Signs of a potential problem can be present long before someone is actually learning to read, Brannigan said.
For example, he noted, if children are having difficulty with speech early on and are not able to pronounce words correctly, they could have difficulty trying to attach those spoken words to printed ones as they get older.
“If you’re finding that’s happening, the earlier the better, to try to get some help with that,” he said.
“Five Ways” provides a list of sample questions to help determine a child’s potential for reading difficulties, which, Brannigan added, may also result from issues with attention and motivation.
He explained that even children who are able to read may have problems with comprehension, as struggling with even a word or two can cause a child to lose sight of the meaning of a paragraph.
“Comprehension becomes a bigger issue, a more noticeable issue, as kids get older, and that’s why sometimes kids may not be noticed as quickly. And parents could identify some of these things earlier and get them the services so that they become stronger readers who maybe won’t have as much problem with comprehension,” he said.
After all, many individuals who are not successful in reading and learning, according to the e-book, are at risk for emotional distress or illness, unemployment, homelessness and even incarceration.
To avoid such devastating outcomes, “Five Ways” suggests, in part, learning as much as possible about a child’s disability and his or her teachers and school.
Being familiar with special-education laws, how schools operate and the vocabulary used by professionals, Brannigan said, is critical to getting the proper services.
“Five Ways” also provides tips for finding expert assistance and having a child’s disabilities properly evaluated.