Indicators of Dyslexia

Obvious 'good' and 'bad' days, for no apparent reason; Confusion between directional words, e.g. up/down, in/out; difficulty with sequence, e.g. coloured bead sequence, later with days of the week or numbers; and a family history of dyslexia/reading difficulties are all indicators of dyslexic difficulties. If a child is exhibiting several of these characteristics, further investigations should be made as they may be dyslexic.

The following information is categorised into pre-school, primary and secondary age. It should not be considered a checklist as every child with dyslexia has a different profile.


Pre-school

Language indicators

  • Has persistent jumbled phrases, e.g. 'cobbler's club' for 'toddler's club'
  • Use of substitute words e.g. 'lampshade' for 'lamppost'.
  • Inability to remember the label for known objects, e.g. 'table, chair'.
  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes and rhyming words, e.g. 'cat, mat, sat'.
  • Later than expected speech development.

Non-language indicators

  • May have walked early but did not crawl - was a 'bottom shuffler' or 'tummy wriggler'.
  • Persistent difficulties in getting dressed efficiently and putting shoes on the correct feet.
  • Enjoys being read to but shows no interest in letters or words.
  • Is often accused of not listening or paying attention.
  • Excessive tripping, bumping into things and falling over.
  • Difficulty with catching, kicking or throwing a ball; with hopping and/or skipping.
  • Difficulty with clapping a simple rhythm.

Primary school age

Language indicators

  • Has particular difficulty with reading and spelling.
  • Puts letters and figures the wrong way round.
  • Has difficulty remembering tables, alphabet, formulae etc.
  • Leaves letters out of words or puts them in the wrong order.
  • Still occasionally confuses 'b' and 'd' and words such as 'no/on'.
  • Still needs to use fingers or marks on paper to make simple calculations.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Has problems understanding what he/she has read.
  • Takes longer than average to do written work.
  • Problems processing language at speed.

Non-language indicators

  • Has difficulty with tying shoe laces, tie, dressing.
  • Has difficulty telling left from right, order of days of the week, months of the year etc.
  • Surprises you because as he/she is bright and alert in other areas.
  • Has a poor sense of direction and still confuses left and right.
  • Lacks confidence and has a poor self image.

Secondary school age

  • Still reads inaccurately.
  • Still has difficulties in spelling.
  • Needs to have instructions and telephone numbers repeated.
  • Confuses places, times, dates.
  • Has difficulty with planning and writing essays.
  • Has difficulty processing complex language or long series of instructions at speed.

What can I do now? 

Follow this link the Getting help for your child page