My nearly 4yo knows his letters and has, over the past few months, learned to spell his name. He spells it out in magnetic letters or alphabet cookie cutters, with great pride, and EVERY time it is exactly backwards.

                H T
              O H T
            M O H T
          A M O H T
        S A M O H T

He always starts with the correct letter, T, and then works to the left.

I'm wondering if this is an early indicator of a problem like dyslexia? Or just something odd that he'll outgrow in another six months?

asked 30 Dec '10, 00:02

Emily's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


It's been eight months since you wrote this. Did he grow out of it?

(28 Aug '11, 10:31) Kyralessa

My vote is for something odd he'll grow out of. My son, who's now six, was doing that as recently as last summer when he was about to turn five. He'd write his name, sometimes as ALEX, but sometimes as XELA. I chose to assume he was simply a genius who could write in both directions. :) He writes the normal way now.

The direction we write (left-to-right or right-to-left) is arbitrary, of course, as evidenced by the existence of languages like Hebrew and Arabic that use right-to-left. I think learning the writing direction for one's language is similar to learning which hand is left and which is right (also arbitrary); it just takes a lot of repetition, and then he'll get it straight.


answered 01 Jan '11, 04:51

Kyralessa's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

Dyslexia commonly know as "reading problem where people see letters jumbled and backwards" does not really exist as it used to be understood. It's an old concept that people seem to have hung on to. Doing a google search there appears to be a lot of information about it on the internet but it is not an actual diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM-IV). It simply means reading disability, for which there can be a number of different causes or subtypes.

(from wikipedia)

Dyslexia is a broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or accuracy in being able to read, write, and spell, [1] and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, and/or rapid naming.[2][3] Dyslexia is separate and distinct from reading difficulties resulting from other causes, such as a non-neurological deficiency with vision or hearing, or from poor or inadequate reading instruction.[4][5] It is believed that dyslexia can affect between 5 to 10 percent of a given population although there have been no studies to indicate an accurate percentage.[6][7][8]

That doesn't mean that letter reversals ect... are not sometimes of a sign of reading problems (that would fall under orthographic coding); however, from my experience some reversals in preschoolers are normal.


answered 30 Dec '10, 18:12

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

I dunno, my four year old went through a phase where she'd write her name backward, or in a circle, or as a random jumble of the letters in her name. These days she often writes her first name followed by her middle initial and her final initial. I wouldn't worry about it.


answered 08 Jan '11, 03:53

Phil's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

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Asked: 30 Dec '10, 00:02

Seen: 4,054 times

Last updated: 28 Aug '11, 10:31