Karen LoGiudice, New England Dyslexia Solutions, ©2008
Most adult dyslexics will exhibit at least 10 of the following traits and behaviours. These characteristics are often inconsistent and may vary depending upon the day or situation.
- Employed in a job/position that will hide difficulties or not require dealing with problematic areas.
- Hides difficulties from co-workers, friends and even family.
- Becomes frustrated at “planning meetings” and sequential tasks – already has the answer and how to do it.
- Becomes frustrated or overwhelmed with long forms or sequential processes.
- Thrives in careers where visual-spatial/kinesthetic talents can be realized: For example – Entrepreneurs, Engineers, Trades (carpentry, plumbing, electrical), Artisans, Interior Decorating, Actors, Musicians, Police/Investigation, Athletes, and Business Executives (usually with staff/assistants).
- May pass up promotions or advancement opportunities that would require more administrative work.
- Has difficulty focusing and staying on task – may feel more comfortable managing many different tasks simultaneously.
- Difficulty with tests – passing standardized tests can be a barrier to career advancement.
- Highly successful/overachiever, or considered “not working up to potential.” Either way displays an extreme work ethic.
- May be a perfectionist and overreact when they make a mistake.
- Out-of-the-box thinker or operates with very strict rules for themselves.
- Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.
- Highly intuitive – known to have “street smarts.” Is often “dead on” in judging personalities of others.
- May be able to sense the emotions and energy of others.
- Remembers struggling in school.
- Frequently have dyslexic children and experience guilt when seeing own child struggle. Insecurities arise while reading to own children or helping them with homework.
- Easily distracted/annoyed by noises and other things in the environment.
- May appear to “zone out” and be unaware that it is happening.
- Enjoys video games.
- Misspeaks, misuses, or mispronounces words without realizing it.
- May have poor balance or is/was very athletic.
- May have excellent recall of events that were experienced or not remember at all.
- May confuse past conversations or be accused of “not listening.”
- Difficulty remembering names of people without tricks, but remembers faces.
- Difficulty remembering verbal instructions or directions.
- Poor recall of conversations or sequence of events.
Math, Time Management, Directions
- May understand higher math, but can’t show it on paper.
- May excel at math, or may still rely on tricks for remembering math facts.
- Relies on calculators or finger counting. May have difficulty with making change.
- Difficulty with left/right and/or North, South, East, West.
- Gets lost easily or never forgets a place they’ve been.
- Difficulty reading maps.
- May have anxiety or stress when driving in unfamiliar places. Relies on others to drive when possible.
- May lose track of time and is frequently late – or is highly aware of it and is very rarely late.
- Finds it difficult to estimate how long a task will take to complete.
Reading, Writing, and Spelling
- Difficulty reading unfamiliar fonts.
- Avoids reading out loud. May dislike public speaking.
- Will commonly perceive that they “read better silently.”
- Has adopted compensatory tricks to remember spelling and homonyms (their, there, they’re), or misuses homonyms and has poor or inconsistent/phonetic spelling.
- Reading fluency and comprehension fluctuates depending upon the subject matter.
- Frequently has to re-read sentences in order to comprehend.
- Fatigues or becomes bored quickly while reading.
- Reliance on others (assistants, spouses, significant others) for written correspondence.
- Uncertainty with words, punctuation, and spelling when writing. Reliance on spell-check and grammar-check.
- Words out of context look “wrong.”
- Poor handwriting – masks spelling mistakes.
- Writes with all capital letters, or mixes capital letters within words. Abbreviates words frequently.
Behaviour, Health, and Personality
- May have a short fuse or is easily frustrated, angered, or annoyed.
- Easily stressed and overwhelmed in certain situations.
- Low self-esteem.
- Self-conscious when speaking in a group. May have difficulty getting thoughts out – pause frequently, speaks in halting phrases or leaves sentences incomplete. This may worsen with stress or distraction.
- Sticks to what they know – fear of new tasks or any situation where they are out of their comfort zone.
- Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.
- Confusion, stress, physical health issues, time pressure, and fatigue will significantly increase symptoms.