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Skills That Can Be Affected by Dyslexia

Skills Affected by Dyslexia: Trouble Reading, Telling Left From RightSome people think of dyslexia as a learning issue that only involves reading. But dyslexia can make a number of tasks difficult. Here’s an overview of skills and behaviors dyslexia can affect.

General Skill: LanguageDyslexia can make it difficult for kids to:

  • Understand and follow directions
  • Repeat something that was just said in proper sequence
  • Name people and objects
  • Find the right words, such as saying “dinosaurs are distinct” instead of “dinosaurs are extinct”
  • Pronounce words properly, such as saying “mawn lower” instead of “lawn mower”
  • Distinguish between words that sound similar
  • Learn and correctly use new words (which can lead to guessing)
  • Use proper grammar
  • Rhyme words
  • Stay on topic
  • Understand jokes, puns, sarcasm or idioms
  • Speak with confidence and without overusing “filler words” (like “um” and “like”)

General Skill: ReadingDyslexia can make it difficult for kids to:

  • “Sound out” and pronounce words while reading
  • Read smoothly, without skipping words, reversing word order and/or losing place&
  • Get and stay interested in stories and books
  • Understand written material
  • Understand word problems in math

General Skill: WritingDyslexia can make it difficult for kids to:


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  • Master the rules of spelling and grammar
  • Write letters, numbers and symbols in the correct order
  • Proofread written work
  • Express ideas in an organized way
  • Organize and complete written assignments
  • Listen and take notes 

Social-Emotional SkillsDyslexia can make it difficult for kids to:

  • Interpret body language and nonverbal cues
  • Make and keep friends
  • Deal with peer pressure and embarrassment and express feelings appropriately
  • “Fit in” with kids the same age
  • Maintain healthy self-esteem—dyslexia might also cause anxiety or depressed mood

Other Skills AffectedKids with dyslexia could also have difficulty with:

  • Navigation and sense of direction—and may worry about getting lost
  • Spatial concepts like telling left from right
  • Learning and remembering words, phrases, names and directions—they may rely too heavily on memorization
  • Filtering out background noise
  • Telling time and sticking to a schedule

If you think your child is having trouble with these skills and behaviors but you aren’t sure, consider talking to your child’s teachers about what’s happening at school. If your child has dyslexia, there are many ways you and the school can help.