About dyslexia

Did you know that around two million people in the UK have a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia? On these pages you can look for help, and find out more about the Dyslexia Research Trust’s research and activities in this area.

What is Dyslexia?

Developmental dyslexia is a specific difficulty with learning to read, spell or write (or any combination of these) in someone whose oral and non-verbal intelligence is at least average, health is normal and receives adequate teaching. It is usually due to inherited differences in the parts of the brain which process vision and language. Acquired dyslexia is due to damage to these areas from trauma, strokes or tumours.

Some of the common features of Dyslexia are shown below, but people with dyslexia have their own individual profiles of strengths and weaknesses; no two individuals are the same and the impact of dyslexia on each is different:

  • Difficulty learning to read despite normal intelligence, adequate teaching, and parental support.
  • Family history of similar problems.
  • Commoner in males.
  • Childhoold 'milestones'(crawling, walking, speaking, throwing) are often delayed.
  • Slow to learn to speak; poor at rhyming; mispronouncing words, lisps, not noticing small differences between word sounds.
  • Mis-sequencing and slow at learning letters, letter sounds, the alphabet, colours, days of week, months of year, multiplication tables.
  • Poor coordination with unusual clumsiness.
  • Difficulty with distinguishing left from right.
  • Letter and number reversals.
  • Letters appear to blur and move around and get in the wrong order.
  • Bizarre spelling, same word spelt several different ways on the same page;spelling learnt one day forgotten the next.
  • Difficulty with phonology (the sounds in words) is often claimed to be the most important feature, although these problems are found in any poor reader.
  • Hatred of reading aloud.
  • Difficulty copying from blackboard.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Confusing left and right.
  • Getting directions in the wrong order.
  • Illogical sequencing of ideas.
  • Immunological problems such as asthma, eczema, hay fever, other allergies.
  • Dyslexia overlaps with many related neurodevelopmental conditions; these tend to run in the same families, e.g Dysphasia (Specific Language Impairment), Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder), Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Asberger's & Autism. The overlap with ADHD is around 30-50%, and with dyspraxia it is even higher.
  • NB often dyslexics have exceptional talents in other areas: the arts, engineering, business and computing.
  • Many of Dyslexics' problems stem from Society's misunderstanding and prejudice against dyslexia, see Dwight Richardson Kelly's article here


  • Late in learning to talk, or with speaking clearly.
  • Mispronounces familiar words; persistent "baby talk".
  • Doesn't recognize rhyming patterns like cat, bat, rat.
  • Trouble learning common nursery rhymes, such as "Jack and Jill".
  • Difficulty learning (and remembering) the names of the letters in the alphabet.
  • Unable to recognize the letters in his/her own name.
  • Family history of reading and/or spelling difficulties.
  • Allergies, ashma, eczema, hayfever.


  • Particular difficulty with reading or spelling.
  • Figures, or letters, the wrong way round e.g. 15 for 51, 6 for 9, b for d,'was' for 'saw'.
  • Confuses the order of letters in words.
  • Reads a word then fails to recognise it further down the same page.
  • Spells a word several different ways without recognising the correct version.
  • Poor concentration span for reading and writing.
  • Trouble with sounds in words, poor sense of rhyme.
  • Difficulty pronouncing words, reversing or substituting parts of words.
  • Doesn't hear fine differences in words; e.g., writes "pin" for "pen".
  • Answers questions well orally but has great difficulty writing down the answer.
  • Confuses left and right.
  • Difficulty carrying out a sequence of directions.
  • Difficulty understanding time and tense.
  • Unusually clumsy.
  • Has problems stating thoughts in an organized way.
  • Allergies, asthma, eczema, hayfever.

    Where a child is experiencing visual disturbances when reading print such as: blurred letters/words; letters that appear to move around, shimmer, shake or 'fizz'; letters that appear to break into two; difficulty with tracking across the page; glare on the page; oversensitivity to bright lights; tiring after only a few minutes; or headaches when reading, drtorthoptics@yahoo.co.uk  can often help to get rid of these anomalies.


  • Bright in many ways but has a 'block' on reading and writing.
  • Very slow and inaccurate reading, particularly out loud.
  • Very bad spelling.
  • Difficulty remembering what s/he has just read.
  • Difficulty remembering telephone numbers.
  • Difficulty concentrating when reading or writing.
  • Bad at telling important from unimportant details.
  • Difficulty taking notes or copying.
  • Difficulty with planning, writing essays, letters or reports.
  • Difficulty carrying out three instructions in sequence.
  • Allergies, asthma, eczema, hayfever.