Dyslexia Symptoms

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Dyslexia symptoms can vary depending on the age of the individual. Some signs become more evident in school-aged children. Learn more here.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a broad term for disorders that impact a person’s ability to read or interpret words, letters, or symbols. This condition can also cause difficulties with writing and speaking, and it can affect learning, as individuals with dyslexia struggle to connect the letters they read with the sounds those letters make.

It is estimated that about 5-10% of the population is affected by dyslexia. Some experts believe the number could be higher, closer to 18%, with proper diagnosis of reading difficulties and learning disabilities.

There are four main types of dyslexia, categorized based on the symptoms displayed by the individual:

  • Phonological Dyslexia: Also known as auditory or dysphonetic dyslexia, it affects the ability to process individual letter sounds and syllables. Individuals with this type struggle to match letter sounds with their written forms.
  • Surface Dyslexia: Also known as visual or dyseidetic dyslexia, it impacts the ability to recognize whole words. This type may stem from vision issues or problems with visual processing in the brain, making it difficult to memorize sight words.
  • Rapid Naming Deficit: Also known as rapid automated naming (RAN), it affects the ability to quickly name a series of letters, colors, or numbers. The brain processes information slowly, causing delays in naming items.
  • Double Deficit Dyslexia: Refers to individuals who have more than one type of dyslexia, commonly a combination of rapid naming deficit and phonological deficit. These individuals experience significant reading impairments.

What Causes Dyslexia?

There is no single cause of dyslexia, and individuals are born with the condition. Several factors can increase the likelihood of developing dyslexia, including:

  • Family history of dyslexia
  • Low or premature birth weight
  • Fetal exposure to harmful substances (e.g., drugs, alcohol, nicotine)
  • Bacterial or viral infections during pregnancy
  • Differences in neuron connectivity in brain areas associated with reading and comprehension
  • Excessive stress at a young age
  • Brain injury or stroke

Symptoms of Dyslexia

Signs of dyslexia vary by age. Symptoms can be observed in early childhood and become more pronounced in school-aged children. Teens and adults with dyslexia exhibit distinctive symptoms.

Symptoms in Preschool-Aged Children:

  • Difficulty memorizing letters and colors
  • Delayed speech development
  • Confusing similar-sounding words
  • Reversing sounds in words or using incorrect words
  • Difficulty with rhyming words or nursery rhymes

Symptoms in School-Aged Children:

  • Trouble learning and slow reading pace
  • Difficulty processing information or remembering sequences
  • Mispronouncing new words or confusing similar-sounding words
  • Writing slowly and needing extra time

Symptoms in Teens and Adults:

  • Delayed processing of read material
  • Poor spelling or illegible handwriting
  • Reading difficulties
  • Low academic performance
  • Difficulty reading aloud or telling a story
  • Struggles in math
  • Mispronunciation of words

Early detection and intervention are crucial for managing dyslexia. Methods that support language development can significantly improve the condition.

How to Get Help

If dyslexia is suspected, discuss concerns with a healthcare provider or pediatrician. They will likely perform a routine checkup to rule out other factors hindering reading and information processing and may look for a specific learning disability.

Inform doctors of all symptoms, including seemingly unrelated ones, major stresses, life changes, learning problems, or medications. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist in speech or behavioral therapy for an official dyslexia diagnosis.

While there is no cure for dyslexia, early detection and intervention tailored to specific needs can help manage the condition effectively.

Resources for Parents and Teachers

Studies show that combining auditory learning with reading helps children with dyslexia process information better. Text-to-speech tools like Synthy can be beneficial.


Synthy’s text-to-speech capabilities assist those with dyslexia by improving word recognition and pronunciation. The software reads documents aloud while highlighting the text, aiding vocabulary building. Synthy offers a free version with 10 standard voices and a premium version for $139 per year, featuring over 30 natural-sounding voices and advanced functions.

Using text-to-speech software can enhance material retention and comprehension, allowing dyslexic individuals to process more context from tone, dictation, and inflection.

International Dyslexia Association

The International Dyslexia Association, based in Baltimore, Maryland, is a non-profit organization dedicated to education and advocacy for dyslexia. They host annual conferences featuring the latest research on dyslexia treatment and awareness.


How can you identify dyslexia by age?

Early signs of dyslexia include delayed speech development in babies and toddlers. Children who don’t say their first words by 15 months or phrases by age 2 are at higher risk.

What are the 4 types of dyslexia?

The four types of dyslexia are phonological dyslexia, surface dyslexia, rapid naming deficit, and double deficit dyslexia (a combination of phonological and rapid naming deficits).

What can dyslexia affect?

Untreated dyslexia can lead to low self-esteem, behavior problems, anxiety, aggression, and relationship difficulties. It can also impact academic and professional performance.