How can you tell if a child is dyslexic?


So how do you tell if a child may be dyslexic? There are some obvious signs, if you know what to look for. But not all children have the same cluster of abilities or difficulties.


Look out for the following areas of weaknesses which will appear alongside abilities, which may be in areas of creativity or in highly developed verbal skills:



  • speed of processing: spoken and/or written language slow
  • poor concentration
  • has difficulty following instructions
  • forgetful of words


Written Work

  • has a poor standard of written work compared with oral ability
  • produces messy work with many crossings out and words tried several times, eg wippe, wype, wiep, wipe
  • is persistently confused by letters which look similar, particularly b/d, p/g, p/q, n/u, m/w
  • has poor handwriting with many ‘reversals’ and badly formed letters
  • spells a word several different ways in one piece of writing
  • makes anagrams of words, eg tired for tried, breaded for bearded
  • produces badly set-out written work, doesn’t stay close to the margin
  • has poor pencil grip
  • produces phonetic and bizarre spelling: not age/ability appropriate
  • uses unusual sequencing of letters or words





  • makes poor reading progress, especially using look and say methods
  • finds its difficulty to blend letters together
  • has difficulty in establishing syllable division or knowing the beginnings and endings of words
  • pronunciation of words unusual
  • no expression in reading and poor comprehension
  • is hesitant and laboured in reading, especially when reading aloud
  • misses out words when reading, or adds extra words
  • fails to recognise familiar words
  • loses the point of a story being read or written
  • has difficulty in picking out the most important points from a passage



  • shows confusion with number order, eg units, tens, hundreds
  • is confused by symbols such as + and x signs
  • has difficulty remembering anything in a sequential order, eg tables, days of the week, the alphabet



  • has difficulty in learning to tell the time
  • shows poor time keeping and general awareness
  • has poor personal organisation
  • has difficulty remembering what day of the week it is, their birth date, seasons of the year, months of the year
  • difficulty with concepts – yesterday, today, tomorrow



  • has poor motor skills, leading to weaknesses in speed, control and accuracy of the pencil
  • has a limited understanding of non verbal communication
  • is confused by the difference between left and right, up and down, east and west
  • has indeterminate hand preference
  • performs unevenly from day to day



  • employs work avoidance tactics, such as sharpening pencils and looking for books
  • seems to ‘dream’, does not seem to listen
  • is easily distracted
  • is the class clown or is disruptive or withdrawn (these are often cries for help)
  • is excessively tired due to amount of concentration and effort required

A child who has a cluster of these difficulties may be dyslexic.


Your next step should be to consult the school’s SENCo immediately, to inform the parents and the child given appropriate help.


Parents can often feel confused and isolated when they are told that their son or daughter may be dyslexic. The Shropshire Dyslexia Association can support parents and children by helping them understand dyslexia and by providing them with advice on where to access tuition and assessments in their area.


Please find a copy of our flyer attached to give to parents.


If you are a teacher and require advice please feel free to contact us.




Dyslexia training for teachers

The British Dyslexia Association provides training for parents and teachers. Details of their courses are available from the British Dyslexia Association website.


Courses local to Shropshire

Local colleges and universities provide courses ranging from 'dyslexia awareness' to undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Details of courses can be found on college and university websites.

Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology

Telford College of Arts and Technology

Wolverhampton University



The Shropshire Dyslexia Association hold an annual conference as well as various information workshops throughout the year. We look forward to hosting our annual event in the Autumn.  Look out for details on our website.




CReSTeD accredit schools for their learning support provision. The organisation maintains  a register of schools which meet their criteria for teaching pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties. For more information follow the link to their website


British Dyslexia Association Quality Mark

The philosophy underpinning the Quality Mark is that changing practice to accommodate dyslexic individuals often results in good practice for everyone.


In the case of educational institutions, the British Dyslexia Association recognises that the majority of moderately dyslexic students will be taught in mainstream classrooms and by non specialist tutors.


Therefore it is important that, as well as employing appropriate teaching methods, all environments are dyslexia friendly. This is what the Quality Mark strives to be.


For more information on Dyslexia Friendly Schools, download the  Application pack for schools in England, Dyslexia Friendly Schools information pack and the ICT Supplement to the Dyslexia Friendly Schools pack.

Contact Us Today:

Shropshire Dyslexia Association Helpline:

Kris Prince

01691 831191


NB This number is staffed by volunteers. Please leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.




Or use our contact form


Charity No:513065

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Dyslexia Tuition

At Belle Vue Methodist Church, Belle Vue Rd, Shrewsbury.


On Saturday mornings during term time between 9.30 am and 12.30 pm.


On Thursday evenings between 4.15 and 6.15 pm.

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