37 Characteristics of Dyslexia

Ronald Davis, author of The Gift of Dyslexia, has created a list of

thirty-seven common traits and behaviours of people who have the gift of dyslexia. If a person possesses nine or ten of these traits, this program would be helpful in correcting the problems associated with dyslexia.

From  Test for Dyslexia – 37 Common Traits© 1992 by Ronald D. Davis; Used with Permission


  • Appears bright, highly intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.

  • Labeled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, "not trying hard enough," or "behavior problem."

  • Isn't "behind enough" or "bad enough" to be helped in the school setting.

  • Employed in positions that hide difficulties or not required in dealing with problematic areas.

    Will hide these from co-workers, friends and family.

  • Will avoid promotions that require to face these problematic areas.

  • High I.Q., yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written.

  • Feels dumb; has poor self-esteem; hides or covers up weaknesses with ingenious

    compensatory strategies; easily frustrated and emotional about school reading or testing.

  • Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing,

    building, or engineering.

  • Seems to "Zone out" or daydream often.

  • Difficulty sustaining attention; seems "hyper" or considered "daydreamer."

  • Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation,

    and visual aids.

Vision, Reading, and Spelling

  • Complains of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading.

  • Confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences, or verbal explanations.

  • Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions,

    and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.

  • Extremely keen sighted and observant, or lacks depth perception and peripheral vision.

  • Reads and rereads with little comprehension. Avoids reading out loud. Finds reading


  • Spells phonetically and inconsistently.

Hearing and Speech

  • Has extended hearing; hears things not said or apparent to others; easily distracted by sounds.

  • Difficulty putting thoughts into words; speaks in halting phrases; leaves sentences incomplete; stutters under stress; mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words, and syllables when speaking.

  • Poor memory of verbal instructions be accused of “not listening”.



Writing and Motor Skills

  • Trouble with writing or copying; pencil grip is unusual; handwriting varies or is illegible.

  • Clumsy, uncoordinated, poor at ball or team sports; difficulties with fine and/or gross motor

    skills and tasks; prone to motion sickness.



Math and Time Management

  • Has difficulty telling time, managing time, learning sequenced information or tasks, or being on time. May find it difficult to estimate how long a task will take to complete.

  • Computing math shows dependence on finger counting and or calculators; knows answers, but can't do it on paper.

  • Can count, but has difficulty counting objects and difficulty with money and counting change.

  • Can do arithmetic, but fails word problems; cannot grasp algebra or higher math.

  • May experience anxiety when driving in new places and relies on others to drive when

    possible. May get lost easily and finds it difficult to follow directions.



Memory and Cognition

  • Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.

  • Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced.

  • Thinks primarily with images and feeling, not sounds or words (little internal dialogue).



Behaviour, Health, Development and Personality

  • Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.

  • Can be class clown, trouble-maker, or too quiet.

  • Highly intuitive.

  • May be known as having a “short fuse” or easily angered.

  • May appear as a “perfectionist” and overreacts when a mistake is made.

  • Prone to ear infections; sensitive to foods, additives, and chemical products.

  • Can be an extra deep or light sleeper; bed-wetting beyond appropriate age.

  • Unusually high or low tolerance for pain.

  • Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional

    stress, or poor health.

If you demonstrate more than 10 of these character traits and would like support contact Jane