Dyslexia Signs and Symptoms

Slow in Developing Speech

Children normally utter their first words when they reach age one. A child who suffers dyslexia however may be slow in learning to speak, sometimes delaying speech until they are two or three. Some children also have the tendency to stutter and to mispronounce words.

Difficulty in Gauging Directions

Many dyslexia patients get confused when it comes to directions, be it in reading maps, reading a compass or being confused about right from left or up from down. As such they find it hard to differentiate alphabet letters that look similar when they are inverted or reversed such as a ‘b’ and a ‘d’ or a ‘u’ or an ‘n’. Many adults who suffer from dyslexia still find it difficult to coordinate their movements such as learning a dance step or finding their directions when driving in familiar town.

Difficulty in Deciphering Sequences

Another common sign of dyslexia is the inability to comprehend sequential logic or matter, be it in the form of words, alphabet letters, numbers or even naming the days of a week. This symptom can result in poor spelling ability, which is primarily caused by the patient’s confusion over the sequence of alphabet letters when formed into a word. This is also similar to the difficulty a patient encounters when dealing with sequence of numbers such as in telephone numbers. Certain tasks that require sequences of steps can also be challenging such as tying one’s shoe laces or solving a math problem.

Poor Reading Ability

Many children who suffer from dyslexia have problems in reading, be it in recognizing individual words, skipping out certain words or difficulty in understanding a passage due to the intense concentration spent on individual words. When reading aloud, the reading is often slow and disrupted at every phrase. Many also find it hard to tell the time on a clock; while some may be able to tell half-hourly and hourly time, many are at a lost when telling time that involves smaller fractions such as 13 minutes past or 2 minutes to a certain hour.

Poor Handwriting

Children who suffer dyslexia have difficulty in coordinating their visual and motor skills, and this is often exhibited through their handwriting. Writing is a chore that the child struggles with and the task is often slow and laborious. It is quite common to find that sentence written by a child who suffers from dyslexia are often long run-on sentences filled with spelling errors with the absence of punctuation and capital letters.

Poor Organizational Abilities

Many dyslexia patients have problems in organizing their personal belongings such as their bedrooms, lockers, desks, offices, homes or bags. As such they are often perceived as being untidy and messy.

Poor memory about Non-relevant facts

Some patients have difficulty in remembering tasks or facts that are not personally relevant or important such as general knowledge facts, history facts or math formulas. This may contribute to the general observation that dyslexia patients have poor math abilities. Despite their intelligence, they have difficulty in grasping math concepts and often perform poorly in math division, subtraction and multiplication exercises.


The following are possible signs of dyslexia that may occur during certain phases of a child’s development. These signs are not necessarily confined to the particular phase they are categorized below; in some cases, the symptoms may overlap to other phases of a child’s developing years. For example, a child who suffer dyslexia may suffer one or more of the following symptoms or may have the same symptom from pre-school phase right up to high school phase.

Signs of Dyslexia in Toddlers (Children between 1 to 3 years of age)

  • Slow speech-learning skills, sometimes delay talking until the age of 5;

  • Suffer ear infection;

  • Signs of Dyslexia in Pre-school Children (between 4 to 5 years of age)

  • Constant switching from left to right hand when drawing, coloring or writing;

  • Inability to tie shoe laces;

  • Difficulty in pronouncing words that have three or more syllables;

  • Difficulty in uttering words that rhyme;

  • Difficulty in learning to write;

  • Problem in pronouncing ‘M’, ‘N’, ‘R’ and ‘L’;

  • Stuttering.


Signs of Dyslexia in Elementary and Middle School Children (between 6 to 12 years of age)

  • Weak in spelling and handwriting abilities;

  • Slow, disrupted reading and commit similar mistakes every time;

  • Difficulty in telling the time;

  • Struggles with math problems or concepts;

  • Find it difficult to find the right words when expressing themselves;

  • Mispronunciation of common words;

  • Untidy lockers, bedrooms and bags;

  • Difficulty in remembering telephone numbers or a series of numbers.


Signs of Dyslexia in High School Teenagers

  • Poor writing skills and weak spelling abilities;

  • Difficulty in expressing themselves partly due to limited vocabulary or inability to pronounce certain words;

  • Difficulty in mastering new language;

  • Obtain poor grades in school;

  • Often dread going to school.


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