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what are the signs of DYSLEXIA?

Most dyslexics exhibit lots of the following traits and behaviors. These characteristics can vary from day-to-day or minute-to-minute depending on how tired and/or stressed we are.


General Characteristics of Dyslexia


  • Are bright, intelligent and articulate but have difficulty reading, writing, or spelling at peer level


  • Are labeled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, “not trying hard enough,” and/or as having  “behavior problems”


  • Aren’t “behind enough” or “struggle enough” to be helped by your school and/or school SENCO


  • Are very high in intelligence, yet may not test well academically


  • You test well orally, but not well on written tests


  • You feel dumb, have poor self-esteem and get easily frustrated and emotional about having to read at school


  • Despite good grades, you often feel dumb or are concerned that your peers think you are not smart


  • Are talented in art, drama, music and sports


  • Have difficulty sustaining attention and may appear to “zone out” or daydream often


  • Have poor sense of time (lose track of time)


  • Have poor sense of direction (get lost easily)


  • Have difficulty with directionality (such as distinguishing: left from right, up from down, over from under and now from later)

  • Learn best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids

  • Are prone to motion-sickness



Characteristics Relating To Vision, Reading, And Spelling


  • Experience dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading


  • Find letters, numbers, words, sequences or verbal explanations confusing


  • Your reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words


  • Have difficulty with vision (for example, eye tracking), yet eye exams don’t reveal a problem


  • When reading a story or a sentence, you substitute a word that means the same thing but that doesn't look at all similar (such as happy for joyful, cash for money, run for sprint or home for house)


  • Read and reread passages with little comprehension


  • Spell phonetically and inconsistently


  • Spell the same word differently in the same sentence, paragraph or essay


  • Frequently misspell common sight words, such as "they,” “what,” “where,” “which,” “does” and “because”


  • Work very hard to memorize spelling words for a spelling test and do well on the test, but then quickly forget the words you got right or misspell the word when using it in a sentence


  • Have great difficulty on a spelling test if the words are read out in a different order from when we studied them


  • Have great difficultly learning a foreign language

Characteristics Relating To Hearing And Speech


  • Often pronounce the names of people and places incorrectly


  • Have sensitive hearing and are easily distracted by sounds


  • Have difficulty putting thoughts into words


  • Need extra time to respond to questions


  • Speak in halting phrases often leaving sentences incomplete


  • Struggle to retrieve words; experience the “it was on the tip of my tongue” moment frequently


  • Rarely have a fast response in conversations and/or writing


  •  Struggle to get thoughts across when put on the spot


  • Have difficulty summarizing a story


  • Stutter under stress


  •  Mispronounce long words


  • Transpose phrases, words, and syllables when speaking



Characteristics Relating To Writing And Motor Skills


  • Frequently misspell when copying something from a book, worksheet or the whiteboard


  • Have an unusual pencil grip


  • Have illegible handwriting


  • Have difficulty expressing ideas in an organized way


  • Have trouble using proper spelling, grammar and punctuation


  • Being unsure as to when to use capitals whether at the beginning of sentences or proper names, including sometimes randomly capitalizing words in a sentence that shouldn't be a capital letter


  • Have a tendency to write in sentence fragments


  • Have difficulty understanding that a sentence needs to have a "subject" (what the sentence is about) and "predicate" (the action of the subject) to have a complete sentence


  • Have trouble seeing your errors when trying to proofread, whether it is spelling, capitalization, grammar, or organization of sentences


  • Have difficulty staying within the margins and writing on the lines


  • Have trouble finishing tests on time


  • Are clumsy and uncoordinated


  • Have trouble with team sports, especially ball-related sports


  • Have difficulties with fine and/or gross motor skills



Characteristics Relating To Math And Time Management


  • Have trouble accurately copying an answer from one spot to a different spot


  • Depend on finger counting and other tricks when doing math problems


  • Struggle to show their math calculations


  •   Often "see" math in your head, so showing their work in almost impossible


  • Have trouble memorizing multiplication tables


  • Can count, but have difficulty counting objects and dealing with money


  • Can do arithmetic, but struggle with word problems


  • Cannot grasp algebra or higher math


  • Have difficulty telling time, managing time and having a sense of the passage of time

  • Have difficulty learning sequenced information (for example, the days of the week)



Characteristics Relating To Memory And Cognition


  • Have excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces


  • Have poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced


  • Think primarily with images and feelings, as opposed to with sounds or words



Characteristics Relating To Behavior, Health, Development And Personality


  • Are either extremely messy or compulsively tidy


  • Are perceived as either a class clown, a trouble-maker or too quiet


  • Had unusually early or late developmental stages (talking, crawling, walking, tying shoes)


  • Are prone to ear infections


  • Are sensitive to foods, additives, and chemical products


  • Can be an extra-deep or a very light sleeper


  • Have unusually high or low tolerance for pain


  • Have a strong sense of justice and be emotionally sensitive


  • Strive for perfection and will redo something over and over to make it "perfect"


  • Have trouble fitting in with classmates


  • Mistakes and symptoms significantly increase when you are tired, under time pressure, emotionally stressed or are not feeling well



Strengths Related To Having Dyspraxia


  • Have a high learning capability


  • Grades noticeably improve when given additional time on tests


  • Excellence in writing if focus in placed on content instead of spelling


  • Very articulate in expressing ideas and feelings


  • Tend to be exceptionally empathic, warm and thoughtful towards others


  • Are success in areas that are not dependent on rote memory


  • Are good at high-level conceptualization


  • Have the ability to come up with original insights


  • Are prone to big-picture thinking


  • Are inclined to think outside of the box


  • Possess a noticeable resilience and ability to adapt


Not all kids who have difficulties with these skills have dyslexia. Formal testing of reading, language, and writing skills is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia.

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