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Signs of Dyslexia

44 Characteristics of a Potential Dyslexic

Look for a collection of the following developmental and perceptual differences, abilities, personality traits, and behaviors. These characteristics can vary from day-to-day or minute-to-minute, depending on environmental factors. The most consistent thing about dyslexics is they are consistently inconsistent! Everyone experiences a few of these difficulties at some time, especially when tired; the dyslexic has a cluster, at the very least, of these characteristics and cannot stop them. When you are dyslexic, this list will really be a “fit” for you. However, it is not likely that you or your dyslexic will have every trait below.

You can circle the items which are appropriate in order to keep track of how many characteristics apply.

Learning Style

  • Had unusual developmental stages (crawling, walking, talking).
  • Appears bright, highly intelligent, & articulate, but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.
  • High in IQ, yet may not test well academically.
  • Feels dumb; has poor self-esteem; hides or covers up weaknesses with compensations.
  • Tests well orally, but not on written tests.
  • Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, visual aids, & observation.

Memory & Cognition

Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.
Poor memory for sequences, and unfamiliar facts and information.
Thinks with images or feelings, not the sounds of words (little internal dialogue).


  • Extremely disorderly.
  • Isn’t “behind enough” or “bad enough” to be helped in school; or school unable to help.
  • Easily frustrated or emotional about school, reading, writing, or math.
  • Prone to allergies, ear infections; sensitivity to products, foods, and chemicals.
  • Can be extra deep or light sleeper.
  • Bed wetting beyond appropriate age.
  • High or low tolerance for pain.
  • Strong sense of justice.
  • Sensitive, emotional; strives for perfection.
  • Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health.

Language & Reading Skills

  • Complains of dizziness, headaches, and stomach aches while reading. Doesn’t read for pleasure.
  • Confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences, or verbal explanations.
  • Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions, and reversals in letters, words, and/or numbers.
  • Reads aloud well, but can’t remember what was read.
  • Spells phonetically and inconsistently.
  • Hears things not said or apparent to others; easily distracted by sounds.
  • Difficulty putting thoughts into words; speaks in halting phrases, leaves sentences incomplete, stumbles or stutters under stress, mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words, and syllables when speaking.


  • Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing, or copying.
  • Difficulties with vision, yet eye exams don’t reveal a problem.
  • Keen-sighted and observant, or lacks depth perception and peripheral vision.

Motor & Dexterity

  • Handwriting varies or is illegible.
  • Trouble with writing or copying; pencil grip is unusual, too tight, or too low.
  • Uncoordinated, poor at ball or team sports, difficulty with motor skills and tasks.
  • Prone to motion sickness.
  • Can be ambidextrous.
  • Confuses left/right, over/under, front/behind.

Time & Math

  • Difficulty telling time, managing time, being on time, learning sequenced information or tasks.
  • Shows dependence on finger counting tricks.
  • Can count, but has difficulty counting objects and dealing with money.
  • Can do arithmetic, but fails word problems; cannot grasp algebra or higher math.

The Characteristics of a Potential Dyslexic

The Dyslexia & Learning Disability Center® works with children, teens and adults with these characteristics every day, so the disabling aspects of dyslexia are correctable & self-manageable and the talents of dyslexia are enhanced!

Where Your Talents Are Encouraged & Your Gifts Reward the World

Dyslexia & Learning
Disability Center Inc.®

Betty Ann Judah
Phone: 702-489-3241

Training & Tutoring Headquarters

Las Vegas, Nevada & Beyond

Mon, April 5, 2010
Hi Betty Ann,
“First off, I wanted to sincerely thank you for your support. I have been accepted into Golden Gate University’s Environmental Law Scholars program and received a scholarship, none of which would have been possible without your help.

“Thank you again, and I look forward to staying in touch with you. I have attached the final copies of both the addendum addressing my dyslexia, and my personal statement. Feel free to use them in any way you see fit.”
– Dylan, age 25

(From Dylan’s Addendum, in his application for law school)
“I have a strong sense of justice. I am highly creative, perceiving my surroundings multidimensionally, experiencing thought as if it is vivid reality.

“While most people consider dyslexia a handicap, I consider dyslexia a gift. The significance of my learning disability, through each educational stage of my life, has molded me into the person I am today.

“I am no longer suppressed, isolated, or damaged by the conventional learning process. I always strive to be prepared, and know that I have to continue tapping into my creative, intuitive, and insightful nature in order to further my education.

“My vigilant determination to learn and succeed, in both the classroom and world, has led me to where I am today. I will not be a successful lawyer in spite of my disability; I will be a successful lawyer because it is the best use of my given abilities.”
(Dylan worked with Betty, along with his sister and mother, when he was 11.)

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702-489-3241 · Las Vegas, Nevada