Dyslexia Signs & Symptoms

Frustrated boy

Dyslexia Test/Online Screening

Dyslexia IS. . .

•    A way of thinking based on visual-spatial talents
•    A three – dimensional thought process
•    Often labeled as an auditory processing or a visual perception deficiency
•    Something that can be helped at its root level
•    Both a gift and a challenge

Dyslexics. . .

•    Have vivid imaginations
•    Remember incredible details from various experiences they’ve done
•    Are smart, but often unable to prove it in school
•    Often love to build and create with their hands
•    Are creative, “out of the box,” thinkers
•    Are very curious about how/why things work
•    Think mainly in pictures
•    Avoid written instructions, yet easily complete a 3-D project
•    Experience high levels of confusion with language symbols
•    Create excellent mental thoughts, but cannot transfer thoughts to paper
•    Often become highly successful individuals

Dyslexia is NOT. . .

•    Something one “outgrows”
•    A disease
•    A process to be ashamed of
•    Best “fixed” with “tricks” and compensatory methods

Dyslexia Test/Online Screening



37 Common Characteristics of Dyslexia

Most dyslexics will exhibit about 10 of the following traits and behaviors. These characteristics can vary from day-to-day or minute-to-minute. The most consistent characteristic about dyslexics is their inconsistency.




  • Appears bright, highly intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level
  • Labeled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, “not trying hard enough,” or “behavior problem”
  • Isn’t “behind enough” or “bad enough” to be helped in the school setting
  • High in IQ, yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written
  • Feels dumb; has poor self-esteem; hides or covers up weaknesses with ingenious compensatory strategies; easily  frustrated and emotional about school reading or testing
  • Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, or engineering
  • Seems to “Zone out” or daydream often; gets lost easily or loses track of time
  • Difficulty sustaining attention; seems “hyper” or “daydreamer”
  • Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids


Vision, Reading, and Spelling


  • Complains of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading
  • Confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences, or verbal explanations
  • Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions, and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words
  • Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing, or copying
  • Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don’t reveal a problem
  • Extremely keen sighted and observant, or lacks depth perception and peripheral vision
  • Reads and rereads with little comprehension
  • Spells phonetically and inconsistently


Hearing and Speech


  • Has extended hearing; hears things not said or apparent to others; easily distracted by sounds
  • Difficulty putting thoughts into words; speaks in halting phrases; leaves sentences incomplete; stutters under stress; mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words, and syllables when speaking


Writing and Motor Skills


  • Trouble with writing or copying; pencil grip is unusual; handwriting varies or is illegible
  • Clumsy, uncoordinated, poor at ball or team sports; difficulties with fine and/or gross motor skills and tasks; prone to motion-sickness
  • Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right, over/under


Math and Time Management


  • Has difficulty telling time, managing time, learning sequenced information or tasks, or being on time
  • Computing math shows dependence on finger counting and other tricks; knows answers, but can’t do it on paper
  • Can count, but has difficulty counting objects and dealing with money
  • Can do arithmetic, but fails word problems; cannot grasp algebra or higher math


Memory and Cognition


  • Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces
  • Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced
  • Thinks primarily with images and feeling, not sounds or words (little internal dialogue)


Behavior, Health, Development and Personality


  • Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly
  • Can be class clown, trouble-maker, or too quiet
  • Had unusually early or late developmental stages (talking, crawling, walking, tying shoes)
  • Prone to ear infections; sensitive to foods, additives, and chemical products
  • Can be an extra deep or light sleeper; bedwetting beyond appropriate age
  • Unusually high or low tolerance for pain
  • Strong sense of justice; emotionally sensitive; strives for perfection
  • Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health


From the article, “37 Common Characteristics of Dyslexia” (© 1992 by Ronald D. Davis)
Reprinted with Permission

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Professional services described as Davis®, Davis Dyslexia Correction®, Davis Symbol Mastery®, Davis Orientation Counseling®, and Davis Math Mastery® may only be provided by persons who are employed by a licensed Davis Specialist, or who are trained and licensed as Davis Facilitators by Davis Dyslexia Association International.