High School/Adult Signs


  • A childhood history of reading and spelling difficulties

  • While reading skills have developed over time, reading still requires great effort and is done at a slow pace

  • Rarely reads for pleasure

  • Slow reading of most materials books, manuals, subtitles in films

  • Avoids reading aloud

  • May need someone to explain punch lines and humor

  • Has difficulty understanding proverbs and puns.


  • Not fluent, not glib, often anxious while speaking

  • Often pronounces the names of people and places incorrectly; trips over parts of words

  • Difficulty remembering names of people and places; confuses names that sound alike

  • Struggles to retrieve words; has the “it was on the tip of my tongue” moment frequently

  • Rarely has a fast response in conversations and/or writing; struggles when put on the spot

  • Spoken vocabulary is smaller than listening vocabulary

  • Avoids saying words that might be mispronounced

  • Earlier oral language difficulties persist

  • Has difficulty expressing himself

  • Has difficulty sharing what he knows, getting to the point or supporting an argument

  • Has difficulty communicating in a logical, organized manner.

Activities and Life

  • Despite good grades, will often say that she is dumb or is concerned that peers think that she is dumb

  • Penalized by multiple-choice tests

  • Frequently sacrifices social life for studying

  • Suffers extreme fatigue when reading

  • Performs rote clerical tasks poorly

  • Lacks a sense of direction

  • May continue to confuse left and right

  • May have trouble reading charts and graphs

  • May have trouble with spatial concepts and activities such and driving and navigation.

  • May struggle to learn a foreign language.

Source: Overcoming Dyslexia © Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D.


  • The maintenance of strengths noted in the school-age period

  • A high learning capability

  • A noticeable improvement when given additional time on multiple-choice examinations

  • Noticeable excellence when focused on a highly specialized area, such as medicine, law, public policy, finance, architecture, or basic science

  • Excellence in writing if content and not spelling are important

  • A noticeable articulateness in the expression of ideas and feelings

  • Exceptional empathy and warmth, and feeling for others

  • Success in areas not dependent on rote memory

  • A talent for high-level conceptualization and the ability to come up with original insights

  • Big-picture thinking

  • Inclination to think outside of the box

  • A noticeable resilience and ability to adapt