The signs and symptoms of dyslexia differ from person to person. Each individual with the condition will have a unique pattern of strengths and weaknesses.

Some of the most common signs of dyslexia are outlined here.

Pre-school children

In some cases, it's possible to detect symptoms of dyslexia before a child starts school.

Symptoms can include:

Primary school children

Symptoms of dyslexia usually become more obvious when children start school and begin to focus more on learning how to read and write.

Symptoms of dyslexia in children aged 5 to 12 include:

Phonological awareness

Phonological awareness is the ability to recognise that words are made up of smaller units of sound (phonemes) and that changing and manipulating phonemes can create new words and meanings.

A child with poor phonological awareness may not be able to correctly answer these questions:

Word attack skills

Young children with dyslexia can also have problems with word attack skills.

This is the ability to make sense of unfamiliar words by looking for smaller words or collections of letters that a child has previously learned.

For example, a child with good word attack skills may read the word "sunbathing" for the first time and gain a sense of the meaning of the word by breaking it down into "sun", "bath", and "ing".

Teenagers and adults

As well as the problems already mentioned, the symptoms of dyslexia in older children and adults can include:

Getting help

If you're concerned about your child's progress with reading and writing, first talk to their teacher.

If you or your child's teacher has an ongoing concern, take your child to see your GP so they can check for signs of any underlying health issues, such as hearing or vision problems, that could be affecting their ability to learn.

If your child doesn't have any obvious underlying health problems to explain their learning difficulties, different teaching methods may need to be tried.

You may also want to request an assessment to identify any special needs they may have.

If you're an adult and think you may have dyslexia, you may want to arrange a dyslexia assessment. The British Dyslexia Association has a directory of local dyslexia associations.

Read more about diagnosing dyslexia.

Associated problems

Some people with dyslexia also have other problems not directly connected to reading or writing.

These include:

Page last reviewed: 30 July 2018
Next review due: 30 July 2021