Understanding Dyslexia: Signs & Characteristics


Classroom teachers may be unable to diagnose whether or not a child has dyslexia, however; through the effective Dyslexia professional development training, teachers will be able determine with more success, the early signs and/or characteristics of a student who may possibly be struggling with dyslexia.  Then, refer these students on to a dyslexia professional or diagnostician for assessment.

Here are some possible signs and characteristics of dyslexia:

  • Delay in early language development
  • Problems with segment words and processing the differences between similar sounds
  • Slow to learn new vocabulary words
  • Experiences difficulty in copying content from a book or the board
  • Experiences difficulty in acquiring reading, writing, and spelling skills
  • Unable to recognize or read a repeated word within a book
  • Difficulty with spatial relationships, especially processing Left & Right directions, as well as difficulty participating in organized games or sports
  • Difficulty with establishing a dominant hand.  This means they will use their left hand for some tasks and right hand for another, yet never seem to write well with either hand.

Dyslexia is a difficulty with processing phonemes (sounds), thus there is a difficulty connecting the sound to a letter(s) which represent the sound(s).  Sometimes this is mistaken for a visual or auditory difficulty. Two or more learning differences can co-exists in a child.   Here are some possible characteristics which may be confused with an auditory or visual difficulty:

  • A child with dyslexia usually finds it hard to remember and/or understand what he or she hears.
  • A child with dyslexia can experience difficulty recalling the sequences of things and executing more than one direction at a time.
  • When talking, a child with dyslexia may miss or mispronounce some parts of a word or parts of a sentence.  Their words come out sounding scrambled.
  • A child with dyslexia often interchange words, replacing the actual word with a wrong or similar word instead.
  • A child with dyslexia will often know what they want to say, but have difficult “finding” the actual words necessary to express their thoughts.

Here are some other signs, though subtle, are common to children with dyslexia:

  • A child with dyslexia can show signs of withdrawing, seeming depressed
  • Sometimes, a child with dyslexia may start acting out, thus drawing the attention away from their struggles.
  • Low self-esteem & difficulty interacting with their peers and siblings
  • Sometimes, educators with a lack of knowledge about dyslexia & learning differences in general, may refer to a child with dyslexia as lazy or unmotivated because of their lack of interest in school-related activities.

Emotional signs and characteristics are as important as the characteristics which affect a child academically and should not be neglected.

Knowledge is power.  If you notice any of these signs or characteristics in your child & suspect it is because of dyslexia, I highly encourage you to seek a professional diagnostician in your child’s school or community,  to evaluate your child to discover what is causing them to struggle.  Once you have a diagnosis, the best intervention for your child can be decided.

Early intervention is always best for a child.  The earlier in their educational career they receive intervention for a learning difference, the more success they will experience.

If you have a Pre-schooler or Kindergartner and would like  to begin laying a solid foundation or enhance their learning & understanding of the Alphabetic Principle {Sound to Letter correspondence} using multi-sensory activities, take a look at these activities I use with my Early Literacy students:

Let's Explore the Alphabet



















Have a great week loving and changing the lives of your students!


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