Identifying Dyslexia: Symptoms to Look For When Testing at Different Stages

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Characteristics of Dyslexia to Look For When Testing at Different Ages

Dyslexia is a common learning disorder that affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language. It can manifest at different stages of a person’s life, from early childhood through adulthood. While dyslexia cannot be cured, early identification and intervention can significantly improve outcomes for individuals with this condition. Recognizing the symptoms of dyslexia at various stages of development is crucial for providing appropriate support and resources. In this blog, we’ll explore the Dyslexia Symptoms to Look For When Testing at Different Stages.

Early Childhood (Ages 3-5)

The signs of dyslexia can often be observed in early childhood, even before formal reading instruction begins. Some common symptoms to look for in young children include:

  1. Difficulty with Phonological Awareness: Children with dyslexia may struggle with recognizing and manipulating sounds in words, such as rhyming or segmenting words into individual sounds.
  2. Speech Delays or Articulation Problems: Difficulty pronouncing words correctly or delays in acquiring speech sounds can be early indicators of dyslexia.
  3. Trouble Learning Letters and Their Sounds: Difficulty associating letters with their corresponding sounds, which is a foundational skill for reading.
  4. Delayed Language Development: Children with dyslexia may have a slower rate of language acquisition compared to their peers.
  5. Difficulty with Rote Memorization: Difficulty memorizing sequences, such as the alphabet, numbers, or days of the week, can be an early sign of dyslexia.

Elementary School (Ages 6-11)

As children enter school and begin formal reading instruction, the symptoms of dyslexia may become more apparent. Some signs to watch for during this stage include:

  1. Reading Below Grade Level: Despite receiving instruction, children with dyslexia may struggle to read at the same level as their peers.
  2. Poor Spelling and Writing Skills: Difficulty with spelling and writing, including frequent spelling errors and illegible handwriting, is common in individuals with dyslexia.
  3. Difficulty with Decoding Words: Difficulty sounding out unfamiliar words or relying heavily on context clues when reading.
  4. Slow, Laborious Reading: Children with dyslexia may read slowly and with great effort, often showing signs of frustration or fatigue.
  5. Poor Reading Comprehension: Difficulty understanding and remembering what was read, even when the words were decoded correctly.

Adolescence and Adulthood (Ages 12+)

Dyslexia can continue to impact individuals throughout adolescence and into adulthood. Some symptoms that may persist or become more pronounced include:

  1. Avoidance of Reading: Individuals with dyslexia may avoid reading tasks whenever possible due to the challenges they face.
  2. Difficulty with Organization and Time Management: Problems with executive function skills, such as organization, time management, and prioritization, are common in individuals with dyslexia.
  3. Limited Vocabulary: Difficulty acquiring and retaining new vocabulary words, which can impact communication skills.
  4. Low Self-Esteem and Frustration: Struggling with dyslexia can take a toll on self-esteem and lead to feelings of frustration and inadequacy.
  5. Difficulty with Multitasking: Difficulty processing multiple pieces of information simultaneously, leading to challenges in tasks that require multitasking or rapid information processing.


Recognizing the symptoms of dyslexia at different stages of development is crucial for early intervention and support. While the signs mentioned in this blog are common indicators of dyslexia, it’s important to remember that every individual is unique, and not all individuals with dyslexia will exhibit the same symptoms. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have dyslexia, it’s essential to seek a comprehensive evaluation from a qualified professional, such as a psychologist or educational specialist. With appropriate interventions and accommodations, individuals with dyslexia can thrive academically and personally, unlocking their full potential.