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Signs of Dyslexia

Signs of dyslexia and related learning disabilities vary by developmental stage and individual child.  Investigate further if you notice difficulties that persist over time, particularly if they appear to impede learning.  Talk about your concerns with your child’s pediatrician and ask for referrals.  Discuss observations with your child’s teacher and request that they carefully monitor your child for signs of language-based learning differences.  


Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity

Comprehensive list of signs; also includes characteristic strengths of dyslexic learners Dyslexia Signs at Different Ages

One-page handout listing signs by grade level

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) Handbook

This must-have PDF resource provides a list of general characteristics, listed below:

Oral language  

  • Late learning to talk  

  • Difficulty pronouncing words  

  • Difficulty acquiring vocabulary or using age appropriate grammar  

  • Difficulty following directions  

  • Confusion with before/after, right/left, and so on  

  • Difficulty learning the alphabet, nursery rhymes, or songs  

  • Difficulty understanding concepts and relationships  

  • Difficulty with word retrieval or naming problems 



  • Difficulty learning to read  

  • Difficulty identifying or generating rhyming words, or counting syllables in words (phonological awareness)  

  • Difficulty with hearing and manipulating sounds in words (phonemic awareness)  

  • Difficulty distinguishing different sounds in words (phonological processing)  

  • Difficulty in learning the sounds of letters (phonics)  

  • Difficulty remembering names and shapes of letters, or naming letters rapidly  

  • Transposing the order of letters when reading or spelling  

  • Misreading or omitting common short words  

  • “Stumbles” through longer words  

  • Poor reading comprehension during oral or silent reading, often because words are not accurately read  

  • Slow, laborious oral reading 


Written Language  

  • Difficulty putting ideas on paper  

  • Many spelling mistakes  

  • May do well on weekly spelling tests, but may have spelling mistakes in daily work  

  • Difficulty proofreading 


Other common symptoms that occur with dyslexia  

  • Difficulty naming colors, objects, and letters rapidly, in a sequence (Rapid Automatized Naming)  

  • Weak memory for lists, directions, or facts  

  • Needs to see or hear concepts many times to learn them  

  • Distracted by visual or auditory stimuli  

  • Downward trend in achievement test scores or school performance  

  • Inconsistent school work  

  • Teacher says, “If only she would try harder,” or “He’s lazy.”

  • Relatives may have similar problems

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