Redbridge Dyslexia Support Group

What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a complex neurological condition which is constitutional in origin. The symptoms may affect many areas of learning, and may be described as a specific learning difficulty in reading, spelling and written language.  Numeracy, rotational skills (music), motor function and organisational skills may also be involved. Dyslexia is particularly related to mastering written language, although oral language may be affected to some degree.

The word "Dyslexia" comes from the Greek language, and it's literal translation is from the words "dys", meaning difficulty, and "lexis", meaning words. Difficulty with words. It is evident that any child or student experiencing such a difficulty will have a bad time in school, which is so book-based. School and society value those who quickly acquire a good standard in literacy skills, the very skills which dyslexic people find so difficult to master. Based on government sponsored studies, the British Dyslexia Association estimates that 10% of children have some degree of dyslexia, while about 4% will be affected severely. 4% is one child in every class on average. Most will need some special teaching at some time during their school life, but the most severely affected may need help throughout their education, with support even at college and university. BDA HANDBOOK 1995


Please note: Many of the difficulties listed below are common during the acquisition and use of language.

It is only when they persist beyond the time when an average child has grown out of them that they may indicate dyslexia, and expert advice should be sought:

    • Family history of dyslexic problems
    • Speaking clearly progressing later than expected
    • Jumbled phrases (eg. cobbler club instead of toddler club, or teddy dare for teddy bear)
    • Quick thinker and do-er
    • Use of substitute words of near misses
    • Mis-labelling (eg. Lampshade for lamp-post)
    • A lisp, ducth instead of ducks
    • Inability to remember the 'label' (eg. may be able to separate different colours, but be unable to tell
    • Confused directional words (eg. Up/down or in/out)
    • Excessive tripping, bumping and falling over nothing
    • Enhanced creativity, often good at drawing, good sense of colour
    • Obvious good and bad days for no apparent reason
    • Aptitude for constructional or technical toys (eg. computers and lego)
    • Enjoys being read to, but no interest in letters or words.
    • Difficulty learning the words to nursery rhymes.
    • Difficulty with odd-one out games (eg. cat, mat, pig, fat)
    • Difficulty with rhyming words.
    • Bottom shuffler, not crawler
    • Difficulty with sequencing

Early School
    • Confusion of letters similar in shape (eg d and b, u and n)
    • Confusion of letters similar in sound.
    • Reversals, was becomes saw
    • Transposals, left becomes felt, auction becomes caution
    • Omission or insertion of words
    • Repetition of a word or phrase
    • Changing the sequence of words, she is becomes is she
    • Confusion of small words, of, for, from etc.
    • Bizarre spelling

    • Difficulty in keeping correct place on line.
    • Difficulty between switching from the end of one line to the beginning of the next.
    • No expression, or intonation in the wrong place.
    • Difficulty understanding a passage, even when it has been correctly read.
    • Faulty auditory sequence, Roman merains, instead of Roman remains
    • Mispronouncing some words, remember instead of remember.
    • Difficulty in sounding out unfamiliar words.

    • For shortening, remember instead of remember.
    • Fusion (up).
    • Repetition of a word, or words.
    • Capitals left out, or in the wrong places.
    • I's not dotted, t's not crossed, i's crossed.
    • Badly formed letters, or if shape is correct, unconventionally formed.
    • Difficulty in keeping to the line.
    • Omission of punctuation, confusion over punctuation and syntax.
    • Odd pencil grip.
    • Difficulty in copying from the blackboard.

Other Indications
    • Late in learning to speak
    • Difficulty in repeating long words (eg. unanimous or preliminary)
    • Confusion between right and left, east and west, up and down etc.
    • Difficulty in sequencing, alphabet, months in the year etc.
    • Difficulty in learning tables, or doing mental arithmetic.
    • Slow in looking up words in a dictionary, or names in a telephone book.
    • Poor concentration and memory.
    • Difficulty in interpreting other symbols, figures, notes in music, morse etc.
    • Late in learning to tell the time and do things like tie shoelaces.
    • Difficulty with concepts such as in-on-under and yesterday-today-tomorrow.
    • Other poor readers or bad spellers in the family. Left handed or mixed laterality in the child.
    • Particular artistic or mechanical talents

Secondary School On-wards
    • Slow reading rate
    • Embarrassment at reading aloud, and use of avoidance tactics
    • No reading for pleasure
    • Needs to read twice, once to decode, and a second for the meaning
    • May have mastered reading, but poor spelling and handwriting
    • Difficulties in taking notes, can't listen and write simultaneously
    • No logical order in essays
    • Top set for science, bottom for English. Remedial English lessons, but not a slow learner
    • Foreign languages a problem
    • Can easily follow diagrams (eg. electrical circuits)
    • Loses concentration easily
    • Dis-organised, difficulty in planning time and keeping track of materials
    • Work is very erratic, good and bad days