Drew University Writing Instructor Guidelines: 
Some common indicators of dyslexia in students 
Most students with Dyslexia will have been diagnosed long before they reach college;  however, the following indicators suggest that you are facing a student who will benefit from some of the strategies described in other documents in this series [see main page].  Please remember that it is not legal to single out students and ask them to reveal any disabilities to you.  You may observe privately to the student that you'd like to try some other learning strategies  and work together to develop a learning program that works, but any information the student wishes to share with you must be shared freely, not under duress.  Students diagnosed with learning disabilities may request specific accommodations, and if those are approved by the university you will be notified and must grant those accommodations (under the Americans with Disabilities Act).

Elizabeth Wadlington, Shirley W. Jacob & Sandra Baily suggest watching out for:

  • Low reading comprehension.
  • Poor phonological processing.
  • Misshapen, cramped, laborious handwriting.
  • Extreme spelling difficulties.
  • Poor written composition.
  • Disorganization.
  • Difficulties in sequencing and following directions.
  • Difficulties in recalling names or people, places, and/or events.
  • Poor performance on standardized and/or classroom tests.
  • Extreme strengths and Weaknesses.
The Orton Dyslexic Society adds the following:
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts in written form.
  • Difficulty in expressing thoughts orally.
  • Lack of awareness of sounds in words, rhymes, or sequence of sounds & syllables in words.
  • Poor sequencing of letters in words (e.g.: sign for sing, felt for left).
  • Imprecise or incomplete interpretation of language that is heard.
  • Difficulty translating language to thought (as in listening or reading) or thought to language (as in writing or speaking).

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Sandra Jamieson
Drew University