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Learning Disabilities Series – Dyslexia

Learning disabilities series – Dyslexia

I have been asked by a number of mums about learning disabilities and what to do if they suspect their child of having one; therefore I’ve decided to run a series of blogs exploring the variety of learning disabilities that you, as a parent, may encounter.

The first one is on one which I get the most enquiries on. The following information can be found on the British Dyslexia Association website and other material and books on the condition can be purchase via the ‘shop’ section on this website.

Recognising the Dyslexic Child

Published by the British Dyslexia Association.

Dyslexia – comes from the Greek and means ‘difficulty with words’. Dyslexic individuals may have problems with maths, musical notation, foreign languages and problems with organisation in general.

It is more than difficulty with reading. Another term for Dyslexia is ‘Specific Learning Difficulties’ see Code of Practice on Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs – section 3:60.

Dyslexia does not mean a child is stupid, but it does mean that s/he learns differently. Teachers who use multi-sensory methods find these are most effective as they make use of all the possible ways to receive information. Many Dyslexic people have strengths in other areas; they may be creative, original thinkers etc and have a great deal to give. There is no reason why a Dyslexic Child should not succeed once the difficulty has been identified and followed up with appropriate teaching across the curriculum.

Dyslexia tends to run in families. You may have a relative who has had problems, though not necessarily exactly the same problems that your child is having.

It is important to recognise Dyslexia /Special Learning Difficulties (SpLD) as soon as possible since early help can prevent many of the later difficulties.

Signs of Dyslexia – Pre-school indicators:

  • Family history of dyslexic problems
  • Later than expected learning to speak properly
  • Jumbled phrases e.g. ‘teddy dare’ for ‘teddy bear’
  • Quick ‘thinker’ and ‘do-er’
  • Use of substitute words or ‘near misses’
  • Miss-labelling e.g. ‘lampshade’ for ‘lamp post’
  • A lisp e.g. ‘duckth’ for ‘ducks’
  • Inability to remember the label for known objects e.g. colours
  • Confused directional words e.g. up/down, in/out
  • Excessive tripping, bumping and falling over nothing
  • Enhanced creativity – often good at drawing, has a good sense of colour
  • Obvious ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days
  • Aptitude for constructional or technical toys e.g. puzzles, Lego blocks, TV remote control
  • Enjoys being read to but shows no interest in letters or words
  • Difficulty in learning nursery rhymes
  • Finds difficulty with rhyming words e.g. ‘cat, sat, mat’ etc.
  • Finds difficulty with odd-one-out e.g. ‘cat, mat, pig, fat”
  • Did not crawl – was a bottom-shuffler’
  • Difficulty with sequencing e.g. copying a coloured bead sequence
  • Appears ‘bright’, but seems ‘an enigma’

Signs of Dyslexia – Children of nine or under will show SOME of the following:

  • Particular difficulty learning to read, write and spell. Reading may ‘come’, but writing and spelling still hold great difficulties and the child finds them tiring
  • Persistent and continued reversing of numbers and letters ‘b’ for ‘d’, 36 for 63 etc
  • Difficulty telling left/right; with direction and time ‘before/after’, points of compass, yesterday/tomorrow etc.
  • Problems with telling the time; a poor perception of how time passes; may be unpunctual
  • Difficulty with sequencing – alphabet, multiplication tables, months of year
  • Needs to use fingers, bricks or marks on paper for calculations in number work
  • Difficulty with remembering and following instructions
  • Good and bad days for no apparent reason – could read a word yesterday but not today
  • Difficulty kicking/catching a ball, skipping/hopping, tying shoelaces
  • Appears to be bright, but ‘unable to get it down on paper’; contributes well in class discussions
  • Frustration may lead to behavioural problems
  • Beginning to lose confidence and have low self esteem

Signs of Dyslexia – Children of twelve or under will show SOME of the following:

  • Some of the earlier difficulties listed above will still be in evidence
  • Continued apparently ‘careless’ mistakes in reading and/or a lack of comprehension
  • Earlier difficulties with spellings still apparent; letters may be left out, put in the wrong order, b/d confusion remains
  • Speed of reading comprehension seem slower than expected for his age and intelligence
  • Problems copying from the black/whiteboard
  • Difficulty taking dictation
  • Takes much longer than he should to do written work at home or school
  • May avoid reading for pleasure as it is too difficult

Signs of Dyslexia – Children in Secondary School will show SOME of the following:

  • Persistent problems with writing and spelling if the difficulties have not been spotted and help given earlier
  • May read inaccurately and have difficulty extracting information from text
  • Difficulty with perception of language e.g. listening comprehension; with following instructions
  • Tendency to confuse telephone numbers
  • Extreme difficulty in learning a foreign language
  • Problems with planning and writing essays
  • Works well with computer producing work of higher calibre than when writing
  • When tired or under stress slips back into earlier habits
  • May have confusion with times, dates and places
  • Continued low self esteem and lack of confidence


If your child is entering for an examination, certification of his or her difficulties can be sent by the school to the Examining Board asking for special arrangements. Allowances may include extra time and in severe cases a reader or scribe. Under certain conditions a word processor may be used.

Free BDA leaflets available on request and receipt of stamped SAE, also on Web

( or by E-mail (

• Key Stage 2 SATs, Assessment and Arrangements

• Modern Foreign Languages

• Eyes and Dyslexia

Special Provision in GCSE and GCE

Taken from ‘Early Help Better Future’, ‘Recognising the Dyslexic Child’ and ‘Dyslexia your First Questions Answered’ CP/7/98.

Published by the British Dyslexia Association.

Books and other material can now be purchase via the shop on this website.

I hope you got a lot out of the above article, I certainty learned something new today.

That’s it for now, until next time