What are the symptoms of dyslexia?

Because dyslexia affects some people more severely than others, your child’s symptoms may look different from those in another child. Some kids with dyslexia have trouble with reading and spelling. Others may struggle to write or to tell left from right.

Some children don’t seem to struggle with early reading and writing. But later on, they have trouble with complex language skills, such as grammar, reading comprehension and more in-depth writing.

Dyslexia can also make it difficult for people to express themselves clearly. It can be hard for them to structure their thoughts during conversation. They may have trouble finding the right words to say.

Others struggle to understand what they’re hearing. This is especially true when someone uses nonliteral language such as jokes and sarcasm.

The signs you see may also look different at various ages. Some of the warning signs for dyslexia, such as a speech delay, appear before a child reaches kindergarten. More often, though, dyslexia is identified in grade school. As schoolwork gets more demanding, trouble processing language becomes more apparent.

Many children have one or two of these issues on occasion. But kids with dyslexia have several of these issues, and they don’t go away.

Here are some signs to look out for:

Warning Signs in Preschool or Kindergarten

  • Has trouble recognizing the letters of the alphabet
  • Struggles to match letters to sounds, such as not knowing what sounds b or h make
  • Has difficulty blending sounds into words, such as connecting C-H-A-T to the word chat
  • Struggles to pronounce words correctly, such as saying “mawn lower” instead of “lawn mower”
  • Has difficulty learning new words
  • Has a smaller vocabulary than other kids the same age
  • Has trouble learning to count or say the days of the week and other common word sequences
  • Has trouble rhyming

Warning Signs in Grade School or Middle School

  • Struggles with reading and spelling
  • Confuses the order of letters, such as writing “left” instead of “felt”
  • Has trouble remembering facts and numbers
  • Has difficulty gripping a pencil
  • Has difficulty using proper grammar
  • Has trouble learning new skills and relies heavily on memorization
  • Gets tripped up by word problems in math
  • Has a tough time sounding out unfamiliar words
  • Has trouble following a sequence of directions

Warning Signs in High School

  • Struggles with reading out loud
  • Doesn’t read at the expected grade level
  • Has trouble understanding jokes or idioms
  • Has difficulty organizing and managing time
  • Struggles to summarize a story
  • Has difficulty learning a foreign language

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