As a young child learns to read and write, reversing or transposing a letter here or there is an expected mistake. If those reversals continue past the age of 8, however, there may be an issue with what is known as reversal frequency: mistaking a b for a d, or a p for a q.
Testing for letter and number reversals can be accomplished with the Gardner Reversals Test. The Gardner test differentiates between types of reversals, further identifying a patient with dysponesia, dyseidesia, or dysnemkinesia.
Dysphonetics have difficulty integrating letters with sounds, and thus have a hard time sounding out words. Dyseidetics can sound out words, but have trouble with sequencing and find it tough to read an entire word at a time. Dysnemkinesics exhibit high reversal rates due to poor memory and motor skills.
While the dyslexic brain processes things differently, with early detection and treatment, significant progress can be made with a combination of vision therapy strategies and intervention. Beginning treatment as early as possible will help keep patients at peer levels in academic achievement and keep self-esteem high. Older patients, however, should not be discouraged from seeking treatment, as progress can be made at any age.
It is important to note that even developmental optometrists do not treat reading and learning disorders. That is something best managed by learning specialists in the field. Vision therapy, however, can provide an important piece of a multidisciplinary approach to improving academic performance in dyslexic individuals.
If you feel your child may have a problem with reversal frequency, testing by a developmental optometrist such as Dr. Tod Davis can provide important information to help you decide on a next step. The staff at Dr. Tod Davis Developmental Optometry and Vision Therapy Services is trained to diagnose and work with patients that have a wide variety of vision disorders. They specialize in tailoring programs to the individual for maximum progress and satisfaction.