Identifiying Dyslexia


5 Steps For Identifying Dyslexia in Your Child:

Step 1: Talk To Your Child

Talk to your child. Some children with dyslexia have trouble deciphering meaning from words that are heard. Is your child confused by things you ask or tell? Is your child confused with commands involving direction like up and down or over and under? Do you have to repeat yourself or reword your commands or dialogue with your child? Does your child seem not to hear you? Does your child have consistent difficulty explaining things to you?

Step 2: Read With Your Child

Read with your child. If your child is just beginning to identify words in isolation or is able to read full sentences and paragraphs, pay attention to the way your child reads. Don’t always draw attention to mistakes, but pay attention to the mistakes your child makes to see if a pattern is developing. Children who have dyslexia and other reading disabilities make specific types of errors when reading and writing.

Step 3: Can Your Child Sound Out Words?

Listen to the way your child sounds out words. Does your child struggle with reading even a simple sentence or word? Is your child’s reading very choppy even when reading books that you have read together several times? Does your child reverse letters or numbers; deb for bed, left for felt, sing for sign, or 12 for 21? Is your child unaware of rhyming words or syllables of words? Does your child omit suffixes? Some children with dyslexia will replace a word with a similar word – house for horse, for example – even if it alters the meaning.

Step 4: Did Your Child Understand What They Just Read?

Ask questions while reading. When your child finishes reading or when you finish reading ask your child questions about what just happened, characters present, and their feelings and predictions of what will happen. Children with dyslexia will usually be able to answer questions from stories read to them but will have difficulty answering questions after they read to themselves. The child with dyslexia will spend a lot of energy “reading” the words without understanding the meaning or sequence of the words.

Step 5: Observe Your Child’s Writing

Write with your child. Does your child have difficulty spelling common or familiar words even when copying words from a book? Does your child have difficulty expressing thoughts and ideas in written form? Children with dyslexia will often make the same mistakes in written form as they do when reading. Look for number, letter or word reversals; omissions or additions when writing; as well as consistent difficulty with common sight words like and, of, ball, they and from.



Put an X by each

One that applies

Name of Student:__________________________________Date of Birth:___________________________________Grade:________________________________________


Unable to read satisfactorily in spite of adequate intelligence and educational opportunity
Work does not reflect intellectual ability.
Unusual difficulty in handwriting.
Unusual difficulty in spelling (beyond the weekly spelling test).
Unable to recite the alphabet in sequence.
Unable to write the alphabet in sequence.
Reversals, rotations, transpositions, in reading and writing.
Directional confusion: left-right, before-after, over-under.
Poor recall ability, especially for names and words.
Poor auditory discrimination or confusion with similar speech sounds.
Unable to copy accurately from the near point, far point, or both.
No definite preference for right or left hand.
Difficulty following directions.
Forgets assignments and/or loses papers.
Lacks organizational skills.
Short attention span.
Overly active and disturbing in classroom.
Unusually passive and withdrawn.
Inconsistent: Knows the material some days and doesn’t remember it on other days.
A downward trend in achievement scores can be noted.
Shelley Hatch             
Dyslexia Center of Utah


Difficullty with Handwriting and/ or copying

  1. Make a copy of the page.
  2. Appoint an official class notetaker.
  3. Keep copying from board, worksheets or books to a minimum.
  4. Allow oral work as a substitute.
  5. Accept illustrations.
  6. Accept briefest form of an answer.


Difficulty with Spelling

  1. Don’t count spelling; never count off for reversals.
  2. Use a spell check on word processor or a spellchecker.
  3. Provide a word bank.


Difficulty with Reading

  1. Use highlighted or underlined reading materials.
  2. Provide taped texts.
  3. Shared reading (buddy, choral, parent).
  4. Allow someone to read to the student.


Difficulty with Written Composition

  1. Accept oral work as a substitute.
  2. Accept projects as a substitute.
  3. Shorten the written requirements.
  4. Let the student dictate to a scribe.
  5. Be very specific about expectations.


Difficulty with the Concept of the Passage of Time.

  1. Work out a system (teacher/parent) for modifications in homework.
  2. Reduce the amount of homework.
  3. Divide long term assignments into stages.
  4. Maintain a calendar.


Poor Organizational Skills

  1. Encourage students to color code textbooks, notebooks and folders.
  2. Teach the student how to keep a notebook.
  3. Monitor the notebook system, especially homework assignment pages.
  4. Give preferential seating.


Short Attention Span

  1. Divide the assignment into manageable parts.
  2. Have a set procedure for the class.
  3. Maintain structure within the classroom.
  4. Use a signal to focus or refocus attention.
  5. Provide visual aids.
  6. Provide concrete manipulative materials.


Low Self-Esteem

  1. Find something good to say each day.
  2. Go easy on the red marks.
  3. Watch for signs of progress.
  4. Point out what the student has done well.
  5. Avoid saying, “this child is not trying.”


High Anxiety in Testing Situations

  1. Give tests orally.
  2. Allow more time.
  3. Allow the test to be taken in a different environment.
  4. Give shorter and more frequent tests.
  5. Place fewer questions or problems on a page.
  6. Reduce the number of items in matching tests
  7. Give multiple choice tests instead of objective tests.
  8. Be aware of overall test readability.
  9. Discuss the test format ahead of time.
  10. Give additional help or structure during the test.
  11. Make sure the student has a readable review sheet.
  12. Summarize the most important ideas with concept cards.
  13. Review material with concept cards.
  14. Do not use scantron answer sheets.
  15. Modifications for state tests.


If student has been identified as dyslexic, it must be noted.


Common Warning Signs of Dyslexia in Children in Grades 3-8 (click on link below)