Common Signs and Challenges of Dyslexia

Signs of Dyslexia in Toddlers and Preschoolers:

  • May talk later than most children
  • May have difficulty pronouncing words such as busgetti for spaghetti, mawn lower for lawn mower, etc.
  • May be slow to add new vocabulary words
  • May be unable to recall the right word
  • May have difficulty with rhyming
  • May have trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, months of the year, colors, shapes, how to spell and write his or her name
  • May have trouble interacting with peers
  • May be unable to follow multi-step directions or routines
  • Fine motor skills may develop more slowly than in other children
  • May have difficulty telling and/or retelling a story in the correct sequence
  • Often has difficulty separating sounds in words and blending sounds to make words

Signs of Dyslexia in Kindergarten through Grade 4:

  • Has difficulty decoding single words (reading single words in isolation)
  • May be slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds
  • May confuse small words: at – to, said-and, does-goes.
  • Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including:
    - letter reversals – d for b as in dog for bog
    - word reversals – tip for pit
    - inversions – m and w for u and n
    - transpositions – felt and left
    - substitutions – house and home
  • May transpose number sequences and confuse arithmetic signs
  • May have trouble remembering facts
  • May be slow to learn new skills; relies heavily on memorizing without understanding
  • May be impulsive and prone to accidents
  • May have difficulty planning
  • Often uses an awkward pencil grip (fist, thumb hooked over fingers, etc.)
  • May have trouble learning to tell time
  • May have poor fine motor coordination

Signs of Dyslexia in Children in Grades 5-8:

  • Is usually reading below grade level
  • May reverse letter sequences – soiled for solid, left for felt
  • May be slow to discern and to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other reading and spelling strategies
  • May have difficulty spelling; spells the same word differently on the same page
  • May avoid reading aloud
  • May have trouble with word problems in math
  • May write with difficulty with illegible handwriting; pencil grip is awkward, fist-like or tight
  • May avoid writing
  • May have slow or poor recall of facts
  • May have difficulty with comprehension
  • May have trouble with non-literal language (idioms, jokes, proverbs, slang)
  • May forget to hand in homework or to bring in homework
  • May have difficulty with planning and time management

Signs of Dyslexia in Teenagers (high school and college graduates but younger students also):

  • May read very slowly with many inaccuracies
  • Continues to spell incorrectly, frequently spells the same word differently in a single piece of writing
  • May procrastinate reading and writing tasks
  • May avoid writing
  • May have trouble summarizing and outlining
  • May have trouble answering open-ended questions on tests
  • May not adjust well to new setting or to change
  • May have difficulties with foreign languages
  • May work slowly
  • May have poor grasp of abstract concepts
  • May pay too little attention to details or focus too much on them
  • May misread information
  • May not complete assignments; may complete them and not hand them in
  • May have an inadequate vocabulary
  • May have an inadequate store of knowledge from previous reading
  • May have difficulty with planning and time management

Signs of Dyslexia in Adults:

  • May hide their reading problems; many subterfuges
  • May spell poorly; relies on others
  • Avoids writing; may not be able to write
  • Often very competent in oral language
  • Often has good “people” skills
  • Often is spatially talented: engineers, architects, designers, artists, and craftspeople, mathematicians, physicists, physicians, especially surgeons, dentists
  • May be very good at “reading” people (intuitive)
  • In jobs is often working well below their intellectual capacity
  • May have difficulty with planning and organization
  • May have difficulty with time; often too early, late, or forgets appointments.
  • Relies on digital watches; cannot tell time
  • Often entrepreneurs; may have lost one or more businesses they started