Test for Dyslexia: 37 Common Traits

Author

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 thing about dyslexics is their inconsistency.

General:

two small children with books

Dyslexic children and adults can become avid and enthusiastic readers when given learning tools that fit their creative learning style.

  • Appears bright, highly intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.
  • Labelled 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.
Citation Information
Davis, Ronald Dell. (1992)  37 Common Characteristics of Dyslexia. Retrieved November 30, 2020 from Davis Dyslexia Association International. Dyslexia the Gift website:  http://www.dyslexia.com/?p=254.

Related Articles

Common Characteristics of Adult Dyslexia

Common Characteristics of Adult Dyslexia

Most adult dyslexics will exhibit at least 10 of the following traits and behaviors. These characteristics are often inconsistent, and may vary depending upon the day or situation. Career: Employed in job/position that will hide difficulties...
Davis Program Average Reading Gains

Davis Program Average Reading Gains

Statistics from Rocky Point Academy Davis Facilitators Lawrence and Stacey Smith have assembled data showing reading level gains for more than 360 clients who completed the Davis Dyslexia Correction® program at their center, Rocky Point Academy , in Calgary, Canada.
Book Cover, Gift of Dyslexia

Looking for a solution? Start here.

The Gift of Dyslexia explains why dyslexia happens and what you can do about it.
Davis Method Provider Directory

Find a Davis Provider near you

(Click Here)

Full Davis programs are currently available online from many Davis Facilitators. For more information, see Online Program Delivery (Pilot Program).

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Share this page!

558 comments

  • Lauren M

    Add on to my last comment she has trouble spelling after 2nd grade it took her almost two years to meet the expectation for 4th grade she has trouble with math can tell the time fells disappointed in herself when she can’t finish or turn in assignments and she may have ADHD

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Are you looking for help for your daughter now? Do you have specific questions about how a Davis program might help her?

  • Lauren M

    My 11-12 year old has most of these she has a 6.9 – 7 reading level loves reading has read harry Potter and Percy Jackson series is a deep sleeper can tie shoes she can read well doesn’t have motion sickness at all

    • Jessi

      Hi there! I am someone who has dyslexia and like your child I love to read. I actually didn’t learn to read until I was 8 but was reading on a college level by 12. This is because I do not read phonetically but sight read. I still am really bad at spelling, mispronounce words I haven’t heard before, and I loose my words when I speak a lot. The thing that has helped me the most in my life is to realize that I am an intelligent person with a brain that works differently so I have to do something’s differently then others. I also learned to surround myself with people who love me for me and don’t make fun of the things that I can’t help (like my spelling). Always keep in mind that is dyslexics are often very intelligent so we are our own biggest enemy. The best thing you can do for your child is help them see how awesome they are so that they have the confidence to face their weaknesses in life with patience with themselves.

  • Chantelle

    My 11 year old struggles in school. She’s articulate verbally and can watch nature programmes plus recite everything. Basically obsessed with nature. However, when she reads she can put the second word first or put a word not on the paper first. She writes phonetically and has problems with her times tables. Remembering them. She confuses her left and right. Walks with a bounce. Can’t tell the time. But can tie shoe laces. She gets frustrated and disruptive. Won’t eat in school. Hates to break school work rules. She can’t manage that at all. Meltdowns if she doesn’t follow them.

Leave a Reply to Rebecca L Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *