How to estimate if any adults in your family are dyslexic  without administering a test

Of course the only way to know for sure if an individual is dyslexic is by administering a test for dyslexia.  A definitive answer can only be given by an educational psychologist specialising in the field, but it is also possible to get an indication of possible dyslexia through the test available on this site. There is information for teachers on our test for dyslexia here, while there is information for parents of children who might be dyslexic on our website here.

But since dyslexia is a genetic condition it is generally inherited, and this means that if you have a son or daughter whom you suspect may be dyslexic, or if you spot a child in your class who you think may suffer from the condition, you can get an element of confirmation that there is dyslexia in the family if you spot a close relative to the child who shows some of these attributes.

If you are a parent or grandparent of a child who you suspect might be dyslexic it can be worth considering these attributes.  If you are a teacher and you are unable to administer the test for dyslexia available on this site you might wish to alert the parents to these attributes so they can see if they recognise them in other members of the family. This is not going to be a clear indication of dyslexia obviously, but it might help persuade the family to investigate further.

In this regard you might see, or be told of, a person who

1: Is particularly intuitive, and can often jump to the answer without working things through.

2: Does not like, or avoids, planning, but instead goes straight into a situation with the aim of fixing it there and then.

3: If he/she sees a member of the family struggling at school, particularly in English, remembers at once how she or he struggled and is tempted to say, “Don’t worry I was never any good at English”.

4: Has a dislike of forms that need to be filled in.

5: Can be easily distracted.

6: Has particular visual-spatial abilities, and can see solutions to issues without working through something step by step.  A person who comes up with alternative solutions without seeming to work them through – but is nevertheless right.

7: Seriously dislikes administration and sees it as an unnecessary interruption to getting things done.

8: Very much a person who deals in actual experiences and events, rather than anything theoretical.

9: Often works on several tasks at once and may generate complaints about not completing each task before moving onto the next.

10: A person described as a lateral thinker – one who comes up with solutions that others never think of.

Of course this is just a general description and not all dyslexics will fit into some of these categories, but if you do spot such behavioural types within the family, this could be a good reason to consider the issue of possible dyslexia in the child, and take matters further.

There is an index to the many other short articles on dyslexia on this site, on our home page.