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Dyslexia: 10 Warning signs

Nov 03, 2016

Signs of dyslexia usually become more obvious when children start school and begin to focus on reading and writing. Here are ten of the most common warning signs:

1. Reversing numbers

Someone with dyslexia might see 57 but remember it as 75

Or write the answer to 6×7 as 24 instead of 42.

The output of the information becomes muddled.


2. Typical spelling mistakes

Spelling words as they sound, e.g. wont instead of want

Mixing up the sequence of letters, e.g. hlep instead of help

Reversing the sequence of letters, e.g. was instead of saw

Missing out a letter, e.g. wich instead of which

Using the wrong letter, e.g. showt instead of shout

Adding an extra letter, e.g. whent instead of went

Using a ‘t’ instead of ‘ed’, e.g. lookt instead of looked

Can’t remember when to use ‘ck’ or ‘ke’ at the end, e.g. lick instead of like

Words and letters are often jumbled in the mind.


3. Unable to remember times tables and number sequences

A multiplication fact may seem to be learned and then a few days later has been forgotten again.

The same goes for phone and pin numbers. Difficulty remembering a sequence of numbers is a sure sign of dyslexia.


4. Writing

Someone with dyslexia is likely to have lots of ideas but have difficulty putting them into writing.

It will take much longer to write and produce less than other students.

Many people with dyslexia write long, rambling sentences with no punctuation.

Although there may be lots of ideas they often do not know where to start.


5. Reading

Immediately forgetting what has just been read.

Slower reading speed.

Missing out words or skipping lines as they read

Have you ever read a page, got to the bottom and realised you’ve just forgotten everything you read?
This happens all the time to those with dyslexia.
Words and their meanings don’t stick very well.
Reading becomes slow when you have to work out every word.
So much mental energy is used on the process that no memory capacity is left to comprehend.
Dyslexia means they may read a word then further down the page not recognise it again.
They have no visual memory for the word.
Their eyes can seem to jump over words, missing them out, skip out whole lines, sometimes they just skip part of a word.


6. Homophones:  there – their

A homophone sounds the same as another word but is spelled differently.

They are a nightmare for those with dyslexia who usually have a poor memory for how a word looks and quickly learn to rely upon the strategy of learning to spell a word by building it phonetically. This doesn’t work for homophones.


7. Do you know the alphabet….backwards?!

Dyslexia causes difficulty recalling sequences accurately so it is very likely that learning the alphabet will be problematic.

Using songs and rhyme often helps but the real giveaway is whether they can say it backwards – a nearly impossible task for those with dyslexia!

Dyslexia is also likely to cause problems learning the names and sounds of letters.


8. Mixing up left and right

It has become a cliché but its true that many with dyslexia cannot learn to automatically remember left and right. They have to stop and think about it.


9. Can’t remember what you’ve been told

A sure sign is difficulty carrying out a sequence of directions.
“Get out your book. Turn to page 23. Read three pages.”
Someone with dyslexia might only remember one of these things and have to ask again.
Having to ask again makes them feel stupid.


10. Phonological awareness

This is the ability to recognise individual sounds (phonemes) and work with phonemes to create new words.

Typical problems are:

Confusing vowel sounds, e.g. writing ‘i’ for ‘e’.

Difficulty rhyming.

Chunking words into syllables.

Blending sounds into a whole word.


Children with dyslexia who have been taught phonics can often learn to say the individual sounds but not blend them together. They can’t hold the sequence of sounds in their head for long enough. They might just panic and guess wildly.

Remember, no two people with dyslexia are exactly the same so any child with dyslexia is likely to have a mix of these signs.

Article courtesy of

If you have any worries that your child may be Dyslexic or have Dyslexic tendencies, please feel free to speak to us and we'll be able to give you help, advice and support. You can also find out more about our Dyslexia program Cellfield here.

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