Advanced Abilities but Unable to Read
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My son just turned 6 years old (end of July). He is extremely
intelligent - can do addition (and sometimes subtraction) in his head,
identify where all the states (and some countries) are located on a map
(including using north, south, east and west directions) and is a quick
study when it comes to things scientific.
For instance, he's fascinated with power lines and how electricity and
electrical current work. He draws schematics of what he believes it
looks like. He studies the mechanics of carnival rides and then
describes how the mechanics work.
He has a vast vocabulary and can carry on a conversation with some
intelligence with just about anybody.
The issue is that he can't read yet. He can identify some words and has
been able to identify all of the letters and print them for the past
couple of years, but he can't/won't sound words out. It's almost as if
he's bored. By the time I was his age, I was reading on an 8th grade
level and was described as "gifted"; but then again, I didn't have his
proficiency with math, science and geography. My question is, is this
normal, or should I be getting him extra help with his reading?
A: He surely appears to be above average
with his abilities; however, I suspect he may have a reading problem
which definitely needs to be checked. Since he is advanced in most other
tasks, reading seems difficult and by this stage, if he is behind,
intervention should be considered.
I believe he may have
stealth dyslexic, but for a proper diagnosis, it is best to have him
tested for appropriate and early intervention. Please do not wait any
longer as your son needs help here and may be underperforming due to his
inability to read at grade level a least. See a reputable educational
psychologist in your area to determine the tests recommended to identify
the problem. If he is dyslexic, early intervention can certainly help
ease out a lot of frustration he may be going through. Good luck!