Contrary to popular misconception, Dyslexia is not only about literacy, although weaknesses in literacy are often the most visible sign. Dyslexia affects the way information is processed, stored and retrieved, with problems of memory, speed of processing, time perception, organisation and sequencing. 

Indicators of Dyslexia

Written Work

A person with dyslexia will often:


  • Have a weak ability in written work compared with oral ability.


  • Produce very untidy and messy handwritten work. This will have many mistakes which will often be crossed out and words will be misspelled in several ways.


  • Be confused by letters and numbers which look similar, particularly b/d, p/g, p/q.


  • Have poor handwriting, with many 'reversals' and badly formed letters.


  • Use capital letters inappropriately.


  • Spell the same word several different ways in one piece of writing. 


  • Produce badly set-out written work, with no use of paragraphs.

Messy handwriting
Handwriting picture


A person with dyslexia will often:

  • Make poor reading progress, especially using look-and-say methods. 

  • Find blending letters difficult.

  • Have problems knowing where to divide syllables when reading and spelling.

  • Read very slowly and without expression, especially when reading aloud. 

  • Omit words when reading, or read extra words. 

  • Misread common words.

  • Have difficulty with reading and comprehension of text.


A person with dyslexia will often:

  • Be confused with number order eg units, tens, hundreds. 

  • Need clarification with mathematical symbols, such as + and x signs.


  • Have difficulty remembering anything in sequential order e.g. times tables, days of the week, months of the year, the alphabet.



A person with dyslexia will often:


  • Have difficulty learning to tell the time (e.g. use of an analogue clock, the direction of clock hands, terminology ‘a quarter to six’, ‘half past five’).

  • Have poor timekeeping and general awareness of time.

  • Have poor personal organisation ability (e.g. preparation of school bag, PE kit bag).

  • Have difficulty remembering what day of the week it is, seasons of the year, months of the year.


Days of the week
Seasons of the year


A person with dyslexia will often:


  • Have poor fine motor skills, leading to weaknesses in the speed, control and accuracy of the writing instrument. 


  • Have a limited understanding of non-verbal communication. 


  • Be confused by the difference between left and right. 


  • Have unspecified hand preference. 



A person with dyslexia will often:


  • Use a range of work avoidance tactics (e.g. engaging in irrelevant conversation, sharpening pencils, looking for books).


  • Often seem to 'day-dream', appear not to be listening.


  • Be easily distracted.


  • Be the class clown, or be disruptive or withdrawn.


  • Be excessively tired, due to the amount of concentration and effort required.


If you or your child exhibit a number of these traits, it is strongly recommended that you have a Full Diagnostic Assessment conducted. 

 Dyslexia is often referred to as a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD).

Dyslexia is the most common of all the conditions which come under the SpLD umbrella. It is a hidden disability, thought to affect around 10% of the UK population, 4% severely.


Traits of Dyscalculia, ADHD, ADD, Autism Level 1 (Asperger’s Syndrome), Dyspraxia (DCD) and Dysgraphia can overlap and often co-exist with Dyslexia. Approximately 15% of people (to a lesser or greater extent) are affected by an SpLD.

Dyslexia - A Working Definition

The Rose Report by Sir Jim Rose (June 2009) identified the following working definition of dyslexia:

  • Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.


  • Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.


  • Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities.


  • It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points.


  • Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.


  • A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well founded intervention.

Are you concerned about your child's progress in school?

Are you worried the cause might be dyslexia?