understand the connection between these two conditions and whether one condition is responsible for the other.
Dyslexia is a spectrum disorder made up of various neuropsychological dysfunctions. Just like with autism, this means the symptoms and severity may vary per person. For example, one dyslexic child may have more difficulty reading and spelling than another dyslexic child.
While autism is a social issue because of the communication and emotional challenges, dyslexia does not have to be a social issue for children. Early intervention and a positive learning environment make it possible for dyslexic children to go through life with minimal social issues.
It is natural to wonder if your autistic child also has dyslexia, especially if they are showing signs of speech delay or reading and spelling challenges.
There is a connection between autism and dyslexia, and both of these conditions cause children to process what they learn at different paces. Luckily, these conditions can be treated or intervened early to improve various areas of your child's life.
Once you learn the similarities and differences between autism and dyslexia, you can work with your child's therapist to find a treatment or coping skill that is right for them.