Skip to Main Content

Stealth Dyslexia: Common Observations

March 7, 2021

When reading silently, the student quickly moves through passages and easily gets “the gist,” can extrapolate and make inferences, but sometimes misses some key details.

When reading aloud, either/or

  • Pace feels a bit “hurried” (qualitatively different from an expert/fluent reader), but often stumbles over words, misreads words, or skips small words such as “the” “that” “so”, or

  • Pace is slow and laborious, difficulty sounding out grade level words

Struggles with decoding non-words. Some people with dyslexia easily develop a huge repertoire of sight words, thanks to a strong vocabulary and strong verbal memory, so reading of familiar words often appears/is fluent. Often, the decoding difficulties can still be seen/heard for non-words.

Strongly prefers reading silently and avoids reading aloud in front of others. Also prefers being read to or audiobooks or graphic novels.

Often, spelling and written composition are important clues for an underlying problem when the dyslexia is compensated/not obvious. An otherwise strong student who has poor spelling very often has some level of underlying deficit in phonological processing.

Laborious and/or illegible penmanship and disorganized letter/word spacing. Not grasping/implementing mechanics of writing such as capitalization, punctuation, paragraphs.

Avoidance of writing despite very strong verbal expression. For example, could give an eloquent spontaneous speech, but struggles to write a few sentences on the same topic.

Learned helplessness manifesting as frustration, anxiety, giving up quickly, motor restlessness, silly behavior, avoidance of reading/writing tasks.