What is Dyslexia and its Symptoms in Adults and Children

Mar 11, 2016
Tagged with: What is Dyslexia and its Symptoms in Adults and Children

Dyslexia is a particular type of learning disorder, which affects the way an individual processes information. One of the most peculiar aspects of this disorder is that it manifests itself differently in each individual. This makes diagnosing Dyslexia a challenge, since there isn’t a specific test for it. Instead, in order to discern whether or not an individual may be suffering from dyslexia, you need to be watchful for a number of signs and symptoms. Depending on how frequently these occur, and how much they interfere with the individual’s life, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with a professional who specializes in learning disorders.

What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia can be a difficult disorder to understand. It is a type of learning disability which affects an individual’s ability to read. It is often referred to as a type of specific learning disorder which affects the way an individual processes languages, and their ability to read.

Unfortunately, upon hearing the term ‘learning disability’, many people wrongly assume that dyslexia affects an individual’s intelligence or IQ level. This would be a myth since many people with dyslexia are extremely intelligent and have phenomenal IQ levels. This includes the renowned physicist Albert Einstein.

To date, there is no cure for dyslexia. Instead, children and adults with dyslexia are taught to use certain tools and techniques to manage their disorder. Essentially, these individuals require a different approach when it comes to learning.

What are some of the challenges of Dyslexia?

Individuals who have dyslexia face a number of challenges in their day-to-day lives. Remember, their brains are hardwired to process information differently. This can cause problems in certain environments such as school, and workplace settings, where the approach to learning typically caters for the majority of the individuals.

Dyslexia primarily manifests itself in difficulties related to reading, learning languages, and identifying sounds. For instance, children with dyslexia may struggle to relate letters, words, and speech sounds.
Some of the many challenges dyslexia poses include:

  • Keeping up with the curriculum in school
  • Making friends
  • Completing sequential tasks
  • Remembering directions/ a sequence of things
  • Loss in self-confidence
  • Doubting ones abilities
  • Poor communications skills

Dyslexia signs and symptoms

As mentioned earlier, dyslexia is a learning disorder which can be difficult to diagnose since it manifests itself different from individual to individual. This makes vigilance very important when it comes to identifying the presence of a learning disability.

The following signs and symptoms are by no means exhaustive. Furthermore, an individual will likely exhibit their own unique combination of the following signs. It is generally accepted that if your child, partner, or family member exhibit five or more of these signs over an extended period of time, a consultation with a specialist may be necessary.

Personality & Behavioral Traits
In terms of certain personality/behavioral traits, individuals with dyslexia may exhibit the following:

  • Very messy/disorderly or compulsively clean and tidy
  • Prone to getting ear infections
  • May wet their beds well past the early years
  • Very sensitive
  • Have a strong sense of justice and what’s right or wrong
  • Are likely to exhibit more pronounced signs and symptoms of dyslexia when they are stressed or under pressure
  • Have poor self-esteem
  • Glaring disparities between their potential and performances
  • Frequently zone out, or find it hard to pay attention

Reading & Writing

  • Have very poor handwriting
  • Write very slowly as compared to their peers
  • Struggles to take dictation
  • Mixes up common sounds of letter combinations
  • Struggle when asked to read aloud
  • Prefer to read in their head
  • Prone to headaches or dizziness while reading
  • Will frequently mess up words
  • May complain of vision problems while reading, but tests for visual acuity come out clear
  • May struggle with reading comprehension
  • Poor spelling, typically spell phonetically but struggle to remember spellings

Speech & Hearing

  • Speak with difficulty
  • Struggle to put their thoughts into words
  • May stutter or halt frequently while speaking
  • Easily distracted by sounds
  • May hear things that weren’t said in a conversation
  • Frequently mispronounces words
  • Speech problems get worse when under stress

Signs of Dyslexia in children
Where children are concerned, it’s important for parents to be extra vigilant about spotting the signs and symptoms of dyslexia. If spotted at an early age, you can get your child the help they need in order to succeed. An early diagnosis is also helpful for your child to avoid feelings of inferiority. Furthermore, for children with dyslexia, there are specialized schools such as Winston Prep, which have curriculum designed specifically for children with learning disorders.

If you’re concerned about your child, ask yourself the following questions. Does or did your child:

  • Learn to speak at a later age than normal?
  • Struggle to rhyme?
  • Have problems with following directions?
  • Have a short attention span or is very easily distracted?
  • Complain that their homework is too hard for them?
  • Struggle to remember the right names of things?
  • Have problems reading?
  • Have problems with the alphabets?
  • Struggle to develop motor skills?
  • Confuse words?
  • Avoid reading or writing?
  • Have very poor handwriting?

The presence of a number of these signs may indicate that your child is suffering from dyslexia and needs to see a specialist.

Symptoms of Dyslexia in adults
Awareness surrounding dyslexia and other learning disorders has increased over the years. However, there was a time when not much was known about dyslexia, and there was a stigma attached to it. For this reason, many adults with dyslexia were never diagnosed with it.

Here are some of the common symptoms of dyslexia in adults:

  • May struggle to get to the point of a conversation
  • Has very poor spellings
  • Find it difficult to complete a task or stay on a task
  • Struggles to pick up on another person’s emotions or moods or is highly intuitive and can read people very well
  • Is a hands on learner
  • Is a perfectionist
  • Gets easily stressed and overwhelmed
  • May struggle to remember the proper sequence of events
  • Poor recall of conversations
  • Mispronounces words or misspeaks without realizing it
  • Has a fear of new things
  • Has problems with following directions

Pinpointing the signs and symptoms of dyslexia can be challenging. In fact, the common signs and symptoms are often inconsistent and may vary depending on a specific situation or day. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant if you’re concerned that someone you love may have dyslexia. Keep track of the presence of any of the above mentioned signs and note down how frequently they occur. If it becomes clear that the individual shows these signs, a combination of them, especially over a period of time, a consultation with a specialist is necessary for them to get the help they need.

Author: Sandra John



  • bobl07

    This is such an important topic yet very much unknown. Thank you so much for these signs.