Successful adult with dyslexia working confidently at a desk.

Understanding Dyslexia in Adults: Symptoms and Strategies

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects a person’s ability to read, spell, and write. It is often diagnosed in childhood, but it can also go undiagnosed until adulthood. Dyslexia in adults can have a significant impact on their daily lives, including their education, employment, and relationships.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a neurological disorder that alters how the brain interprets words. It is a common learning disorder that affects approximately 15-20% of the population. Dyslexia can affect a person’s ability to read, spell, and write, and can impact their ability to learn and communicate effectively.

Symptoms of Dyslexia in Adults

Adult with dyslexia in adults reading a book and smiling.

Dyslexia in adults can present itself in various ways, and the symptoms can vary from person to person. Here are some common symptoms of dyslexia in adults:

Difficulty Reading

Adults with dyslexia may have difficulty reading, even at a basic level. They may struggle with decoding words and recognizing common spelling patterns. They can also have difficulty comprehending what they have read.

Poor Spelling and Writing Skills

Dyslexia can also impact a person’s spelling and writing skills. These may struggle to spell words correctly, even simple words, and they may have difficulty expressing themselves in writing.

Difficulty with Time Management and Organization

Adults with dyslexia may also struggle with time management and organization. They may have difficulty planning and prioritizing tasks, and they may struggle to meet deadlines.

Trouble with Memory and Recall

Dyslexia can also impact a person’s memory and recall abilities. These may have difficulty remembering important details or instructions.

Difficulty with Math

Dyslexia can also impact a person’s ability to understand and work with numbers. Adults with dyslexia may struggle with basic math concepts, such as addition and subtraction.

Strategies for Managing Dyslexia in Adults

Woman using assistive technology to manage dyslexia in adults.

While dyslexia is a lifelong condition, there are strategies and accommodations that can help adults manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Here are some strategies for managing dyslexia in adults:

Reading Interventions

Reading interventions, such as specialized tutoring or assistive technology, can help adults with dyslexia improve their reading skills. Phonics-based reading programs, such as Orton-Gilling ham, can be particularly effective.

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology, such as text-to-speech software or audiobooks, can help adults with dyslexia access written material more easily. This can help with reading comprehension and reduce the frustration associated with reading difficulties.

Organization and Time Management Strategies

Adults with dyslexia can benefit from learning organization and time management strategies, such as using a planner or breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. This can help with planning and prioritizing tasks, as well as reducing stress and anxiety.

Memory Strategies

Memory strategies, such as using visual aids or repetition, can help adults with dyslexia improve their memory and recall abilities. This can help with remembering important details or instructions.

Accommodations in the Workplace

In the workplace, accommodations such as extra time for tasks, assistive technology, or access to written material in alternative formats can help adults with dyslexia succeed. Employers should be willing to work with employees to ensure that they have the support they need to perform their job duties effectively.

Common Challenges for Adults with Dyslexia

Group of adults participating in a dyslexia in adults support group.

Reading Challenges

Adults with dyslexia often have difficulty reading quickly and accurately, and may struggle with decoding unfamiliar words. They may also have difficulty with comprehension and retaining information from what they read.

Writing Challenges

Adults with dyslexia may also have difficulty with spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and may struggle to organize their thoughts and express themselves in writing.

Time Management Challenges

Many adults struggle with time management and may take longer than their peers to complete tasks, leading to stress and anxiety.

Strategies for Managing Dyslexia in the Workplace

person using colored overlays to aid reading as a strategy.

Disclose Your Dyslexia: Consider disclosing your dyslexia to your employer or supervisor, as they may be able to provide accommodations or support to help you succeed.

Use Assistive Technology: Assistive technology such as text-to-speech software, speech recognition software, or dyslexia-friendly fonts can help you work more efficiently and effectively.

Break Down Tasks: Breaking down larger tasks into smaller, manageable pieces can help you stay organized and manage your time more effectively.

How to Advocate for Yourself as an Adult with Dyslexia

Know Your Rights

Understand your legal rights as an adult with dyslexia, and know what accommodations you are entitled to in different situations.

Communicate Clearly

When advocating for yourself, be clear and concise in your communication. Explain your needs and be prepared to offer solutions or alternatives.

Be Confident

Remember that dyslexia is a part of who you are, but it does not define you. Be confident in your abilities and advocate for yourself with pride.

Assistive Technology for Individuals with Dyslexia

Awareness ribbon symbolizing support

Text-to-Speech Software

Text-to-speech software can read text aloud, making it easier for individuals with dyslexia to access written information.

Speech Recognition Software

Speech recognition software allows users to dictate text, reducing the need for typing and improving productivity.

Dyslexia-Friendly Fonts

Dyslexia-friendly fonts such as OpenDyslexic or Dyslexie are designed to make reading easier for individuals with dyslexia.

Resources for Adults with Dyslexia

International Dyslexia Association

The International Dyslexia Association offers resources, support, and advocacy for individuals with dyslexia and their families.


Understood is a website with resources and tools to help individuals with learning and attention issues, including dyslexia.


Bookshare is an online library of accessible ebooks for individuals with dyslexia and other print disabilities.


Dyslexia in adults can be challenging, but with the right strategies and accommodations, individuals with dyslexia can succeed in many areas of their lives. Early identification and intervention are important, but it is never too late to seek help for dyslexia. available.

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