What are the Signs of Dyslexia?

A quick method of determining whether or not a more detailed investigation of possible dyslexia is sensible, is to use an indicator checklist – such as the ones provided below.

  • Look at the indicators for the age of the person you are thinking about.
  • Also look at the indicators for a younger person.  Do these still apply?  Did some apply when the person was younger?
  • If several indicators are present, further investigation may be advisable.
  • A family history of dyslexia makes it more likely that the person you are considering also has dyslexia.


A preschool child may:

  • have a history of delays in speaking, making sentences or pronouncing words correctly.
  • have a history of ‘glue ear’ or similar early childhood difficulties.
  • find it hard to remember the names of familiar objects, e.g. spoon, cup.
  • have difficulty learning nursery rhymes.
  • have other members of the family with similar difficulties

Primary School

A primary school age child may:

  • have particular difficulty learning to read, write and spell.
  • have difficulty remembering sequences such as the alphabet and months of the year.
  • have difficulty telling left from right.
  • have difficulty copying accurately from board or textbook.
  • have difficulty remembering and following oral instructions.
  • have persistent and continued reversing of letters and figures, e.g. ’15’ for 51, ‘b’ for d.
  • take longer than average over written work.
  • experience lack of self-confidence and increasing frustration.
  • in other ways be a bright and alert child.

Secondary School

A secondary school age child may have:

  • a tendency to read inaccurately and without adequate comprehension.
  • inconsistent spelling.
  • difficulty with planning and writing essays.
  • difficulty getting started and completing work.
  • a tendency to get ‘tied up’ using long words, e.g. preliminary, philosophical.
  • a tendency to confuse verbal instructions, places, times and dates.
  • greater difficulty in learning a foreign language.
  • low self-esteem.
  • frustration which has led to behavioural or emotional difficulties.
  • disorganised at home and school.


In addition to earlier characteristics, some of which may still persist, the following are indicators of dyslexia in an adult:

  • difficulty with map reading.
  • difficulty filling in forms and writing reports.
  • tendency to miss and confuse appointment times.
  • concerns about training or promotion.
  • difficulty structuring work schedules.
  • low opinion of capabilities.
  • constantly loses and forgets items and information.