Signs of Dyslexia

By Sherry Baker @SherryNewsViews
December 19, 2023
Signs of Dyslexia

Signs of dyslexia in children and adults point to a common learning disability that affects reading and writing skills. It can be treated after diagnosis.

"I, myself, was always recognized as the 'slow one' in the family. It was quite true, and I knew it and accepted it. Writing and spelling were always terribly difficult for me.”

The woman who gave that description was not someone who struggled with low intelligence. In fact, the quote is from famed author and playwright Agatha Christie, known for her prolific writing talents.

The symptoms she described had nothing to do with her intellectual abilities. Instead, she was listing symptoms of dyslexia she first experienced in her youth.


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Dyslexia is a learning disability that has affected many successful and brilliant people. Other famous dyslexics include the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine winner, biologist Carol Greider, actor and producer Henry Winkler, and Ingvar Kamprad, the entrepreneur and founder of Ikea.

Many people with signs of dyslexia are unaware that their problems are due to a language-based learning disability and not a lack of intelligence. They may struggle with self-esteem issues and try to hide their reading difficulties.

If you or your child have signs of dyslexia, it’s important to know you aren’t alone. The condition affects about 20 percent of Americans.

Once dyslexia is diagnosed, with people at any age can improve their language abilities with specific learning techniques.

What causes the signs of dyslexia?

Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms centered around difficulties with language skills, especially reading. People with dyslexia often have trouble writing and pronouncing certain words, too. They may have problems identifying the separate speech sounds within a word or learning how letters represent those sounds.

The exact cause of dyslexia isn’t known. But studies have shown it has a neurobiological basis. That means the brains of dyslexics are “wired” a little differently than non-dyslexics. They simply don’t process language-based learning the way non-dyslexics do, according to the International Dyslexia Association. Dyslexia tends to run in families, so genes may play a role in who develops the condition.

Signs of dyslexia in children

The Learning Disabilities Association of America points out signs that may indicate dyslexia in children:

  • Reading extremely slowly and painfully
  • Confusing the order of letters
  • Difficulty with reading comprehension
  • Trouble recalling known words
  • Difficulty with handwriting

Teachers do not always recognize the signs of dyslexia in students and sometimes assume dyslexic children are lazy or slow learners. So, it’s crucial parents contact their child’s school, a child psychologist, or pediatrician if their offspring has trouble learning to read, the International Dyslexia Association explains.

It’s important that children with dyslexia get diagnosed as early as kindergarten and first grade and have reading instruction tailored to their needs. Research shows they will have significantly fewer problems learning to read than youngsters who are not identified as dyslexic.

Evaluation techniques can determine whether your child has dyslexia, and you can ask for referrals to programs, often through your school system, that can help your youngster. Research has documented a specific teaching technique called structured literacy, which involves a system of word decoding strategies using phonology (the sound structure of words), that helps most students with dyslexia improve their reading and comprehension skills.

Signs of dyslexia in adults

Many adults with the learning disability have never been diagnosed. Some, although intelligent and creative, may never learn to read or write on a level on par with their abilities. The result is a type of hidden disability, resulting in a lack of self-confidence, possible underemployment, and difficulty pursuing higher education.

Signs of dyslexia in adults include:

  • Recalling you had trouble learning to read as a child
  • Omitting, transposing, or adding letters when you read or write
  • Feeling uncomfortable when you read out loud
  • Finding it difficult to pronounce uncommon multi-syllable words when you read
  • Avoiding courses or jobs that involve extensive reading

If many of those problems sound familiar, the International Dyslexia Association recommends consulting with a dyslexia specialist or a formal diagnostic assessment from a qualified examiner.

The good news is that people with dyslexia can learn strategies at any age to improve their reading and writing skills.


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December 19, 2023

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN