Signs in Teenagers

It is not always easy to recognise dyslexia in teenagers. A teenage pupil may be quick thinking  but feel they have a block with reading and writing or find it difficult to express their ideas clearly. They may be disorganised, forgetful or feel frustrated by these things; this can be an indication of dyslexia.

Dyslexia shows itself in a variety of ways, including weaknesses in memory, poor sequencing ability and hand-eye skills. It can be hereditary or the result of specific circumstances such as childhood illnesses and manifests itself with different levels of severity.

A teenage pupil may put a considerable amount of time and effort into ‘keeping up’, spending hours on coursework that other pupils take much less time over. They may feel that although they have good understanding of things and capable reasoning abilities, despite their hard work and dedication, they are unhappy with the results.

It is important to remember that dyslexia is not just a literacy problem and thus, dyslexics may have good reading and writing skills. Teenage dyslexics may have well developed literacy skills but may still be facing some other dyslexic difficulties. You should not presume that, because a person can read and write well, that they are not also dyslexic.

These are some of the signs that a teenager may have dyslexia. They may have a collection of these indicators but it is unlikely they will have all of them.

  • The pupil may not take in the meaning of what they are reading although they can read fairly swiftly and accurately.
  • Not confident about spelling. When writing at length, they make careless mistakes with both spelling and sentence structure.
  • Difficulty transferring ideas in their head into a written form in a clear and well-organised way.
  • Short-term memory is poor. Difficulty remembering telephone numbers, lists of instructions and taking notes in lessons.
  • May lose the thread of what is being said to them.
  • Hand-eye skills. Although, they may be very good at sport or crafts, there is a difficulty with hand and eye co-ordination when together performing small movements e.g. in handwriting.
  • Difficulty with sequences. They may write letters or numbers in the wrong order, miss letters out of words, or words out of sentences. Also, they may find it hard to use dictionaries or keep a good filing system.
  • They may mix up left and right.
  • Anxiety. If a student feels anxious about these difficulties, the feeling makes their difficulties worse.