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Recognising Dyslexia in Children and Teenagers

If you are finding that your child is struggling at school or finding it hard to keep up with their classmates, there may be a few contributing factors- including dyslexia. As the signs and symptoms of dyslexia differ from person to person, it can sometimes be difficult to recognise. Here at Tutor Doctor we want to raise awareness of dyslexia as well as explain the symptoms in more detail so that you know what to look out for if you’re concerned. The sooner dyslexia is identified, the sooner your child can start getting the additional help they need and start learning in a way that best suits their needs.

What is dyslexia?
Put simply dyslexia is a learning disorder that makes it tricky for students to read, write, recognise words and symbols and interpret words. It is one of the most common learning disorders, affecting around 80% of all students with learning disabilities.

How can I recognise dyslexia?

Delayed speech: If your child has delayed speech development compared to other children in their year group this may indicate they are suffering from dyslexia.

Pronunciation Problems: It is also common for dyslexic children to have difficulty pronouncing words or sounds especially the letters R, L, M and N. Jumbling phrases such as ‘heciloter’ or ‘beddy tear’ can also suggest your child is having trouble with pronunciation.

Difficulty Talking Out loud: Children that have dyslexia can sometimes have problems expressing themselves out loud. For example they may not be able to remember the right word to use in a certain context or put sentences together correctly.

Trouble copying work: Some children that are dealing with dyslexia may have difficulty interpreting words and symbols or have issues copying work down correctly from the board or a textbook.

Muddled words and letters: Sometimes dyslexic suffers can have trouble learning letters and find it hard to understand the order that they appear in a word. This can often result in them mixing up the order of letters when writing out words.

Other things to look out for:

  • Inconsistent/Unpredictable spelling
  • Writing letters/figures the wrong way round
  • Slow writing
  • Poor handwriting

Trouble recognising words: If you are noticing that your child reads very slowly and has trouble recognising words, it may be worth keeping a close eye on their reading abilities.

Disparity between reading and learning: You may see that your child learns very quickly in areas such as practical based subjects but falls behind in lessons that are heavily text/reading related.

Visual Disturbances: It is very common for children with dyslexia to describe letters and words as seeming to move around the page or appear blurry and un-readable.

Other areas to look out for:

  • Trouble learning the names and sounds of letters
  • Making errors when reading aloud
  • Reading slowly
  • Difficulty recognising rhyming words

Maths problems: Dyslexia isn’t restricted to reading and writing. Maths can often be another subject where children with dyslexia have difficulty, as symbols and numbers can be just as difficult to read and understand as letters. If you are having concerns make sure you keep an eye on all of your child’s subjects that involve any text or numbers.

Other Areas

  • Some Dyslexic children don’t establish a dominant side until much later on in life.
  • They may also struggle to tell the difference between left and right and can be clumsy.

Recognising in teens/adults
Dyslexia doesn’t only affect children; teenagers and adults may also be struggling with it too. Here are some signs that they may be suffering from this learning disability.

  • Trouble planning and writing essays
  • Problems revising for examinations
  • Avoiding reading/writing
  • Poor spelling
  • Difficulties meeting deadlines
  • Poorly organised written work with lack of expression

How can I help my child?
If you think that your child may have dyslexia or you are concerned about their progress/learning at school, it’s imperative that you talk to their teacher or tutor. They will be able to provide them with additional learning resources, one-to-one learning and in some cases extra time on assignments or exams.

If you find that teacher/tutors have ongoing concerns about your child’s dyslexia, it may be worth visiting your family GP just in case there are any other underlying problems that are affecting their learning abilities.