The Signs of Dyslexia

One of the most potentially traumatic experiences, for any person in a learning environment, is having a language disability which has not been diagnosed or recognized. It is therefore absolutely vital that educators and parents are able to diagnose such problems. Sometimes the symptoms are obvious and sometimes they are not because of the compulsive need to compensate. It is essential any problem is detected as early as possible in a student’s education. Below are some of the common signs a student with a disorder may show in a classroom:

  • Consistently has difficulties in understanding the ideas and concepts taught.
  • Consistently achieves poor results in examinations.
  • Struggles to understand instructions.
  • Finds multi-tasking very difficult.
  • Is slow and hesitant to begin tasks.
  • Behaves as though they understand but in fact they don’t.
  • Either disruptive or quiet and shy.
  • Lacks concentration.
  • Working pace is slower particularly when writing notes.
  • Often the last to finish an exam or unable to finish in the time allowed.
  • Untidy handwriting.
  • Poor grammatical construction and spelling.
  • Has difficulty in getting to the point, often goes round the subject and uses more words than necessary.
  • Passive participant in class activities.
  • Consistently has difficulty in answering questions of a rather different, unfamiliar nature.

Realize firstly that an individual with a disability is not expected to show all these signs but certainly some of them. Secondly, these are just surface indicators as opposed to the deeper ones which become an absolute necessity to hide any weaknesses. These deeper indicators, like re-reading, re-writing, the searching for knowledge and the overall countless number of hours of work needed to achieve in examinations, are of particular interest because they provide some explanations why many are successful academically.

The Misconception

 An incorrect diagnosis can have a major impact on academic progress, overall confidence and future aspirations. The following are misconceptions and false reasons why they perform poorly:

  • shows lack of interest.
  • does not read enough.
  • is always dreaming and doesn’t concentrate or apply themselves to the given task.
  • is distracted easily, disruptive, and misbehaves.

Why an individual possess these characteristics is the point. They are indicators or signs that a problem exists and must not be confused with the problem itself. This can be a common misdiagnosis when assessing why a student is not succeeding. Why would a person be interested in school if he/she finds learning difficult or how can one be motivated to read if it takes hours to understand a few pages? Then will still forget what was read. I was a typical example of this. The reason given why my English results at school were poor was because I never read and I showed a strong lack of interest in this area. The real reason why I didn’t read was because I couldn’t, and furthermore why would I be interested in something where my ability is poor?