No two people with dyslexia present with the exact same profile of abilities and difficulties. One person with dyslexia may have shown clear signs from a very early age, whereas another may have been able to cope with, or ‘mask’ any difficulties until a later stage in their education or career. The NHS website provides a detailed overview of how dyslexia may manifest at different ages and stages:

The British Dyslexia Association (2019)¹ gives the following definition of dyslexia, based on SIr Jim Rose's 2009 report on ‘Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties’

  • 'Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.
  • Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.
  • Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities.
  • It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points.
  • Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.
  • A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well-founded intervention.'

In addition to these characteristics, the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) acknowledges the visual and auditory processing difficulties that some individuals with dyslexia can experience and points out that dyslexic readers can show a combination of abilities and difficulties that affect the learning process.’


¹ British Dyslexia Association (2019) BDA Definition of Dyslexia [online] Available from: