• Characteristics of dyslexia and related disorders: Young Adults & Adults


    • 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


    • Earlier oral language difficulties persist, including a lack of fluency; frequent use of “um’s” and imprecise language; and general anxiety when 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; frequently has “It was on the tip of my tongue” moments
    • Rarely has a fast response in conversations; struggles when put on the spot
    • Spoken vocabulary is smaller than listening vocabulary
    • Avoids saying words that might be mispronounced

    School & Life

    • Despite good grades, often says he’s dumb or is concerned that peers think he’s dumb
    • Penalized by multiple-choice tests
    • Frequently sacrifices social life for studying
    • Suffers extreme fatigue when reading
    • Performs rote clerical tasks poorly


    • Maintains strengths noted during the school-age years
    • Has a high capacity to learn
    • Shows noticeable improvement when given additional time on multiple-choice examinations
    • Demonstrates excellence when focused on a highly specialized area, such as medicine, law, public policy, finance, architecture or basic science
    • Excellent writing skills if the focus is on content, not spelling
    • Highly articulate when expressing ideas and feelings
    • Exceptional empathy and warmth
    • Successful in areas not dependent on rote memory
    • A talent for high-level conceptualization and the ability to come up with original insights
    • Inclination to think outside of the box and see the big picture
    • Noticeably resilient and able to adapt


    © Sally Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia, pp. 125- 127