Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

January 18, 2015

Worried about dyslexia?: 10 signs that it is & 10 signs that it is not

Our Educators, including Marie Pacini, MAT, report that despite the fact that dyslexia is the most common reading disorder (affects 5-8% of the population), there is still a great deal of confusion around what it is and what it is not.

Adapted from Essentials of Dyslexia Assessment and Intervention written by Dr. Nancy Mather and Barbara J. Wendling, here are two quick lists t help you determine the symptoms and characteristics of dyslexia and to clarify what symptoms may coexist but not necessarily apply. 

WHAT IT IS: Symptoms and Characteristics of Dyslexia 

  • Difficulty learning letter names, sounds and rhymes 
  • Confusion of letters and words with similar appearance (e.g., p and q and saw and was)
  • Confusion of letters with similar sounds (e.g., the sound of f vs. the sound of v)
  • Reversals and transpositions of letters and words that persist after age 7 (e.g., b and d and on and no)
  • Difficulty arranging letters to correctly spell words
  • Difficulty recalling the visual image of irregular words when reading and spelling (e.g., once)
  • Spelling the same word in different ways on the same page
  • Spelling words phonetically (the way they sound) as opposed to the way they look (e.g., duz for does)
  • Difficulty pronouncing some multi-syllabic words correctly
  • Slow word perception that affects rate and fluency

WHAT IT IS NOT: Although these symptoms may coexist with dyslexia, it is important to know that these alone do not mean your child is dyslexic. 

  • A pervasive oral language impairment
  • A primary problem in attention or behavior
  • A primary problem in reading comprehension
  • A primary problem in written expression
  • Low motivation or limited effort
  • Poor vision or hearing
  • Primary emotional or behavioral problems
  • Limited intelligence
  • Related to ethnic background or family income
  • A result of poor teaching or limited educational opportunity
Marie is a National Board Certified Teacher and provides evaluation and treatment of dyslexia and other learning disabilities to children, teenagers and young adults at Child and Family Development. 

Click to read more about dyslexia.