Common Characteristics of Dyslexia

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Common Characteristics of Dyslexia 


      1. Speaks later than most children
      2. Pronunciation problems
      3. Slow vocabulary growth, often unable to find the right word
      4. Difficulty rhyming words
      5. Trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colors, shapes
      6. Extremely restless and easily distracted
      7. Trouble interacting with peers
      8. Difficulty following directions or routines
      9. Fine motor skills slow to develop


      1. Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds
      2. Confuses basic words (run, eat, want)
      3. Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b / d), inversions (m / w), transpositions (felt / left), and substitutions (house / home)
      4. Transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs (+, -, x, /, =)
      5. Slow to remember facts
      6. Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization
      7. Impulsive, difficulty planning
      8. Unstable pencil grip
      9. Trouble learning about time
      10. Poor coordination, unaware of physical surroudings, prone to accidents


      1. Reverses letter sequences (soiled / solid, left / felt)
      2. Slow to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other spelling strategies
      3. Avoids reading aloud
      4. Trouble with word problems
      5. Difficulty with handwriting
      6. Awkward, fist-like, or tight pencil grip
      7. Avoids writing compositions
      8. Slow or poor recall of facts
      9. Difficulty making friends
      10. Trouble understanding body language and facial expressions


      1. Continues to spell incorrectly, frequently spells the same word differently in a single piece of writing
      2. Avoids reading and writing tasks
      3. Trouble summarizing
      4. Trouble with open-ended questions on tests
      5. Weak memory skills
      6. Difficulty adjusting to new settings
      7. Works slowly
      8. Poor grasp of abstract concepts
      9. Either pays too little attention to details, or focuses on them too much
      10. Misreads information

The good news about learning disabilities is that scientists are learning more every day. Their research provides hope and direction.

If parents, teachers, and other professionals discover a child’s learning disability early and provide the right kind of help, it can give the child a chance to develop skills needed to lead a successful and productive life.

A recent National Institutes of Health study showed that 67% of young students who were at risk for reading difficulties became average or above average readers after receiving help in the early grades.

Parents are often the first to notice that “something doesn’t seem right.” If you are aware of the common signs of learning disabilities, you will be able to recognize potential problems early.

Most people will, from time to time, see one or more of the warning signs in their children. This is normal. If, however, you see several of these characteristics over a long period of time, consider the possibility of a learning disability.

Source: Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities.

What if I see the signs of a learning disability?

  • Know your child’s strengths
  • Collect information about your child’s performance
  • Have your child evaluated
  • Work as a team to help your child
  • Talk to your child about learning disabilities
  • Find accommodations that can help
  • Monitor your child’s progress
  • Know your legal rights


Organize information about your child’s learning disability:

  1. Start a folder of all letters and materials related to your child’s education
  2. Add copies of school files and names and dates of all tests and results, including medical exams and information from other professionals
  3. Collect samples of schoolwork that demonstrate your child’s difficulties, as well as strengths
  4. Keep a contact log of discussions with professionals
  5. Keep a log of your own observations


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