The symptoms of dyslexia vary from person to person. Each affected person has their own set of strengths and weaknesses in their ability to understand, interpret and communicate verbal information.

To make diagnosis easier, the symptoms of dyslexia can be grouped according to a person’s age.

Pre-school children

Dyslexia is difficult to diagnose in children of this age, who have very different levels of learning. Features in children in this age group include:

  • Slow speech development.
  • Difficulty in correct word order and a tendency to mix up letters. For example, a child may say ‘tevelision’ instead of ‘television’.
  • Difficulty in correctly composing sentences to express themselves.
  • Poor understanding of rhymes.
  • Lack of interest in learning the letters of the alphabet.

School-age children

Symptoms of dyslexia generally become easier to recognise in school-aged children. Some features of this condition in children aged 5 to 12 years include:

  • Difficulty in understanding the meaning of the written word.
  • Poor phonological awareness, which refers to a person’s ability to understand how a word is made up of smaller sound units. This is essential for spelling and reading.
  • Poor verbal memory. Verbal memory is the ability to recall information, such as a short list of items or a few instructions.
  • Difficulty learning sequences, such as the letters of the alphabet or the days of the week.
  • Unpredictable and inconsistent spelling, with a tendency to misplace letters and numbers.
  • Difficulty in reading aloud.
  • Visual disturbances during reading. For example, the child may signal seeing letters moving or blurring.
  • Children may be able to answer questions well orally but have difficulty writing down what they have said.
  • Poor writing skills and difficulties with dictation or even copying text.
  • Lack of organisational skills and poor time management.
  • Shy and introverted behaviour due to fear of speaking or reading incorrectly. Children may also suffer from low self-esteem and be targeted by bullies.

Dyslexia in adults

Untreated dyslexia in adults can result in low self-esteem, anxiety, aggression, withdrawal from family, friends and once teachers. Symptoms of the disorder in adulthood may include:

  • Difficulties with reading (including reading aloud).
  • Problems distinguishing left from right.
  • Problems with mathematical tasks.
  • Difficulty understanding jokes or idioms.

Wondering if you suffer from dyslexia?

You can use our online dyslexia test. Get an initial psychological assessment (degree of probability) in 10 minutes. Please note that our app is not a diagnostic tool. If you suspect that you have symptoms specific to the condition and want a reliable diagnosis, please contact a psychotherapist, psychiatrist, doctor or healthcare professional.