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What are the signs of Dyslexia?

What are the signs of Dyslexia?


Ages 7-11 years old:​

  • Seems bright in some ways but unexpectedly struggles in others

  • Other members of the family have similar difficulties

  • Has problems carrying out three instructions in sequence

  • Struggles to learn sequences such as days of the week or the alphabet

  • Is a slow reader or makes unexpected errors when reading aloud

  • Often reads a word, then fails to recognise it further down the page

  • Struggles to remember what has been read

  • Puts letters and numbers the wrong way: for example, 15 for 51, b for d or “was” for “saw”

  • Has poor handwriting and/or struggles to hold the pen/pencil correctly and/or learn cursive writing

  • Spells a word several different ways

  • Appears to have poor concentration

  • Struggles with mental arithmetic or learning times tables

  • Seems to struggle with maths and/or understanding the terminology in maths: for example, knowing when to add, subtract or multiply

  • Has difficulties understanding time and tense

  • Confuses left and right

  • Can answer questions orally but has difficulties writing the answer down

  • Has trouble learning nursery rhymes or songs

  • Struggles with phonics and learning the letter-to-sound rules

  • Seems to get frustrated or suffers unduly with stress and/or low self-esteem

  • Struggles to copy information down when reading from the board

  • Needs an unexpected amount of support with homework and struggles to get it done on time

  • Is excessively tired after a day at school

Ages 12 to adult:


  • Many older children and adults will remember having similar difficulties to those listed above. Some may still apply, whilst additional issues for older children through to adulthood might include:

  • Difficulties taking notes, planning and writing essays, letters or reports

  • Struggles with reading and understanding new terminology

  • Quality of work is erratic

  • Difficulties revising for examinations

  • Struggles to communicate knowledge and understanding in exams

  • Feels that the effort put in does not reflect performance or results

  • Forgets names and factual information, even when familiar

  • Struggles to remember things such as a personal PIN or telephone number

  • Struggles to meet deadlines

  • Struggles with personal organisation (finances/household, arrives at lessons with the wrong books, forgets appointments)

  • Difficulties filling in forms or writing cheques

  • Only reads when necessary and never for pleasure

  • Develops work avoidance tactics to disguise difficulties and/or worries about being promoted/taking professional qualifications

  • Difficulties become exacerbated when under pressure of time.

Further reading

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