What are the signs of Dyslexia?

Identifying signs of dyslexia can be a difficult task. The varied rates of development among children can cause a misstep in thinking a child is dyslexic when in fact, this child is needing the extra time to normally develop.


There are no absolutes that point to a dyslexia diagnosis, especially in young children below the age of six. However, there are signs that are worth keeping an eye on.

Following are some common characteristics that may be signs of dyslexia in preschool-age children:

  • Jumbling sounds of words in speech, such as saying "pasgetti" for spaghetti, or "mawn lower" for lawn mower

  • Confusing words signifying direction in space or time, such as up and down, in and out, yesterday and tomorrow

  • Forgetting or confusing the word for known objects, such as table or chair

  • Unusual speech patterns, such as frequent hesitations or stammering

  • Difficulty remembering and following directions

  • Extremely low tolerance for frustration

  • Difficulty getting dressed, buttoning clothes, and putting shoes on the correct feet

  • Difficulty with catching, kicking, or throwing a ball; with hopping and/or skipping

  • Having a parent or older sibling with dyslexia (40% chance they will also have difficulty in learning)

Pre-reading skills that may be early signs of dyslexia

  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes and rhyming words

  • Difficulty in learning (and remembering) names of letters

  • Enjoys being read to but shows no interest in letters or words

  • Difficulty with clapping a simple rhythm

It's important to look at the overall pattern of learning including strengths as well as weaknesses.


Dyslexia in School-Age Children

Reading instruction begins in earnest during 1st and 2nd grade.


At this point you may see your child lagging behind and will begin to show signs of frustration at school.


After several months, you may realize that your child is simply not catching on to reading the same way as her peers.

The following are symptoms of dyslexia that need attention:

  • Difficulty recognizing letters of the alphabet

  • Difficulty putting letters and their sounds together to form simple words

  • Unable to remember words that she has seen before

  • Struggles to sound out every word she sees

  • Confuses letters with similar appearances, such as b and d or e and c

  • Writing that contains frequent reversals, transpositions, or inversions

  • Difficulty remembering common sight words, even after repeated practice

  • Stumbling, hesitating, or making mistakes or omissions when reading small, easy words like and or from

  • Spelling phonetically and inconsistently (e.g. "foniks" for phonics)

  • Complaining that letters and words on the page move or become blurred

  • Complaining of dizziness, headaches, or stomachaches while reading

  • Reads and rereads material with little comprehension


Most teachers have not been trained to recognize dyslexia, and may not recognize the signs in a child who is bright and actively participates in many class activities that do not involve reading or writing.

Even though a small amount of states have laws or programs requiring early screening for dyslexia, most schools do not perform such testing.


Very often children are not identified until they have fallen far behind their peers. It is up to you to be alert to possible signs and symptoms.