Where dyslexia ends and starts
It has become quite commonplace for people to say that they are dyslexic when in fact what they mean is that their spelling isn’t very good.
But there is an important difference between dyslexia and simply not being that accurate at spelling. Not everyone who is poor at spelling is dyslexic.
Most people have an ability to spell that is similar to their use of the written word. If they read and write regularly, as most of us do, then they are able to read at an average speed of around 300 words a minute, or more. In terms of writing they can write about 15 words a minute.
However spelling is also normally related to general intelligence. A person who is some way above average intelligence is normally found to read more and read faster than a person who is below average intelligence.
We might begin to suspect dyslexia is present when a person has a reading and writing level that is quite a way below the level we might expect, given that person’s intelligence.
So simply not being able to read well or spell correctly is not in itself a sign of dyslexia, which is why we have tests for dyslexia.
For although poor spelling is always present in dyslexia there are normally other factors too – which is why dyslexia is diagnosed with more than just a spelling test.
The only way to have a definitive answer to the question “is this person dyslexic” is to see an educational psychologist. But this is expensive and simply having a diagnosis does not mean that the issue can be resolved.
For this reason many people prefer to start with a simple indicative test to see if dyslexia is likely to be the cause of a poorer than expected ability to read.
And this is why the Dyslexia Centre has an online test for dyslexia which looks at a lot more than just spelling.