Recognizing the Signs of Dyslexia

What is Dyslexia?

Understanding what dyslexia looks like for different individuals as well as at different ages and situations is essential to overcoming it. The sooner the signs of dyslexia are recognized the easier it is to overcome. However, even adults who have lived with it for a lifetime can still overcome it with the correct treatment.

Dyslexia is described as an individual who, even with a lot of tutoring, has difficulty reading fluently and if they are able to decode what they read than they are not unable to recall what they have read (because they use all of their working memory on the decoding).

Recent research by Dr. Sally Shaywitz at Yale University has found that dyslexia is related to a phonological deficit in which the individual cannot detect phonemes. Even with good hearing, certain individuals do not detect certain sounds (phonemes) correctly as a result of slow and inaccurate auditory processing. Even with 20/20 vision, this affects their visual input in terms of what words they see as even their visual processing will become slower and more likely to be incorrect since auditory processing precedes the visual when it comes to reading.

What many parents find most confusing and frustrating is that a child can read individual words, lists or paragraphs, but then cannot read a word they have just read ten times in a previous paragraph. This is because a dyslexic child reads from their working memory which becomes easily exhausted (after about 10-15 minutes). This is why Cellfield is a unique reading program because it improves and bonds the auditory processing to the visual by using the principles of neuroplasticity (reshaping the neural connections in the brain). This improves reading comprehension because the child is no longer decoding from their working memory but reading from the Parito-Occipito lobe.

Signs of Dyslexia

Everyday Tasks

  • Confusion between left and right
  • May have difficulty learning to tie shoes
  • Late talker
  • May lack depth perception, peripheral vision as well as night vision or dark adaptation
  • May at times be clumsy and other times very precise
  • May be hyperactive, highly imaginative and often lost in daydreams
  • Has a hard time learning nursery rhymes, such as “Jack and Jill”
  • Doesn’t recognize rhyming patterns like cat, mat, sat
  • Frequently uses filler words like stuff and thing when speaking
  • Mixes up words that sound alike such as meaning to say specific and says pacific instead
  • Mispronounces words such aminal instead of animal or says pasghetti instead of spaghetti


  • Complains that letters, numbers and other symbols on page moves, blurs and even disappears.
  • May be able to read a word correctly or even a paragraph at first and then be unable to read the same word correctly in the next paragraph. (This is due to the person reading from Broca’s area of their brain which becomes quickly exhausted)
  • Difficulty learning names of letters in the alphabet
  • Mispronounces familiar words
  • Complains of feeling dizzy, nauceous or of stomach hurting when reading
  • Makes mistakes when reading that is totally different form the words on the page. May say cat instead of kitten because they use the context of an illustration of a cat.
  • Has a hard time understanding that words can be broken down into smaller units
  • Can read a text several times and has little comprehension of storyline or meaning.
  • Dislikes reading and tries to avoid reading time both in class and at home
  • May not connect letters with their sounds, such as the letter b with the “b” sound
  • Reading is slow and laborious compared to peers
  • Lacks reading strategies to sound out new words because they possess a phonemic deficit and lack understanding of phonemic rules


  • Writing has repetitions, doubles, omission of words and poor hand-writing
  • Spelling is based on the way words sound (phonetically) rather than correct spelling
  • Difficulty spelling simple words like cat, map, nap

Young Adults & Adults

  • History of reading challenges as a child
  • Never reads for pleasure and reading is laborious and requires extensive time developed over time
  • Avoids reading aloud
  • May become disruptive during class or ask to be dismissed to use washroom during class reading time.
  • May mispronounce or mix up letters or names of people, places, objects, movie titles etc.
  • Frequently has to pause to retrieve words

What Causes Dyslexia?

There are many causes of dyslexia that involve both the nature and nurture factor. Certain children carry certain genetic predispositions. However, research has found that even among studies of twins–that there was only a 50% likelihood of the other twin also being dyslexic. Environmental factors such as environmental toxicity, nutrition, food allergies as well as emotional or physical trauma can greatly affect a child’s brain development and how certain genes will express themselves.