Signs of Dyslexia and General Information

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An exhaustive list of dyslexia signs and symptoms

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Extremely helpful dyslexia info for parents & anyone wanting accurate dyslexia information!

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia literally means "difficulty with language". The formal definition of dyslexia, as adopted by the International Dyslexia Association, is as follows: 

     "Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge."

People with dyslexia have a wide range of difficulties with various language skills including accurate and fluent reading, spelling, handwriting, and speaking.  The level of difficulty can range from mild to moderate to severe.  It's a lifelong condition, but the right instruction (the earlier the better) can help a dyslexic student overcome many of their challenges and experience success.  

Signs of Dyslexia

So, how do you know if your child may be dyslexic? First, look through this list of common signs below.  Every child exhibits some of these signs from time to time, but a dyslexic child will exhibit several over the course of time:

EARLY SIGNS (Pre-school, Kindergarten)

* delayed speech (often not speaking any words before 1st birthday)

* early stuttering or cluttering

* trouble articulating R's and L's, M's & N's

* difficulty rhyming

* difficulty learning how to tie shoes

* lack of dominant handedness (switching from right to left) or late to establish a dominant hand

* confusion with left vs right, over and under, before and after, and other directional words and concepts

* difficulty learning names of letters or sounds of alphabet

* mixing up sounds in multi-syllable words (aminal for animal, bisghetti for spaghetti, flustrated for frustrated, etc.)

* chronic ear infections

* difficulty with memorizing (alphabet, phone number)

LATER SIGNS (Elementary School)

* letter or number reversals past 1st grade

* slow, choppy, inaccurate reading

* often guesses when reading based on the shape of the word or its context

* knows phonics, but doesn't use the rules to sound out words

* trouble hearing or distinguishing sounds in words

* skips or misreads common small words like to, of, in, and

* can read a word on one page, but won't recognize it on the next

* tires easily after reading even a short time

* terrible spelling

* trouble remembering sight words (could, were, does, etc.)

* dysgraphia (poor handwriting)

     * difficulty getting letters to "sit" on the line

     * incorrect spacing, unorganized or sloppy work

     * unusual pencil grip

     * unusual starting and ending points when forming letters

* when reading and writing, confuses b & d (most common) or b & p, m & w

* much better listening comprehension than reading comprehension

* difficulty telling time on a clock with hands

* trouble with math - memorizing facts (especially multiplication facts), or a sequence of steps


* close relative with dyslexia 

* extremely messy bedroom or backpack

* difficulty finding the right word when talking (lots of "thingies" or "whatchamacallits")

* loses and forgets things

* poor sense of time

* trouble remembering directions 

* teachers may say he/she is lazy or just needs to work harder

* trouble with rote memory (memorizing facts to pass a test at school)

* giftedness in any "right brain" area such as art, music, athletics, mechanical abilities, intuition, business/people skills, ability to think  "outside the box", problems solving, logic

If you suspect your child has dyslexia, an Orton-Gilingham reading specialist can help.  You may want to look into formal dyslexia testing for an official diagnosis.