• 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.

Adult Dyslexic Traits



 q  Employed in job/position that will hide difficulties or not require dealing with problematic areas.

 q  Hides difficulties from co-workers, friends and even family.

 q  Becomes frustrated at "planning meetings" and sequential tasks – may have the answer and know how to do it well before others.

 q  Becomes frustrated, impatient, or overwhelmed with long forms or sequential processes.

 q  Thrives in careers where visual-spatial/kinesthetic talents can be realized:  For example - Entrepreneurs, Engineers, Trades (carpentry, plumbing, electrical), Artisans, Interior Decorating, Actors, Musicians, Police/Investigation, Athletes, and Business Executives (usually with staff/assistants).

 q  May pass up promotions or advancement opportunities that would require more administrative work.

 q  Has difficulty focusing and staying on task – may feel more comfortable managing many different tasks simultaneously.

 q  Difficulty with tests - passing standardized tests can be a barrier to career advancement.

 q  Highly successful/over achiever, or considered "not working up to potential." 

 q  Displays extreme work ethic.

 q  May be a perfectionist and overreact when making a mistake.

 q  Out-of-the-box thinker or operates with very strict rules for himself/herself.

 q  Excellent problem-solving skills.



 q  Highly intuitive - known to have "street smarts."  Is often "dead on" in judging personalities of others. 

 q  May be able to sense emotions and energy of others.

 q  Remembers struggling in school.

 q  May have dyslexic children. Experiences guilt when seeing own child struggle. Insecurities arise while reading to own children or helping them with homework.

 q  Easily distracted/annoyed by noises and other things in environment.

 q  May appear to "zone out" and be unaware that it is happening.

 q  Enjoys video games.

 q  Misspeaks, misuses, or mispronounces words without realizing it.

 q  May have poor balance or is/was very athletic.

 q  May have excellent recall of events that were experienced or not remember at all.

 q  May confuse past conversations or be accused of "not listening."

 q  Difficulty remembering names of people, but remembers faces.

 q  Difficulty remembering verbal instructions or directions.

 q  Poor recall of conversations or sequence of events.



q  May understand higher math, but can't show it on paper.

q  May excel at math, or may still rely on tricks for remembering math facts. 

q  Relies on calculators or finger counting.  May have difficulty with making change.

q  Difficulty with left/right and/or North, South, East, West.

q  Gets lost easily or never forgets a place they've been. 

q  Difficulty reading maps.

q  May have anxiety or stress when driving in unfamiliar places. Relies on others to drive when possible.

q  May lose track of time and is frequently late - or is highly aware of it and is very rarely late.

q  Finds it difficult to estimate how long a task will take to complete.



q  Difficulty reading, especially with unfamiliar fonts.

q  Avoids reading out loud.  May dislike public speaking.

q  Will commonly perceive that they "read better silently."

q  Has adopted compensatory tricks to remember spelling or has poor or inconsistent/phonetic spelling.

q  Reading fluency and comprehension fluctuates depending upon subject matter.

q  Frequently has to re-read sentences in order to comprehend.

q  Fatigues or becomes bored quickly while reading.

q  Reliance on others (assistants, spouses, significant others) for written correspondence.

q  Uncertainty with words, punctuation, and spelling when writing. Reliance on spell-check and grammar-check.

q  Written work will not reflect the level of knowledge or expertise that would be given verbally.

q  Words out of context look "wrong."

q  Poor handwriting - masks spelling mistakes.

q  Writes with all capital letters, or mixes capital letters within words.  Abbreviates words frequently.



q  May have a short fuse or is easily frustrated, angered, or annoyed.  Easily stressed and overwhelmed in certain situations.

q  Low self-esteem.

q  Self-conscious when speaking in a group.  May have difficulty getting thoughts out - pause frequently, speak in halting phrases, or leave sentences incomplete.  This may worsen with stress or distraction.

q  Sticks to what they know - fear of new tasks or any situation where they are out of comfort zone.

q  Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.