©️Gill Tyler and Jan Stead, 2015 What is dyslexia?

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 dyslexics is their inconsistency.


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


  • Complains of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading.
  • Confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences or verbal explanations.
  • Reading and/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.


  • 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.


  • Has difficulty telling time, managing time, learning sequenced information or tasks or being on time.
  • Computing math shows dependence of 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.


  • 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.


  • 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).


  • 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; bed wetting 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 Dyslexia Correction® program helps people with these characteristics every day. The disabling aspects of dyslexia are correctable and can be overcome.

General Copyright 1992 by Ronald D. Davis – used with permission
Test for Dyslexia – 37 signs.