Dyslexia symptoms & signs

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Are you able to spot the symptoms and signs of dyslexia in yourself or other people? If you can’t, this article shows you what to look out for.

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Understanding how to spot learning disabilities as early as possible is essential. For example, let’s assume a child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). That condition has a marked impact on their ability to learn.

Spotting the symptoms of ADHD early on allows teachers to create better lessons for the student.

The same goes for dyslexic children.

If a child’s teacher can spot the common signs of dyslexia, they can help that child with their reading problems. This article explains dyslexia’s most common symptoms for each age group.

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects reading and writing skills. The condition also affects a person’s ability to process information. As such, dyslexic people may struggle to remember the information they see and hear.

The condition affects verbal memory, verbal processing speeds, and phonological awareness. In other words, dyslexic children often find it hard to spot the patterns in writing and speech.

About 10% of people have some form of dyslexia. These estimates can vary wildly, with some researchers speculating that various forms of reading disorders exist in up to 20% of the worldwide population.

The signs of dyslexia for all ages

Many people know some of the more common dyslexia symptoms. Difficulty learning new words is common. So too are poor spelling, word problems, and reading difficulties. However, many don’t know that dyslexia symptoms present differently depending on your age.


It’s often hard to identify dyslexia in pre-schoolers. Children in this age group are still developing basic reading comprehension skills. Still, there are some signs for teachers and parents to look out for:

  • Having trouble with learning basic nursery rhymes is a common symptom.
  • Baby talk that continues as the child enters kindergarten. Mispronouncing simple words is also common.
  • Struggling to recognize simple word patterns, like bat, cat, and rat.
  • Having a hard time understanding the letters in their name.

It’s also worth looking at your family history. Dyslexia appears to be a partially genetic condition. If your family has a history of the condition, it’s more likely your child will have it.

Early school age

By the time your child reaches elementary school, they should have some basic reading skills. It’s not uncommon for students to have trouble learning words at this age. But young children who demonstrate the following may have dyslexia:

  • Issues with phonics, which is a method of correlating sounds with letters, are common. For example, the student may not connect the “c” sound with the letter itself.
  • Difficulty understanding that words come apart into letters and patterns.
  • Self-esteem issues. Students may try to hide when it’s time to read.

Some may create substitutions because they can’t read simple words. For example, a dyslexic child may see a picture of a cat with the word “cat” underneath it. But instead of reading “cat,” they may say it’s a kitty.

Middle school and high school

As your child goes up the grade levels, their issues with decoding written language become more apparent. You’ll likely start seeing problems with reading, speaking, and your child’s social and school skills.

The following are symptoms related to reading:

  • Students may avoid reading aloud or in front of the class.
  • When they do read, they may need extra help with words.
  • Guessing when confronted with a new word. Your child may struggle to sound the word out to find the right word.

You may also see the following in their speaking and writing:

  • Messy handwriting with a lot of misspelled words.
  • Using vague language when they can’t find the right word for something.
  • Lots of pauses when talking.
  • Confusing words that sound similar, such as ocean and lotion.
  • Taking more time to respond to questions than other students.

Finally, you may see the following social and school issues that signal the need for special education:

  • Low self-esteem can lead to your child spending a lot of time alone.
  • Extreme difficulty learning a foreign language.
  • Issues with remembering dates, times, and items on lists.
  • Struggling to finish tests within a time limit.

Test for dyslexia

It’s not always easy to spot the symptoms described in this article. Many children can hide their symptoms, even without knowing it. Also, some children may have similar social symptoms to dyslexic children without being dyslexic themselves.

Thankfully, some tests can help you determine if you or a family member have dyslexia.

Speechify’s Dyslexia Assessment is one of them. The test is available for free from the Speechify website and will help you see if you show signs of dyslexia.

Why should you take the test?

  • Figure out if you have a learning difference.
  • Understand what that difference may be.
  • Get more time for exams.
  • Gain access to special education and accommodations.

All you need to do to get the test is send us your details, and we’ll send a copy over to you.

Keep in mind that this assessment is not a replacement for an official diagnosis from a medical professional. A neuropsychologist can provide a comprehensive test and diagnose your child properly.

Speechify – the text to speech tool for dyslexic people

After reading this article, you may believe you or a loved one have dyslexia symptoms. The result from your test may even confirm that theory.

What should you do next?

Finding the right tools to help you to manage dyslexia is crucial. That’s where Speechify comes in.

Speechify is a text to speech app that reads any text placed into it out loud. It has a simple benefit for dyslexic people:

It can read text for you if you’re struggling to read it yourself.

In addition to being an accessibility app, Speechify comes loaded with valuable features. For example, it can read text in 14 languages, making it ideal for foreign language learners. The app also features several male and female narrators, allowing you to choose the voice that works best for you.

With Speechify, reading becomes more accessible than ever for people with dyslexia. And you can try the app for free today via the Speechify website.


When do signs of dyslexia appear?

Signs of dyslexia can appear before your child reaches school age. However, many symptoms only become clear later on.

What are red flags of dyslexia?

Red flags for dyslexia include difficulty with reading new words, misspelling words when writing, and delayed language development.

What is the difference between dyslexia and dyscalculia?

Dyslexia involves reading and writing issues related to words. Dyscalculia is a similar condition that makes it difficult for people to do simple math.

What is the most common symptom of dyslexia?

Difficulty reading is the most common sign of dyslexia, but a proper assessment is required to reach a diagnosis.

What are the signs of dyslexia in adults?

Adults exhibit many of the same signs of dyslexia as high school-aged children. However, side effects may be more pronounced, such as difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and self-esteem issues.

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