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Getting Help - Adults

Adults with dyslexia are all different. Some dyslexic adults feel unable to cope with their difficulties, whilst others have found ways to get round their problems but changing demands at work or a new venture in life can present tough challenges.

For many adults school was something to be endured. They were keen to enter the world of work and leave the difficulties they experienced at school behind. Many, however, continue to experience difficulties with different contexts, be this employment or training. In some cases adults experience a whole new set of challenges that are unexpected, which can be particularly disconcerting for those individuals who have been successful in education and benefited from effective support and developed efficient strategies. When entering the world of work, they can feel as though they have been cast adrift in a sea of uncertainty, with new expectations and demands being placed on them, and given little time to adapt and develop new strategies.

There are also a significant number of adults who, for various reasons do not know they are dyslexic. many may be aware that they have difficulties with certain activities but sadly often believe these difficulties are due to a lack of intelligence, particularly if have received negative or inappropriate feedback that reinforces this negative self-perception


Most dyslexics will exhibit about 10 of the following traits and behaviours. These characteristics can vary from day-to-day or minute-to-minute. The most consistent thing about dyslexics is their inconsistency.

Everyone’s experience of dyslexia will be individual to them but there are common indicators. A cluster of these indicators alongside abilities in other areas could suggest dyslexia and should be investigated further.

Do you:

  • Confuse visually similar words such as cat and cot
  • Spell erratically
  • Find it hard to scan or skim-read text
  • Read/write slowly
  • Need to re-read paragraphs to understand them
  • Find it hard to listen and maintain focus
  • Find it hard to concentrate if there are distractions
  • Feel sensations of mental overload/switching off
  • Have difficulty telling left from right
  • Get confused when given several instructions at once
  • Have difficulty organising thoughts on paper
  • Often forget conversations or important dates
  • Have difficulty with personal organisation, time management and prioritising tasks
  • Avoid certain types of work or study
  • Find some tasks really easy but unexpectedly challenged by others
  • Have poor self-esteem, especially if dyslexic difficulties have not been identified in earlier life If you feel this reflects you, you can get an indication if you may be dyslexic from our adult dyslexia checklist. This is not a diagnostic tool but can be used to indicate whether further investigations should take place.

If you feel this reflects you, you can get an indication if you may be dyslexic from our adult dyslexia checklist. This is not a diagnostic tool but can be used to indicate whether further investigations should take place.

Do a search on adults and testing for dyslexia, and you will find thousands of sites, however nearly everything relates to learning, and while it is appreciated that learning is a continuous process, the circumstances why an individual may want this differ considerably. It’s quite a minefield, so check our explanation of what’s what ‘Testing for Dyslexia’ and maybe have a chat with one of our helpline specialists; or leave a message on our helpline 01604 328 075.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is dyslexia?

    Dyslexia is a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence. You can find out more about dyslexia here.

  • Is dyslexia hereditary?

    Dyslexia is regarded as a neurobiological condition that is genetic in origin. This means that individuals can inherit this condition from a parent and it affects the performance of the neurological system (specifically, the parts of the brain responsible for learning to read).

  • Is dyslexia a disability?

    Dyslexia can be a disability under the Equality Act 2010. A disability under the Equality Act 2010 is a physical or mental impairment that affects a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Dyslexia will count as a long-term physical or mental impairment.

  • What are the sign of dyslexia?

    If you suspect that you or someone you know may be dyslexic and would benefit from additional support then get in touch with us. You can find out more about the signs of dyslexia at any age here.

Become a Member

Join us as the voice of dyslexic people by becoming a member NBDA you are also supporting the British Dyslexia Association. Your support enables us to provide free information, training and advice and continue striving for a dyslexia-friendly society.