Dyslexia Warning Signs

Dyslexia Warning Signs photo

Foundations is able to diagnose and treat dyslexia at any age. And, while every case of dyslexia is unique, there are common warning signs that are used to begin the diagnosis. If you notice more than three of the following signs, it is recommended that you take the necessary steps to learn more about dyslexia and consider a consultation and/or screening by our specialists.

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*Excerpts from ABCs of Dyslexia, Common Signs Preschool though College: The International Dyslexia Association and Warning Signs of Dyslexia: Bright Solutions for Dyslexia.

Warning Signs of Dyslexia*


  • Preschool

    • Speech difficulties
    • Difficulty pronouncing words, especially long, multiple syllable words
    • Slow to add new vocabulary words
    • Consistent confusion of left and right
    • Difficulty with rhyming words
    • Trouble with the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, colors, shapes, or writing his or her name
    • Unable to follow multi-step directions or routines
    • Difficulty learning to tie shoes
    • Difficulty telling and/or retelling a story in the correct sequence
    • Chronic ear infections, severe reactions to common childhood illnesses

  • Elementary School

    • Has difficulty decoding single words (reading single words in isolation)
    • Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds, terrible spelling
    • Awkward pencil grip and/or handwriting is difficult to read
    • Confuses small words - at - to, said - and, does - goes
    • Consistent reading, spelling and handwriting errors including:
            - Letter reversals - d for b as in dog for bog or Word reversals - tip for pit
            - Inversions - m and w, u and n
            - Transpositions - felt and left
            - Substitutions - house and home
    • Transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs (+ - x / =)
    • Overly messy bedroom, backpack or desk
    • Slow to learn new skills such as cursive handwriting
    • Trouble learning to tell time
    • Dreads going to school or completing homework

  • Middle School

    • Reads below grade level, difficulty with reading comprehension
    • Reverses letter sequences - soiled for solid, left for felt
    • Slow to learn and understand prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other reading and spelling strategies
    • Continued difficulty spelling, spells familiar words differently on the same page
    • Avoids reading aloud or writing in front of others
    • Illegible handwriting
    • Trouble with word problems in math
    • Slow or inaccurate recall of facts
    • Dreads going to school
    • Does not complete homework or neglects to turn in homework
    • Very inefficient with time management

  • High School Through Adults

    • History with any of the childhood warning signs
    • Slow reader with many inaccuracies, slow to comprehend reading
    • Terrible speller
    • Limited, inadequate vocabulary
    • Avoids writing, difficulty putting thoughts on paper
    • Difficulty answering open-ended questions in conversation and on tests
    • Poor memory skills
    • Works slowly or procrastinates
    • Poor grasp of abstract concepts
    • Poor grades
    • Difficulty with reading music or learning a foreign language
    • May misread information
    • Difficulty completing assignments
    • Still confuses left and right
    • Gets lost easily, even in familiar settings
    • Drops out of high school, college, or further education