• Characteristics of Dyslexia

    The characteristics of dyslexia vary from person to person, as does the severity of the condition. Many young children exhibit one or more of the following characteristics, but that may not mean that they are dyslexic. No single symptom characterizes dyslexia.

    It is the persistent occurrence of a number of these symptoms -- in spite of efforts to correct these weaknesses through proven interventions -- that will alert parents and teachers to the possibility of dyslexia. Interventions must have been documented before a diagnosis of dyslexia can be made.

    The primary difficulties of a student with dyslexia are in phonemic awareness and manipulation, single word decoding, spelling, and reading fluency. These difficulties can lead to problems in reading comprehension and writing.

    Generally, characteristics of dyslexia show up as difficulties with:

    • Learning sound/letters correspondence
    • Difficulty in learning to write the alphabet in sequence
    • Having to sound out each letter when reading words
    • Remembering basic sight words, especially irregular words that cannot be sounded out
    • Reading real words in isolation
    • Decoding nonsense or irregular words (such as two and does)
    • Terrible spelling and handwriting, in spite of adequate spelling instruction and practice
    • Letter transpositions, additions, omissions, and reversals
    • Slow, labored and inaccurate oral reading
    • Retention of information
    • Poor reading comprehension, better listening comprehension
    • Learning to tie shoes
    • Directional confusion (left/right, over/under, before/after)
    • Can't create words that rhyme
    • Trouble telling time on clock with hands
    • Mixing up the sounds and syllables in longer words
    • Late in establishing a dominant hand
    • Family history, ideally diagnosed and not just suspected
    • Furthermore, these can be separated into two categories:
    • Spoken language difficulties
    • delayed speech
    • mispronunciations, mixing up sounds and syllables in words
    • difficulties with word retrieval, needing time to summon oral response
    • confusing words that sound alike, saying "tornado" instead of "volcano"
    • using imprecise language, saying "stuff", "things" instead of the proper name of an object. Using lots of "ums" during speaking, lack of quickness in speech
    • pausing or hesitating often when speaking 


    Reading difficulties

    • slow progress in acquiring reading skills, in spite of educational opportunities
    • lack of a strategy to read new, unknown words
    • inability to read small function words such as that, an and in
    • oral reading that is choppy and difficult to understand, filled with mispronounciations, substitutions, and omissions
    • reading causes fatigue
    • poor performance on multiple choice tests; grades do not reflect student's oral knowledge of subject
    • requires quiet environment and extra effort to concentrate on reading


    A summary of dyslexia is given in the following Powerpoint file:

    Hidden in Plain Sight

    11 Warning Signs in the Classroom