FAQ: About Dyslexia

More about dyslexia and the experiences of dyslexic people.



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  • Aleah

    Hi I’m 15 years old and over the past year or so I’ve started struggling with reading I seem to get bad headaches when reading or concentrating on writing. I seem to read a lot less than I used to and I don’t enjoy it as much anymore. Also I have trouble understanding what words mean, for instance every time I try to read I seem to have to read the sentence 4 or 5 times before I understand it. I’m wondering do I have dyslexia ? If so is there anything to help me with this ?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Aleah, those are common symptoms of dyslexia, but dyslexia doesn’t just start suddenly when you are a teenager. You should talk to your parents about this and arrange to see a doctor, because the symptoms could also be connected to a head injury, such as a concussion. Sometimes young people who are active in sports might sustain a head injury and not think it was serious at at the time, but headaches or difficulty concentrating could be a symptom.

  • ashley

    hello im 13 and ive had problems my whole life like for ex. im not good at spelling and my pendin ship is bad i get motion sickness and have problems reading stuff on computers and recently my reading skills have got worst like i read a sign the other day and i thought it said no playing and i read it out and my friend was confused and she said it said playing now and i couldn’t read it that way without rereading a couple times

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Ashley, when you have the experience of reading skills getting worse and you are seeing print incorrectly (such as reversals in word order)– those are signs of disorientation. Disorientation is tied to stress and frustration, so the best thing you can do for yourself is to try to calm yourself down and relax. The Davis programs have specific tools we teach to help with that.

  • Susan Q

    I’m 62 years of age. I also struggle with spelling even too this day. Sometimes while writing I might write a word backways like “that” and wouldn’t realise it. Also I’m incline to read the news paper from the back first. Am I dyslexic.?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Susan, it sounds like you may have mild to moderate dyslexia. The difficulty with spelling is a key sign. Writing words like “that” backwards could also be a sign, if you mean that the reversal happens during handwriting — but it doesn’t sound like it happens frequently enough for it to be a problem. If you mean that you type the letters out of order, it could simply be an issue with typing habits rather than dyslexia.

  • May

    I recently was told by a classmate of mine that she has Dyslexia. I was confused, because she can read just fine and the only sympton she displayed was that she spells words a little differently. I did a bit of research into it, but I was wondering if you could help me figure out if she truly has Dyslexia or if she just attacked me for no reason.

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Problems with spelling are a very common and persistent sign of dyslexia. You can’t know what difficulties another person may have with reading, or what problems they may have had in the past and overcome.

  • Mori

    I am 16 and lately, I’ve been having trouble reading a passage aloud without changing a word. I never had any problem when I am reading in my head but I am worried because this may be a symptom of a speech disorder.

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Is there a pattern that you can observe? For example, when you change a word are you substituting a word that mean the same thing? (For example, reading “mom” instead of “mother”)?

      Or do you make mistake that seem to be misreading words by substituting words that have somewhat similar letter patterns and structures? For example, reading “flow” instead of “follow”?

      Understanding the pattern, if there is one, will give a clue as to the cause of the problem.

  • Claudette M

    I find this all maddening. I am now at an adult of 64 yrs of age. &, never got help. My parents used to beat me because of all of this.. I stay away from almost ALL PEOPLE. Because of all these issues.. u all keep talking about children. ( not trying to b disrespectful ) but what about the adults out here struggling???????. Ty for listening

  • Tuesday S

    My daughter is 8years old. Her biological dad has dyslexia. She struggles with reading really bad. She switches letters and numbers around really bad. Our school system doesn’t officially have a test for it. I can’t find any place to get her tested for it either. I have recently learned that she reads perfect upside down. Her teacher at school has noticed all the struggling and has been trying to get her all the extra help and is afraid she will fall in the cracks. I’m not sure if she has dyslexia but I’m trying to get answers. She also struggles with math as well. I have gotten her tested for any kind of learning disabilities that the school will test for. Please help I’m at a loss of what to do.

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Tuesday, in the US, federal law requires that schools identify children with dyslexia or other learning disabilities and provide appropriate services without costs. So the first step for you would be to make a request, in writing, for the school to provide testing. Don’t ask for a test for “dyslexia” — ask for generalized testing for learning disabilities. Here is a web site that can help you get started: https://ldaamerica.org/advocacy/lda-position-papers/right-to-an-evaluation-of-a-child-for-special-education-services/

      That being said, my experience has been that if a school is giving you the runaround when you ask for testing, you are unlikely to get meaningful services for your child from the school. Parents often find that they are battling the school, first while the school delays testing, and later when the school does not provide a meaningful IEP Or services for their child. So while I think it is very important to pursue your legal rights to get help, I think it is also important that you educate yourself and also be prepared to take independent measures to help your child.

      Your daughter has very clear signs of dyslexia. I think that you will find the book The Gift of Dyslexia helpful to understanding her needs. I have also written a book called The Everything Parents’ Guide to Children with Dyslexia that is geared to parents in your situation – my book covers a variety of topics, including an exploration of different approaches to dyslexia.

