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Following is a list of dyslexia symptoms. Displaying just some of these symptoms does not automatically mean that a child has dyslexia. If a child displays many of these symptoms, though, the child may have dyslexia.
- Oral reading is choppy, not fluent and smooth.
- Reads words in the wrong order.
- Skips small words such as a, the, to, of, were, and from.
- Recognizes a word on one page but not on the next page.
- Inserts extra letters in a word when reading. For example, may read tail as trail. The misread word often has the same beginning and ending letter.
- Deletes letters in a word when reading. For example, may read sag instead of sang. Again, the misread word often has the same beginning and ending letter.
- Switches the order of letters in a word. For example, may read mug as gum.
- Substitutes words with similar meanings when reading stories. For example, may read said instead ofshouted.
- Substitutes similar-looking words, such as house for horse.
- Ignores punctuation when reading.
- Makes up part of the story based on the illustrations or context clues instead of reading the actual words on the page.
- Loses place on the page, skips lines, or rereads lines.
- Reads at a level substantially below that of peers.
- Poor reading comprehension.
- Difficulty reading single words on a flashcard.
- Is fatigued after reading for a short time.
- Inserts extra letters in a word when spelling. For example, may write tail as trail. The misspelled word often has the same beginning and ending letter.
- Deletes letters in a word when spelling. For example, may write caft instead of craft. Again, the misspelled word often has the same beginning and ending letter.
- Switches the order of letters in a word. For example, may write speical instead of special.
- Has difficulty copying words from another paper or the board. Copies letter by letter, referring to the original copy for almost every letter.
- Messy papers, including many crossed-out or erased words.
- Misspells many common words like said, there, and does.
- May be able to spell the words on a spelling test after much studying, but then misspells the same words outside of spelling class.
- Learns to talk later than expected. Most children say their first words around 12 months of age and phrases by 18-24 months.
- Speaks in “baby talk” longer than his or her peers, sometimes until he or she is five or six years old.
- Mispronounces words like spaghetti (pisgetti), animal (aminal), or specific (pacific).
- Has difficulty repeating multisyllable words.
- Difficulty retrieving words. Has the sensation that words are at the tip of the tongue, but inaccessible. Uses vague words like “stuff” instead of more descriptive words.
Dyslexics often have difficulty with sequencing (remembering a sequence). This leads to symptoms such as:
- Difficulty remembering the entire alphabet.
- Difficulty following instructions that have more than one step.
- Difficulty remembering the days of the week and months of the year.
- Difficulty remembering phone numbers.
- Difficulty following spoken instructions.
Many dyslexics also have dysgraphia, which is a developmental disability that makes it difficult to master handwriting. Dysgraphia can be related in part to sequencing difficulties and in part to fine-motor control.
- Slow, laborious writing.
- Irregularly shaped letters.
- Improper pencil grip.
- Dominant hand isn’t established until later than peers. May switch from right to left hand while writing or coloring until after age 7 or 8.
- May write letters in the wrong direction. For example, instead of writing an o in a counterclockwise direction, child may write it in a clockwise direction. Instead of starting the letter l at the top, child may start the letter from the bottom.
- Confuses letters with a similar shape, especially the pairs b-d, m-w, and n-u.
- Improper use of uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Poor spacing between letters, words, and sentences.
- Handwriting looks “childlike” even into the teen years.
Different people can have different signs and symptoms of dyslexia. There is a wide variation, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe.