Sometimes dyslexia can hide in plain sight and can be difficult to detect. While there are several indicators, here is a list of five more subtle signs that are often overlooked or dismissed as being quirky, too tired to read, or just a passing phase.
1 - Difficulty Rhyming
Correctly interpreting sounds in words is at the root of dyslexia. Therefore, the ability to hear and manipulate individual sound units that make up words to rhyme is often extremely challenging for dyslexic children. An early sign of dyslexia is difficulty in learning to hear rhymes and make rhymes. (“What rhymes with ring?”) Children with dyslexia also have difficulty separating the individual sounds in a word and manipulating sounds can be tricky. (Say “win” without saying the /w/ - “in.”)
2 - Consistently Inconsistent Reading
Have you ever worked with a child on a word only to have them not know it the very next day? This can be common with dyslexic readers. Before saying things like, “You know this!” or “Work harder!” realize that they may be having a hard time recognizing the individual sounds in the word even though you went over it yesterday. Matching those sounds to letters and then fluently reading the word is an extremely complex process for a dyslexic person. The information is there, but the automatic reading of the word may not be done effortlessly.
3- Writing and Spelling Are Hard
Spelling can be difficult because of the language learning weakness that is at the core of dyslexia. Spelling reversals of easily confused letters like b and d, sequencing letters such as snet for sent, or spelling words by sound rather than using previously learned patterns and rules to spell (like when said becomes sed) can be indicators of dyslexia. This breakdown in spelling can make writing a dreaded task for a dyslexic student.
4 - Struggles with Word Retrieval
Children with dyslexia often have challenges with word retrieval or word finding when speaking. This means it is difficult to recall a word that a child knows and this can impact their spoken language or conversation skills profoundly. It’s not a breakdown of understanding the word or its meaning, but rather a breakdown getting the word with the right order of sounds to come out. Sometimes a different and similar word might come out, like the child who told his parent, “He’s a wolf in cheap clothing.” Other times, you may hear lots of “ums”, “thingies”, or other hesitations in conversation such as, “You know, that thingy in the parking lot that has four wheels!?”
5 - Challenges Memorizing Information
Retrieval problems can make rote memorization of sight words and math facts extremely difficult for dyslexic students. Sight words cannot be decoded or sounded out and they have unique spellings. When a reader frequently substitutes sight words with other words this could be an indicator of dyslexia – especially if the student has had exposure and practice with this word previously.