Dyslexia Symptoms and Current Dyslexia Treatments

The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as “a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and / or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.” Dyslexia symptoms can manifest at any age, but most often appear in young children.

Those with dyslexia have trouble with most aspects of language, including reading silently and aloud, writing, and spelling. Some may also have problems understanding what they hear. Dyslexia causes difficulty in school and at work, and it can contribute to low confidence and self-esteem issues, no matter the age of the person affected.

According to the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, dyslexia is the most common learning challenge in the United States today, affecting up to 17% of school-aged children. Other sources claim the prevalence is 20%. Dyslexia is not related to IQ—in fact, many people with dyslexia have high IQs but don’t test well, so are mistakenly thought to have low IQs.

Often, dyslexia symptoms are overlooked in the school setting because the student is labeled as disruptive or withdrawn. Through great effort, students may stay close enough to the rest of the class that no one offers dyslexia treatment or support—teachers may simply say the student isn’t trying hard enough.

As the child with dyslexia grows to adulthood, he or she compensates for the challenge and is often extremely personable and helpful, which is one attempt to hide dyslexia. Other adults with dyslexia simply avoid reading and writing, or procrastinate doing them.

Dyslexia Symptoms

Children younger than five years old:

  • Developmental delays such as walking or talking late, or difficulty with fine motor skills. May be clumsy, even in familiar surroundings.
  • Reluctance when speaking, or perhaps continuing baby talk longer than age two or three.
  • Trouble telling a story familiar to him or her, often looking to an adult for help in finding the right word.
  • Slow to pick up new concepts or ideas, such as learning numbers or colors.
  • Confusion or difficulty recalling something he or she has just learned.

Children in elementary school:

  • Difficulty remember simples sequencing, as days of the week, counting to 20
  • Difficulty understanding rhyming words
  • Difficulty clapping hands to beat of music
  • Difficulty making and keeping friends
  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Difficulty understanding right-left, up-down, front-back?
  • Difficulty remembering spoken instructions
  • Difficulty with sounding out words
  • Children in junior high and high school:
  • Hard to stay on topic and getting to the point
  • Difficulty understanding instruction/directions
  • Reading aloud without substituting/skippingover words
  • Doesn’t read for pleasure
  • Hard to prepare an outline for written work
  • Hard to develop ideas in written work


  • May hide reading problems or have others do their reading
  • May ask others to help with spelling
  • Avoids writing and reading
  • Often have great “people skills”
  • May be great at spatial relationships and seeing solutions “Outside the box”
  • Unless wildly successful, often working at a “lesser” job because the reading/following instruction isssues interfere with job performance

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