Dyslexia symptoms can be difficult to recognize before your child enters school, but some early clues may indicate a problem. Once your child reaches school age, your child's teacher may be first to notice a problem. The condition often becomes apparent as a child begins learning to read.

Before school

Signs and symptoms that a young child may be at risk of dyslexia include:

  • Late talking
  • Learning new words slowly
  • Difficulty rhyming

School age

Once your child is in school, dyslexia signs and symptoms may become more apparent, including:

  • Reading at a level well below the expected level for the age of your child
  • Problems processing and understanding what he or she hears
  • Difficulty comprehending rapid instructions
  • Trouble following more than one command at a time
  • Problems remembering the sequence of things
  • Difficulty seeing (and occasionally hearing) similarities and differences in letters and words
  • An inability to sound out the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word
  • Seeing letters or words in reverse ("b" for "d" or "saw" for "was," for example) — this is common in young children, but may be more pronounced in children with dyslexia
  • Difficulty spelling
  • Trouble learning a foreign language

Teens and adults

Dyslexia symptoms in teens and adults are similar to those in children. Though early intervention is beneficial for dyslexia treatment, it's never too late to seek help for dyslexia. Some common dyslexia symptoms in teens and adults include:

  • Difficulty reading
  • Trouble understanding jokes or idioms
  • Reading aloud
  • Difficulty with time management
  • Difficulty summarizing a story
  • Difficulty learning a foreign language
  • Difficulty memorizing

Dyslexia is characterized by a delay in the age at which a child begins to read. Most children are ready to learn reading by kindergarten or first grade, but children with dyslexia often can't grasp the basics of reading by that time. Talk with your doctor if your child's reading level is below what's expected for his or her age or if you notice other signs or symptoms of dyslexia.

When dyslexia goes undiagnosed and untreated, childhood reading difficulties continue into adulthood.

Aug. 23, 2011