  • Elizabeth O'Conner


    I have a question. Is it uncommon for a dyslexic person to do everything backwards? Is putting their clothes on backwards & shoes on the wrong feet a part of being dyslexic?

    I thank you in advance for your time and assistance!

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      The behaviors you describe are not a common symptom of dyslexia. Very small children (age 3 or 4) very often do have those sorts of difficulties with dressing themselves, but by itself that would not be a sign of dyslexia.

    • Teresa

      with all due respect ma’am, I used to do that until I was 7. don’t worry.

  • Kris T

    My 14 year old has always struggled with spelling. At one point she had issues with tracking from line to line in books so I highlighted every other line to train her brain how to go from one to the next and that seemed to help. This summer after getting a part in a play in which the character had many multi syllabic words, she was stressed out as she could not pronounce many words. Upon reviewing them with her, we realized she flips syllables in words that have 3+ syllables in them. Once read to her, she memorized them, but it is a struggle. Is this dyslexia?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Yes — the symptoms you describe (difficulties spelling, history of tracking issues, and tendency to flip syllables) are all symptoms that are consistent with dyslexia. It is very common for dyslexic individuals to have a variety of problems involving sequencing of letter, words, or syllables, and these problems sometimes manifest in auditory processing or oral speech as well as in reading and writing.

  • Kimberly P

    My daughter is in the fourth grade, she hardly knows her basic addition and subtraction, she has a hard time reading, she has no basic phonics, can not pass a spelling test, miss places letters, or has Certain letters facing the wrong direction. While reading she often places another word that maybe similar to the one that is on paper. She has a hard time finishing class work, and gets nervous for timed test. She has come home crying because kids have started to notice that she is behind the rest of the students. She works really hard studies every night for spelling or any other test that would be coming up but still fails she panics during report card time because she receives F’s even though she tries hard. We spend up to 2 hours a night doing homework, and she will cry when it comes to spelling words. I have been to the doctors, they said it wasnt their area that it was the schools, I have gone to the school they have done their usual testing but they do not test for dyslexia, so they are just saying she has a learning disability. I feel like I am going crazy because I am trying to help her but I can’t find the resources to do so. Could she possibly have dyslexia?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Yes, your daughter is exhibiting classic symptoms of dyslexia. In the US, schools are required to provide services for students with dyslexia, but they are not required to use the label “dyslexia” – if your daughter has already qualified for services because of a “learning disability” then the school is not obligated to provide further testing. Legally, her problems can and should be addressed via the IEP process.

      But practically speaking – the methods and intervention the school is offering isn’t working, and is unlikely to work. The school will generally continue to try to teach or tutor your child, using repetitive strategies — but they are not going to help her with the underlying problem, such as the perceptual barrier she encounters that prevent learning.

      We have a different approach. The Davis approach works, and has been used now in private settings for more than 35 years. If possible, I would encourage you to contact a Davis Facilitator and arrange for a consultation. The consultation doesn’t obligate you in any way to contract for further services, but it will allow you to discuss your daughter’s problems in detail, and get answers to your questions. You can find a Davis facilitator at our directory site: http://www.davismethod.org/

      From your description, I am very confident that a Davis program can help your daughter. I remember similar experiences with my son — especially those nightly battles and tears over the simplest of homework assignments! For us, Davis strategies made a difference right away — just talking to the facilitator for an assessment gave my son a huge boost of confidence.

  • Anna S

    My daughter is 8 and is really struggling with spelling. In fact it’s almost like she’s getting worse. She had real problems with phonics and has learnt to read I think by recognising words as opposed to sounding them out. She is also really struggling with maths and is becoming more and distressed and panicked by the constant timed tests that seem to happen now, she seems to struggle with quite simple counting and addition as well as with quite basic spellings. She is an excellent reader however. Could she be dyslexic?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Anna, the distress and panic you described is a common and very clear sign of disorientation. It is something that is both a symptom of dyslexia and a cause of other symptoms – your daughter becomes confused, feels frustrated, and panics. The feeling of panic causes distortions in perception and might also cause feelings of physical distress (such as feelings of nausea or a stomachache). That in turn causes the child to panic even more — and within a short time the child develops a trigger response, so just seeing the symbol or type of problem that causes confusion is enough to trigger the disorientation almost immediately. A Davis provider would able to assess your daughter, including checking for any reading problems that may be hidden, and make some recommendations about the best approach to pursue.

      It’s very possible that some educators would describe you daughter’s symptoms by another name — for example, dyscalculia (for the math problem) rather than dyslexia. But in our experience, the underlying pattern of confusion over symbols and concepts leading to disorientation is almost always the cause of the difficulties. This is especially likely when you are seeing problems with very simple counting, addition, and basic spellings. Davis providers use the same basic approach to address both problems with reading and math, although we do have a separate program specifically geared to maths. However, in each case the facilitator gives the child tools to relax and to recognize and resolve disorientation, and then follows with specific tools to master the concepts and symbols that are triggering confusion and disorientation.

      This page has listings for Davis Facilitators in the UK: http://www.davismethod.org/loc/uk-ireland

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