All people with dyslexia have more difficulty with reading and spelling than would be expected, given their level of intelligence.
But beyond that there are many other symptoms that are commonly associated with dyslexia. A person having these symptoms does not necessarily have dyslexia – but if they would be expected to be better at reading and spelling, given their intelligence level, than they actually are, these added symptoms can be additional pointers to dyslexia being the central issue.
Thus if you see an individual whose reading and writing ability is below that which you would expect given that person’s intelligence, that suggests dyslexia might be present. If you then see any of these additional symptoms that can be additional evidence that dyslexia is at the heart of the issue.
These additional issues can particularly include difficulty with written work and taking longer than you might expect to complete a written exercise.
We can often find that dyslexic people find reading problematic and they can read more slowly than others, find reading aloud particularly troublesome, and may want to have a card or ruler placed under the line being read, long after others of the same age have stopped needing this.
Because dyslexia is not associated with intelligence, we can also often notice that when these people are told a story or given instructions they can answer questions and engage in discussion on the topic to a much greater degree than they can when asked to answer in writing.
Indeed this one point – being able to discuss matters verbally while having greater difficulty in writing things down – is often used as a key indicator that dyslexia might be present. It is not enough by itself for anyone to say “this person is dyslexic” but it is a starting point.
Another suggestion of dyslexia can be seen with people of all ages who have difficulties with sequences. Thus as a preliminary test we might ask a group of people of a similar age and educational background to explain a sequence whether it be the days of the week (as with questions such as “what day comes before Thursday?) or how one would make a cup of tea, or prepare for a bath.
A person who has greater problems than others in completing such tasks, and who has poor reading skills for his/her age and intelligence level, is again giving an indication of being dyslexic.
Of course the only definitive way of knowing if an individual is dyslexic is through having the individual examined by an educational psychologist. However this can be very expensive, and it does not of itself help the individual overcome her or his difficulties; it merely confirms dyslexia is the cause of the reading problems.
An alternative is to take a dyslexia test which is indicative rather than definitive – meaning it will suggest if dyslexia is present rather than say that it absolutely is the cause of the problem.
From there it is possible to use materials at home and in the classroom which can help the individual with reading and writing tasks.
There are details of one such test here It can be taken on-line in any suitable location, and a detailed set of results are provided afterwards, along with suggestions of materials that can be used to help the individual who has taken the test.
There are further details about dyslexia and the dyslexia test that the Dyslexia Centre operates which can be found here.