Understanding The Struggles of Students with Dyslexia!

School districts across the country are constantly in pursuit of high test scores, sufficient financial support, and intelligent, altruistic teachers. But perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects –one that is most necessary to prompt positive change in and out of the classroom –is courage.

Educators around the world must find the courage to step out of their comfort zone to understand Dyslexia. Doing so will empower them to help identify those students who struggle with reading, writing, and spelling as possibly being dyslexic. Sharing this information with the parents and the school could have a positive, life-changing impact on the student.

What is Dyslexia?

DYS = difficulty LEXIA = language

Dyslexia, in the simplest terms, means difficulty with language.

Dyslexia is an inherited condition that makes it extremely difficult to read, write, and spell in your native language despite having average to above-average intelligence.

Dyslexia is not uncommon. It is estimated that up to 20 percent of the population (1 out of 5 people) are dyslexic.

The Different Variations

The severity of Dyslexia can range from mild to severe, and school is often difficult for children with Dyslexia. Their struggles in the classroom environment often lead to low self-esteem because they do not feel as smart as their peers. It is critical to understand that Dyslexia does not impact one's intelligence.

In fact, dyslexics are average to above average in intelligence. With the correct instructional approach and appropriate accommodations, students with Dyslexia can excel in the classroom and even surpass their peers.

Spotting Dyslexia

If three or more of these warning signs exist, especially if there is Dyslexia or AD/HD in the family tree, the child should be tested for Dyslexia when the child becomes five years old. Older children should be tested as soon as possible. Remember, it is never too late to be diagnosed and to get help.

Dyslexia Symptoms

Dyslexia ranges from mild to moderate or severe to profound, and no two people with Dyslexia are the same. The severity and co-morbidities (ADHD) can vary.

If you have three or more warning signs, it could be Dyslexia! If your child has trouble in the early levels of school, get help immediately!

Do not wait to see if your child will grow out of it.


  • Delayed speech
  • Mixing up the sounds & syllables in words
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Severe reactions to childhood illnesses (colds, flu, etc.)
  • Trouble memorizing their address, phone number, or the alphabet
  • Constant confusion of left versus right
  • Late establishing a dominant hand
  • Prefers Velcro shoes due to difficulty learning to tie shoes
  • Cannot create words that rhyme
  • A close relative with Dyslexia


  • Dysgraphia (slow, non-automatic handwriting that is difficult to read)
  • Letter and/or number reversals continuing past the end of first grade
  • Extreme difficulty learning cursive
  • Extremely poor spelling
  • Often cannot remember sight words (i.e., they, were, does)
  • Slow, choppy, inaccurate reading – guesses based on shape or content – skips or misreads prepositions (at, to, of) – ignores suffixes – cannot sound out unknown words
  • Difficulty telling time on a clock with hands
  • Jokes are frustrating because they don't understand the humor in words.
  • Frequently omit beginning sounds (pisgetti for spaghetti or pacific for specific) or changes a sound within a word (aminal for animal or gril for girl)
  • Problems in math – memorizing multiplication tables – memorizing a sequence of steps – directionality
  • Difficulty in finding the correct word – lots of "whatchamacallit" & "thingies"
  • Extremely messy bedroom, backpack, & desk
  • Dreads going to school – complains of stomachaches or headaches – frequently asks to stay home from school.


All of the other symptoms plus:

  • Limited vocabulary
  • Extremely poor written expression – large discrepancy between verbal skills and written
  • Unable to master a foreign language
  • Difficulty in reading printed music
  • Poor grades in many classes due to low test scores and missing work
  • May drop out of high school.


Education history similar to above plus:

  • May have to read a page 2 or 3 times to understand it
  • Extremely poor spelling
  • Difficulty in putting thoughts onto paper – dreads writing memos or letters.
  • Difficulty with right versus left continues.
  • Confusion of north, south, east, and west often gets lost, even in a familiar city.
  • Understanding or reading a map is extremely difficult
  • Sometimes confuses b & d, especially when tired or sick

Personal Journey with Dyslexia

In this powerful 24-minute video, Shawn Cork, 19, shares his personal journey with Dyslexia and how his specialized tutoring with York Educational Services changed his life forever.