My five-year-old writes backwards – is he dyslexic?

Q: Bob: My question is about dyslexia. My five-year-old son, who is in kindergarten, consistently writes some of his letters backwards. He’s very bright, but does this mean he has a problem? If so, what can I do about it?

My five-year-old writes backwards - is he dyslexic?
My five-year-old writes backwards – is he dyslexic?

A: Dean Edell, M.D.: When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.

The odds are unlikely that your child is dyslexic. I don’t think dyslexia can even be diagnosed this early.

Writing backwards is normal for kids his age. Writing properly is one of the things he is in kindergarten to learn, to make an “F” like this, and a “5” like this. I’d just let him go his own way, and don’t drive him crazy, because he’ll straighten it out.

I don’t want to minimize dyslexia, but we do so many stories on the air about it that we run the risk of making everyone paranoid about it.