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 May 25, 2019 from Davis Dyslexia Association International. Dyslexia the Gift website:  http://www.dyslexia.com/?p=254.

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999 comments

  • Dave E

    Dyslexia does not mean you are not up to the every day world I’m 39 I’m running my own business I can’t read books or read forms but can get by putting every thing in to short sentences and it make sense but have great focus and ambition

  • CC

    Hi im 15 I’ve been in reading help all my life, but I never thought of my self as a dyslexic I just thought maybe im just not a good reader until I noticed more when I got to high school more problems no one else had. Me and my friend joke about being dumb and ig i joke about not caring about my grades bc it helps the fact that I can’t do better than a C but my best friend has an og and he’s really bad for him and ig I wanna help him get out of his life, anyway I was helping him with some of the math I understood and he said im retarded. Am I retarded bc I can’t do things some people can, my parents got me glasses to try to help but the words still blur together and are hard for my brain to process I can’t spell great Grammarly’s my best friend rn and it’s embarrassing I feel stupid?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Most dyslexics are very smart and a Davis Facilitator could determine very quickly whether our program will help you. If you are motivated, then the tools we provided would solve the problem about the words blurring together and help you increase your reading speed and ability to understand. But of course, as you are 15, you will need to have your parents’ support. I hope you feel comfortable telling them how you feel.

  • Ria

    I am dyslexia and I’m working but struggling a lot cause no one understands me I need help

  • stuart w

    Last week I was told my son had dyspraxia, which also exhibited dyslexia, this was described as a disability that could be helped with teaching and reading, unable to tie his shoe laces and poor motor skills, I didn’t realise as a father he suffered so much as I work long hours, heart broken by the schools diagnosis and sending information to the NHS, i have tried to understand what the child really goes through, but everything I hear and compare in this disability is not what the scientists tell me, His reading I supposed to be poor, but he can read large adult words, he does have poor hand writing but this was noticed in primary school yet no teacher ever helped him.

    One common word in dyslexia is poor memory, My son wrote a report for his social studies class which was so accurate his teacher didn’t believe it really happened, The average adult can remember a sequence of 7 numbers, tonight in 5 minutes i tested my sons memory and he achieved 15-18-20 and who knows how far he can go tomorrow, I have this on video, no cheating, he read the sequence so fast I struggled to keep up, I do not see dyspraxia/dyslexia as a disability, I see it as a superpower, who is to say because one person acts or thinks a different way that they are wrong, teachers, employers, governments want us to all act the same, and social attitude makes us weird if we dont get in line, but most billionaires start with ideas that there peers or friends found ridiculous, Is anybody laughing at Steve jobs or Elon Musk now?

  • Bianca M

    I need help my daughter is finding it difficult to put a sentence together and can’t read well
    Short term memory. Losses focus easily. I need help she is a smart child she just needs help. She’s 9 years old

  • Tione N

    Hello, I have an 11 year old son who I think is exhibiting signs of dyslexia. How do I get him into the Davis program.

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