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Indications of dyslexia in adults

There are different levels of dyslexia, and the following lists below are examples. Experiencing these examples could lead to a lack of confidence, low self-esteem and can cause frustration.


  • Discrepancy between general abilities and language skills.
  • Level of work varies from day to day.
  • Will report 'good days' and 'bad days.
  • Poor short-term auditory memory.
  • Confusions between left and right, or East and West
  • Sequencing difficulties.
  • Problems remembering the time, 'losing' time.
  • Organisational difficulties.
  • May not hear rhyme very well.
  • May not understand humour.
  • Takes spoken and written words literally - doesn't understand nuances.
  • May take time to process conversation.
  • Difficulties with word finding, pronunciation or articulation.
  • Inaccurate self image,- "I must be careless" etc.


  • Misreads words i.e. commuters for computers.
  • Omits or confuses small words.
  • Reads very slowly.
  • Difficulties with reading comprehension and finds it hard to follow instructions in manuals/guidelines.
  • Problems de-coding new scientific words.
  • Loses place in a line of words.
  • Dislikes reading long or detailed reports.


  • A 'quick forgetter' rather than a 'slow learner'.
  • Poor strategies for 'rehearsal' of information into long-term memory.
  • Difficulties memorising facts, new terminology etc.

Writing and Spelling:

  • May have severe handwriting problems.
  • Difficulties with listening and taking notes - both sound interference and short term auditory memory problems.
  • Difficulties in copying from the board/overhead projector.
  • Reversals e.g. reading from a calculator.
  • Often severe and persistent spelling problems.
  • Has a difficulty in getting ideas on paper and so written work fails to adequately express student's understanding, ideas or vocabulary.


  • Forgets telephone numbers - dials incorrectly.
  • Forgets car registration numbers.
  • Difficulty remembering dates, maths, formulae, working with foreign coinage.
  • May make frequent mistakes with a calculator.
  • Difficulty filling in cheques i.e. getting numbers and their names to tally.
  • Difficulty with time - forgets appointments, late for meetings, wrong venue.
  • May forget to pay bills.


  • Problems with alphabetical order - phone books, dictionaries, filing systems etc.
  • Difficulties remembering series of instructions, messages, loses track of content of lectures, meetings etc.
  • Left/right confusion, giving directions, reading maps, finding car in car.
Source: Dyslexia Scotland

Reasonable Adjustments for Dyslexia


Human Resources

University of St Andrews
The Old Burgh School

Abbey Walk
St Andrews
KY16 9LB
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)1334 463096