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37 Characteristics Of Dyslexia

© 1992 by Ronald D. Davis.

Most dyslexics will exhibit about 10 of the following traits and behaviors. These characteristics can vary from day-to-day or minute-to-minute. The most consistent thing about a learning disability is their inconsistency.


* Appears bright, highly intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.

* Labeled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, "not trying hard enough," or "behavior problem."

* Isn't "behind enough" or "bad enough" to be helped in the school setting.

* High in IQ, yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written.

* Feels dumb; has poor self-esteem; hides or covers up weaknesses with ingenious compensatory strategies; easily frustrated and emotional about school reading or testing.

* Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, or engineering.

* Seems to "Zone out" or daydream often; gets lost easily or loses track of time.

* Difficulty sustaining attention; seems "hyper" or "daydreamer."

* Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.

Vision, Reading, and Spelling

* Complains of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading.

* Confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences, or verbal explanations.

* Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions, and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.

* Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing, or copying.

* Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don't reveal a problem.

* Extremely keen sighted and observant, or lacks depth perception and peripheral vision.

* Reads and rereads with little comprehension.

* Spells phonetically and inconsistently.

Hearing and Speech

* Has extended hearing; hears things not said or apparent to others; easily distracted by sounds.

* Difficulty putting thoughts into words; speaks in halting phrases; leaves sentences incomplete; stutters under stress; mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words, and syllables when speaking.

Writing and Motor Skills

* Trouble with writing or copying; pencil grip is unusual; handwriting varies or is illegible.

* Clumsy, uncoordinated, poor at ball or team sports; difficulties with fine and/or gross motor skills and tasks; prone to motion-sickness.

*Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right, over/under.

Math and Time Management

* Has difficulty telling time, managing time, learning sequenced information or tasks, or being on time.

* Computing math shows dependence on finger counting and other tricks; knows answers, but can't do it on paper.

* Can count, but has difficulty counting objects and dealing with money.

* Can do arithmetic, but fails word problems; cannot grasp algebra or higher math.

Memory and Cognition

* Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.

* Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced.

* Thinks primarily with images and feeling, not sounds or words (little internal dialogue).

Behavior, Health, Development and Personality

* Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.

* Can be class clown, trouble-maker, or too quiet.

* Had unusually early or late developmental stages (talking, crawling, walking, tying shoes).

* Prone to ear infections; sensitive to foods, additives, and chemical products.

* Can be an extra deep or light sleeper; bedwetting beyond appropriate age.

* Unusually high or low tolerance for pain.

* Strong sense of justice; emotionally sensitive; strives for perfection.

Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health. The Davis Correction® program helps people with these characteristics every day. The disabling aspects of dyslexia and learning disabilities are correctable and can be overcome.

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