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What Are the Signs of Dyslexia?

General

The problems displayed by individuals with dyslexia involve difficulties in acquiring and using language--reading and writing letters in the wrong order is just one manifestation of dyslexia and does not occur in all cases. Other problems experienced by dyslexics include:

  • Learning to speak
  • Organizing written and spoken language
  • Learning letters and their sounds
  • Memorizing number facts
  • Spelling
  • Reading
  • Learning a foreign language
  • Correctly doing math operations

Not all individuals who have difficulties with these skills are dyslexic. Formal testing is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia.


Adults

The difficulties noted below are often associated with dyslexia if they are unexpected for the individual's age, educational level, or cognitive abilities. A qualified diagnostician can test a person to determine if he or she is truly dyslexic.

  • May hide reading problems
  • May spell poorly; relies on others to correct spelling
  • Avoids writing; may not be able to write
  • Often very competent in oral language
  • Relies on memory; may have an excellent memory
  • Often has good "people" skills
  • Often is spatially talented; professions include, but are not limited, to engineers, architects, designers, artists and craftspeople, mathematicians, physicists, physicians (esp. surgeons and orthopedists), and dentists.
  • May be very good at "reading" people (intuitive)
  • In jobs is often working well below their intellectual capacity
  • May have difficulty with planning, organization and management of time, materials and tasks.
  • Are often entrepreneurs

Young Children

Signs of dyslexia in young, preschool children include talking later than expected, a slowness to add new words, difficulty rhyming, and trouble following multistep directions.  After a child begins school, the signs of dyslexia include:

  • Difficulty reading single words, such as a word on a flashcard
  • Difficulty learning the connection between letters and sounds
  • Confusing small words, such as at and to
  • Letter reversals, such as d for b
  • Word reversals, such as tip for pit

Having one of these signs does not mean your child has dyslexia; many children reverse letters before the age of 7. But, if several signs exist and reading problems persist, or if you have a family history of dyslexia, you may want to have your child evaluated.


Elementary Aged Children

Does Your 1st, 2nd or 3rd-Grader:

  • Remember simple sequences such as counting to 20, naming the days of the week, or reciting the alphabet?
  • Have an understanding of rhyming words, such as knowing that fat rhymes with cat?
  • Recognize words that begin with the same sound (for example, that bird, baby, and big all start with b)?
  • Easily clap hands to the rhythm of a song?
  • Frequently use specific words to name objects rather than words like “stuff” and “that thing”?
  • Easily remember spoken directions?
  • Remember names of places and people?
  • Show understanding of right-left, up-down, front-back?
  • Sit still for a reasonable period of time?
  • Make and keep friends easily?

Answering “no” to some or most of these questions may indicate a learning disability. Not all students who have difficulties with these skills are dyslexic. Formal testing is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia.

Click here to view or download IDA's Dyslexia Fact Sheets