How to tell I have dyslexia

Most dyslexics will exhibit at least 10 of the following 37 Common Characteristics. These characteristics can vary from day-to-day or minute-to-minute.


  • Appears bright, highly intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level;
  • Labeled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, “not trying hard enough,” or “behaviour problem”;
  • Isn’t “behind enough” or “bad enough” to be helped in the school setting;
  • High in IQ, yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written;
  • Feels dumb; has poor self-esteem; hides or covers up weaknesses with ingenious compensatory strategies; easily frustrated and emotional about school reading or testing;
  • Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building or engineering;
  • Seem to “zone out” or daydream often, gets lost easily or loses track of time;
  • Difficulty sustaining attention; seems “hyper” or “daydreamer” and,
  • Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations and experimentation, observation, and visual aids.


  • Complains of dizziness, headaches, or stomach aches while reading;
  • Confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences, or verbal explanations;
  • Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words;
  • Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing or copying;
  • Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams do not reveal a problem;
  • Extremely keen sighted and observant, or lacks depth perception and peripheral vision;
  • Reads and re-reads with little comprehension, and,
  • Spells phonetically and inconsistently.
  • Has extended hearing; hears things not said or apparent to others; easily distracted by sounds, and
  • Difficulty putting thoughts into words; speaks in halting phrases; leaves sentences incomplete; stutters under stress; mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words and syllables when speaking.


  • Trouble with writing or copying; pencil grip is unusual; handwriting varies or is illegible;
  • Clumsy, uncoordinated, poor at ball or team sports; difficulties with fine and /or gross motor skills and tasks; prone to motion-sickness, and
  • Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right, over/under.


  • Has difficulty telling time, managing time, learning sequenced information or tasks, or being on time;
  • Computing math shows dependence on finger counting and other tricks; knows answers, but can’t do it on paper;
  • Can count, but has difficulty counting objects and dealing with money, and
  • Can do arithmetic, but fails word problems, cannot grasp algebra or higher math.


  • Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations and faces;
  • Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced, and
  • Thinks primarily with images and feeling, not sounds or words (little internal dialogue).


  • Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly;
  • Can be class clown, trouble-maker, or too quietly;
  • Had unusually early or late developmental stages (talking, crawling, walking, tying shoelaces);
  • Prone to ear infections, sensitive to foods, additives and chemical products;
    Can be an extra deep or light sleeper; bed wetting beyond appropriate age;
  • Unusually high or low tolerance for pain;
  • Strong sense of justice; emotionally sensitive; strives for perfection, and
    Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health.


Why do you need to know?  This may seem a strange question, but the answer can lead you in the best direction.

  • Are you just curious to understand your learning style/challenges?
  • Have you been told an Educational Psychology Assessment is a requirement for school?
  • Do you want to do something about your challenges?
  1. For the curious, you have the option of self-evaluating using the 37 Characteristics above and gain an indication using the On-Line Assessment HERE.
  2. An Educational Psychology Assessment is often required by the education system in order to gain extra time for tests, quiet spaces for exams, a scribe or voice recognition software. They usually recommend tutoring based in the phonetic reading system. We have yet to find a website listing all Educational Psychologists and from our experience they are usually found by referral.
  3. If you want to take some action, do you want to treat the symptoms OR reach the cause, thereby eliminating the symptoms?

You can probably tell where this is going... if you want to understand how you learn, why the challenges occur, how to treat the cause, how to be able to do everything everyone else can do, using your own learning style… contact a Davis Dyslexia Correction Facilitator.  

The Facilitator will arrange an Interview/Assessment which will determine if you have the underlying cause of dyslexia, the natural ability to alter perception. You will share your strengths, challenges and goals. The programs are one week long, one-on-one and provide self-management tools for focussing, relaxation, and control of energy levels. You will have firm foundations, exercises designed to achieve your goals, and support as you put them into practise. You can fulfill your potential – your way! 


More than seventy so-called learning disabilities appeared to be related, or are varieties of, dyslexia as Ron Davis defines it. Below is a selection of challenges which have benefited from the methods described in “The Gift of Dyslexia” and “The Gift of Learning”.

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder)

ADD is a clinically defined medical condition, which includes impulsivity, easily distracted and the inability to maintain attention or focus on what is being presented. However, Ron Davis feels that many of the children currently being diagnosed with ADD, are simply highly imaginative, highly intelligent picture-thinkers, who learn 200-4,000 times faster than the norm, and are able to alter their perception of all senses, including time, balance and motion. This is covered more fully in Chapter 10 of “The Gift of Dyslexia” and in “The Gift of Learning”.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder

This term is being increasingly used to describe individuals who have problems with listening, either in distinguishing sounds, in their language or in comprehending the words they hear.


Difficulty writing or an inability to write. This is very common in ‘gifted’ children. Chapter 5 in “The Gift of Learning” explains how multiple images or certain motions can cause inaccurate perception. The visual/spatial/kinesthetic learner sees pictures at a rate of 32 per second. “A picture tells a thousand words” but the hand is not able to work at that speed, so it often becomes jammed. There are many points at which confusion can occur- the shape of a letter – the spelling – where to start – which direction to go – the spelling and then the content!


Difficulty in spatial awareness, co-ordination, social awareness. It appears to be related to the confusion some dyslexics have with compass directions, spatial orientation, and directional words such as ‘left, right, up and down’.


Dyscalculia is a difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic, understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, and learning facts in mathematics, which affects 6% of the population.