Symptoms of Dyslexia

Checklist of Dyslexia Symptoms By Age And Issue

Dyslexia refers to reading difficulty that will not likely resolve itself as distinct from typical reading struggles experienced by many young readers that will resolve naturally. Because dyslexia is caused by cognitive skill delays, the clues of dyslexia are many and varied.  This checklist of dyslexia symptoms gives you some signs to look for in reading and in other aspects of life.

The best indicators of dyslexia are away from reading.  This is because reading is a difficult skill to master and so it takes a few years before you can definitively say the reading difficulty is serious, i.e., dyslexia. However, language and learning behaviors associated with the cognitive skill delays that cause dyslexia are evident earlier in life. That’s what we mainly focus on here.

Most dyslexics will exhibit several the following dyslexia symptoms, traits and behaviors in varying degrees day-to-day. The most consistent thing about dyslexics is their inconsistency.

Reading Related Checklist of Dyslexia Symptomschecklist of dyslexia symptoms

A difficulty with reading is the starting place for dyslexia concerns for most parents. Here is a list of some of the most common errors made by dyslexic children while reading. The focus here is not on the errors many early readers make, but rather on errors that signal a lack of learning in the reading process:

  • Can be helped with a word on one page, but won’t recognize it on the next.
  • Cannot sound out unknown words.
  • May insert or leave out letters.
  • Reads out loud in a slow, choppy, often monotonous cadence (not using prosody or natural emphasis).
  • Cannot read for long periods.

Language Related Checklist of Dyslexia Symptoms

Reading is a language skill and so it follows that some of the best indicators of dyslexia come from how a child interacts with language. Here are some specific symptoms of dyslexia related to language:

  • Easily distracted by sounds or background noise.
  • Delayed speech in early life.
  • Difficulty with multi-step directions.
  • Difficulty putting thoughts into words or relating a story.

Learning Related Checklist of Dyslexia Symptoms

These symptoms can indicate dyslexia if they are unexpected for the child’s age.

  • Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.
  • Cannot retain facts and information that has not been experienced.
  • Thinks primarily with images and feelings, not sounds or words (little internal dialogue).
  • Reported to be inattentive in class.

Dyslexia Symptoms in Behavior, Health, Development and Personality

Most dyslexic children will have at least 1-2 of these symptoms:

  • Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.
  • Can be class clown, trouble-maker, or too quiet.
  • Prone to ear infections; sensitive to foods and additives.
  • Unusually high or low tolerance for pain.
  • Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health.

symptoms of dyslexia related to learningSpelling Related Checklist of Dyslexia Symptoms

Dyslexia and spelling difficulties go hand in hand. Here are some classic symptoms indicative of dyslexia:

  • Difficulty with vowel sounds, often leaving them out.
  • Difficulty memorizing words for spelling tests.
  • Continually misspells non-phonetic but common words such as what, where, does and because.
  • Misspells even when copying something from the board or from a book.

At What Age Can You Call It Dyslexia?

Language is lightning fast, and so learning to read by matching the individual sounds in words to text can take a while to master. Language processing skills, required for phonemic awareness does not fully mature until 6-7 years of age.  Therefore, a dyslexia diagnosis should not be made too early in life, certainly not before 1st or 2nd grade.

Similarly, children cannot be declared “good readers” until they are reading at grade level in 6th or 7th grade. Only at that time are their reading skills tested. Some children fly under the radar until more complex reading comprehension requirements challenge inefficient decoding skills. Stay vigilant until your child enters high school.

Signs of Dyslexia Vary as Children Get Older

Dyslexia symptoms change as a child gets older. Early in life many of the most telling symptoms are language related, mainly around listening skills. As language is eventually mastered the list of symptoms changes, showing up more in reading and learning habits and less in language.

To account for these differences in maturity, here is a dyslexia checklist for different age groups. A child can have symptoms in varying combinations, but will rarely have all of them. Note that reading is a challenging skill.  Many children switch letters or make other mistakes that might look like dyslexia. The older a child gets, the less forgiving you should be of these mistakes.

Dyslexia Symptoms Checklist For Children Aged 5 and 6.

It is dangerous to jump to conclusions about dyslexia symptoms at Kindergarten age. However, if the cognitive delays associated with future reading difficulty are already visible, then it is fair to acknowledge that your child at the very least is an at-risk reader.

Judging 5-6 year old based on their reading skills alone would often lead to a dyslexia diagnosis, since reading is a difficult skill to master for 60-70% of children. What we are looking for here are clues of the existence of the cognitive delays associated with dyslexia, as opposed to assessing reading skills.  A checklist of symptoms of dyslexia for kindergarten age children that puts them in an at-risk category would include:

  • Speech problems — mispronunciation, putting words in wrong order. Dyslexics are often late talkers. NOTE: some dyslexics speak early and are articulate.
  • Difficulty in rhyming, e.g. ‘book’ and ‘look.’
  • Lack of interest in reading and spelling compared to other activities.
  • Difficulty carrying out a sequence of directions.
  • Difficulty understanding intangible concepts, such as time.
  • Did not hear English continuously at ages 0-3 — heard foreign language, ear infections, etc.

Dyslexia Symptoms Checklist For Children Aged 7-12.

The symptoms of dyslexia for 7-year old or 8-year old children vary widely depending on a child’s maturity, academic progress part from reading and intelligence. And so it is still somewhat dangerous to draw firm conclusions just from observation.

However, as children get older, reading should be falling into place and so the signs of dyslexia are clearer. The list of dyslexia signs gets larger as the educational skill requirements and expectations grow.

  • Unable to read, or low reading age.
  • A lack of progress in reading compared to other subjects.
  • Still having difficulties with sound of letters.
  • Poor spelling.
  • No idea of punctuation when reading or writing a story.
  • Does not add detail to essays.
  • If they can read, they don’t enjoy it and hate reading aloud.
  • Cannot recall what they have just read.
  • Frustration, withdrawal and behavioral problems start to increase.

Your Next Step

A Gemm Learning educational consultant can help you understand if your child’s reading errors are random and normal. If you are unsure about the above dyslexia symptoms checklist, call for a free consult or ask your questions here.