Signs & Symptoms of Dyslexia

Download PDF - Signs & Symptoms of Dyslexia
Signs & Symptoms of Dyslexia

In Preschoolers:
  • Delayed speech
  • Mixing up the sounds or syllables in long words
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Severe reactions to childhood illnesses
  • Constant confusion of left versus right
  • Late establishing a dominant hand
  • Difficulty learning to tie shoes
  • Trouble memorizing his/her address, phone number, or the alphabet
  • Can't create words that rhyme
In Highschool:

All of the earlier symptoms plus:
  • limited vocabulary
  • extremely poor written expression
  • large discrepancy between verbal and written communication
  • unable to master a foreign language
  • difficulty reading printed music
  • poor grades in many classes
  • may drop out of high school
In Elementary School:
  • Dysgraphia, (the slow, non-automatic handwriting that is difficult to read.)
  • Letter or number reversals continuing past first grade
  • Extreme difficulty learning cursive
  • Slow, choppy inaccurate reading: guesses based on shape or context; skips or misreads prepositions (at, to, of); ignores suffixes; can't sound out unknown words
  • Terrible spelling
  • Often can't remember sight words (they, were, does) or homonyms (their, they're and there)
  • Difficulty telling time on a clock with hands
  • Trouble with math: memorizing multiplication tables; memorizing a sequence of steps; directionality
  • Extremely messy bedroom, backpack, and desk
  • Dreads going to school; complains of stomach aches or headaches; may have nightmares about school
In Adults:
Educational history similar to above, plus:
  • Slow reader
  • May have to read a page two or three times to understand it
  • Terrible speller
  • Difficulty putting thoughts onto paper; dreads writing memos or letters
  • Still has difficulty with right versus left
  • Often gets lost, even in a familiar city
  • Sometimes confuses b and d, especially when tired or sick

Copyright © 2001 by Susan Barton. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Since 40% of dyslexic individuals also are ADD / ADHD, the following chart is also provided as useful information.

Download PDF - Signs & Symptoms of ADD/ADHD

Signs & Symptoms of ADD/ADHD

If a child frequently displays many of these symptoms, their behaviour is age and situation-inappropriate, and it is interfering with the child's ability to be successful in school, that child's parents and teachers should learn more about ADD/ADHD.

Physical Activity
  • Either:
  • Can't sit still, feels restless; has boundless energy; always fidgeting, restless feet, etc.
  • Or:
  • Couch potato, lethargic, slow, space cadet, physically there - mentally gone
Frequent mood swings:
  • Feels emotions intensely; Higher highs and lower lows; Low tolerance for frustration. May have rage attacks
  • Trouble deciding what to pay attention to or what's important
  • Trouble getting started on a task; often feels overwhelmed
  • Trouble staying focused on repetitive tasks until the task is complete; can't do homework independently
  • Trouble shifting attention to a new task
Highly Distractible
  • Distracted by any change in environment; Any noise, movement, or smell
  • Also distracted by their own thoughts; Daydreamer
  • Can't stay focused for long; except Nintendo-type games or TV, or a new or scary activity. May hyperfocus on a hobby
  • Starts many projects; But rarely finishes them
  • Can't wait to be called on; Blurts out answers in class
  • Extremely impatient; Difficulty to wait for his/her turn
  • Often acts before thinking; Doesn't seem to learn from mistakes
Behaviour in the Classroom:
  • overly excitable during group play
  • impulsive behaviour
  • impatient
  • severe reactions to failure
  • temper tantrums
  • poor visual motor coordination
  • slow to complete work
  • easily confused by instructions
  • poor time management
  • lots of careless errors; won't slow down or double-check their work
  • chatterbox; talks excessively, interrupts
  • forgets rules and blurts out answer before question is finished
  • bossy
  • strong sense of justice / fairness
  • doesn't turn in homework
  • insatiable demand
Doesn't Listen Well
  • Confused by multi-step oral directions
No tolerance for boredom
  • May start arguments if things are too calm
Time Management
  • Always rushing; can't slow down
  • Makes careless mistakes; Hates to doublecheck
  • Doesn't use class time well; Feels rushed by teachers & parents; Puts things off until the last minute
Odd Sleep Cycles
  • Night owl, hates to go to bed
  • Difficult to wake up in the morning
  • May be a restless sleeper
  • Bedwetting or sleepwalking
Inconsistent Performance
  • Good days and bad days; Some days they can do the schoolwork; Other days they can't
  • Messy room, desk, backpack; Constantly loses or misplaces things
Other Symptoms
  • Chatterbox; talks excessively; Interrupts conversations frequently
  • Strong sense of justice; bossy
  • Lots of allergies
  • Terrible penmanship
  • Trouble remembering daily routines
  • Relatives with ADD/ADHD
  • wants to be centre of attention
  • very self-centred
  • extraordinarily persistent
  • perpetual hunger for new and novel activities
  • chronically restless
  • no tolerance for boredom
  • disturbed sleep patterns (night owl)
  • lots of allergies
  • excessive display of affection
  • fail to anticipate consequences of actions
  • overly gullible; easily led by peers
  • moody
  • never finish what they start; jump from task to task
  • doesn't appear to listen
  • love dangerous physical activities
Caveats and Conclusions
  • All kids do these things some of the time; it's the clustering of symptoms, the intensity, and the persistence of symptoms. ADD/ADHD students do not display age appropriate behaviours. These are normal behaviours taken to the excess.
  • ADD/ADHD student is in a constant state of overwhelm and anxiety; to them, world is very unpredictable; fight or flight / panic responses
Copyright © 2002 by Susan Barton. All rights reserved. Used with permission.