What Are the Signs of Dyslexia in Teenagers?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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Dyslexia in teenagers can sometimes be hard to identify, because teenagers with this condition are often intelligent and articulate. They may even have learned to read and write with some level of skill. While dyslexia in teenagers can make reading comprehension, writing, and spelling difficult, it can also have a number of other effects. Teenagers with dyslexia may struggle with written or spoken instructions, exhibit poor short-term memory skills, and have trouble organizing themselves. They can struggle to remember items that appear in a series, such as numbers in an advanced mathematical equation, and may appear to have trouble concentrating.

Though dyslexia in teenagers can affect academic performance, teenagers suffering from the disorder will often do better in classroom work than they do on standardized tests. Athletic pursuits may come easy for them, as may creative and artistic pursuits. Dyslexia in teenagers can often cause feelings of inadequacy, depression, anxiety, and anger.

Short-term memory problems are common for many teenagers struggling with dyslexia. They may seem to have problems concentrating, or may seem to not be paying attention to what is said to them. Written or spoken instructions can be hard to grasp. Lists and sequences can be hard to memorize or follow. This can contribute to difficulties with reading and mathematics, since short-term memory is part of what helps students understand equations and text.


Adolescents who are struggling with dyslexia may frequently misplace objects, forget school assignments, and misplace appointments. They often fail to complete assignments properly or hand in assignments on time. Teenagers with this disorder may struggle to read maps and continue to confuse physical directions, such as right and left.

Teenagers who are suffering from undiagnosed dyslexia often have problems reading, writing, and spelling. They may struggle with the physical act of writing, since their hand-eye coordination can suffer. They can have problems figuring out how to express themselves on the page. Grammar, sentence structure, and spelling will generally be difficult for the dyslexic teenager. Learning foreign languages can also be troublesome.

Dyslexia in teenagers can cause reading comprehension problems, such that repeated readings of the same passage of text may often be necessary for them. When writing, they may inadvertently leave out letters from words, or words from sentences. They often feel unsure about their spelling skills.


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