6 Symptoms of Dyslexia in Adults

6 Symptoms of Dyslexia in Adults

Dyslexia is a developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to read and write. While the disorder is most often diagnosed in childhood, some people do not receive the proper diagnosis and treatment until adulthood. Adults with undiagnosed dyslexia often feel overwhelmed by their symptoms. They may feel discouraged when struggling with tasks that other adults complete effortlessly, and face a multitude of challenges in their work and home life. 


  1. The inability to read fluently.

The primary and most recognizable sign of dyslexia in children and adults is a persistent difficulty in reading. Adults with dyslexia may be able to read to a certain degree but struggle with a slow and laborious pace, frequent letter confusion, and the need for multiple read-throughs of one passage of information. 

Although they struggle with literary tasks, people with dyslexia possess the same intelligence as their non-dyslexic peers. However, their disability makes decoding unfamiliar words and using reading comprehension skills especially taxing. This creates a noticeable discrepancy between their intelligence and reading/writing abilities. If a dyslexic person’s abilities are substantially hindered by their disability, various aspects of their life can be negatively impacted. Professional tasks like reading emails, enjoying literature, and keeping up with the news can be difficult when struggling with dyslexia. 


  1. Frequent writing mistakes: spelling, grammar, and organization.

Adults with dyslexia often struggle with spelling accurately due to overly relying on basic phonetic sounds that may not align with spelling rules. As a result, their written expression is stunted and marred by frequent spelling errors, poor grammar, and disorganized thoughts. While assistive technology such as autocorrect can be utilized to support a dyslexic adult’s needs, they may struggle in situations with more challenging tasks and without their assistive technology. 

As mentioned previously, written expression is impaired by dyslexia. An individual with dyslexia may not be able to convey ideas fluently and organize in writing. This can be especially challenging in a professional environment that relies on email communication. Career advancement could be disrupted because of this. 


  1. Difficulty with understanding and expressing spoken language.

Dyslexia is directly a result of impaired phonological processing– the ability to recognize and understand the sounds within a language. In dyslexic adults, these phonological deficiencies remain a challenge and can manifest in various ways. While reading and writing are affected in the ways mentioned previously, oral communication is also impacted. Tasks such as word retrieval, pronunciation, and following spoken instructions are a challenge. These difficulties may be hard to pinpoint by an individual, which contributes to dyslexia’s pervasive nature. 


  1. Impaired working memory.

A person’s working memory allows them to retain information as an easily accessible tool. It involves temporarily storing information for it to be used during cognitive tasks. Adults with dyslexia struggle to retain information in their minds. This can look like forgetting numbers during mental math, having to constantly reload cooking instructions and many other frustrating experiences. 

An impaired working memory becomes especially evident in both academic and professional environments where individuals often need to use information retention skills. They likely need to follow multi-step instructions, remember complex information, and retain details- all tasks made difficult by dyslexia. 


  1. Time management and organization issues.

Recent studies have linked attention deficit to dyslexia. The study claims, “poor attentional skills may constitute a risk during the early stages of reading acquisition when children start to learn letter–speech sound associations.”. The lack of control over an individual’s attention span, along with the previously mentioned symptoms of dyslexia often causes time management and organization issues. Adults with dyslexia may find it difficult to plan and follow through with said plans, prioritize tasks, and maintain order and control within their lives. 


The challenges in time management and organization can affect both the personal and professional life of a dyslexic person. They may miss deadlines in the workplace and their disorganization may delay career advancement. Missed plans can damage personal relationships, and disorganization may lead to increased stress. 


  1. Family members with dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a condition that is passed genetically. The child of a parent with dyslexia has a risk of 40–60% of developing dyslexia. Siblings also have an increased likelihood of dyslexia if genetic factors are present in one. Therefore, one family member discovering that they have dyslexia can lead to the recognition of the disorder in related individuals. If a parent discovers that they have dyslexia, they are recommended to stay vigilant in detecting symptoms within their child. Likewise, if a child is found to have dyslexia, parents who have experienced the symptoms present on this list should also seek an evaluation. 



Adults with undiagnosed dyslexia had symptoms that were overlooked in childhood, and recognizing symptoms they have dealt with for their entire life as dyslexia can be extremely difficult. The first step to treatment is recognizing signs such as the ones in this article- difficulty with reading fluency, spelling mistakes, spoken language confusion, impaired working memory, and time management and organization issues. By acknowledging these signs and seeking a diagnosis, a dyslexic person will be able to navigate their unique needs more effectively. Making a distinction between intelligence and specific dyslexic challenges is essential for both people with dyslexia and those without to promote the success of people with learning disabilities. 


READ Academy is a private school in Sacramento for children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Our sister company, READ Learning Center, offers dyslexia screenings and private after-school tutoring. If you are interested in our services and want to learn more, contact us at (916) 258-2080

Categories: Dyslexia