Adult Dyslexia

Symptoms, Signs, Facts and Figures

Ten quick facts about Adult Dyslexia:

  • Distinguished by extreme difficulty reading caused by a hereditary, brain based phonologic disability
  • Affects approximately 15% of adults 
  • Affects an equal number of men and women
  • Adults often hide symptoms by avoiding situations in which they have to read or write
  • May have improved their reading over time and read accurately, but still finds reading slow and difficult
  • Often never diagnosed as having dyslexia
  • Often underemployed
  • May have exceptional visual spacial skills, artistic, entrepreneurial or people skills
  • Can still become strong readers, but it takes more tutoring time than with younger children
  • Special instruction methods are needed, not just extra time practicing reading

Young Adult Symptoms

Young Adults will have, or have had, many of the preschool and elementary dyslexia symptoms plus the following:

High School / Young Adult Ages ~ 13-18 Years

Symptom/Sign

Notes

Poor grades

A reading deficit becomes a deficit in almost every subject

Dislikes school, may drop out

School has long been a place associated with failure, but now escape to a job is possible

Often in non academic stream / do not receive a diploma

Any survey of students that drop out or do not complete a diploma would find a disproportionate number of dyslexics

Adult Symptoms

Adults will have, or have had, many of the preschool and elementary dyslexia symptoms plus many of the young adult symptoms listed above plus the following.

Adult Ages 18+

Symptom/Sign

Notes

Avoids reading or hides disability / applies coping skills

Without proper help, reading and writing are simply avoided as much as possible

Underemployed or Entrepreneur

May be in lower skill jobs than expected, although often excel as entrepreneurs

Finds success in 'people' jobs, or as artists, architects, cooks or in the skilled trades

Can thrive in the right environment

Still a poor reader and slow writer

Books and reading never become a source of joy or pleasure

It's Not Too Late

The Real Barrier: Shame

The biggest barrier to overcome for adults will not be the learning itself, it will be overcoming the perceived shame of acknowledging a severe difficulty reading and seeking help 

For adults who are only just discovering their dyslexia, the most important thing to know is that it's never too late to become a better reader. More and more research is revealing the 'plasticity' of the adult brain, meaning much greater ability to learn new skills and to unlearn old bad habits - at any age.You really can teach an old dog new tricks.

The biggest barrier to overcome for adults will not be the learning itself, it will be the perceived shame of acknowledging a severe difficulty reading and seeking help. But there really is no shame, just potential for growing new abilities and self confidence.


First Steps

The kinds of treatment programs that will help an adult dyslexic are basically the same as for helping children and so the process for seeking help is the same:

Follow our links to better understand dyslexia, get tested and then find a good tutor or tutoring centre in your community.

At the same time, you might want to explore assistive technology and self directed software for improving your skills.

Adult dyslexia tutoring will usually take place in small group or one on one, simply because there are no dedicated adult schools (that we know of) and most adults will only be able to juggle part time tutoring between working and possibly raising their own family. 


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