How To Tell If You’re A Dyslexic Adult (And What To Do About It)

How To Tell If You're A Dyslexic Adult (And What To Do About It) | District Speech & Language Therapy | Washington D.C. & Arlington VA

When people think of language and learning disorders, it’s often children who come to mind.

However there are many cases of individuals who aren’t properly diagnosed with disorders such as dyslexia until they reach adulthood.

This might be because they work harder to compensate for difficulties, learning issues being brushed off as due to not applying themselves or not paying attention, or not displaying more typical signs such as reversing letters or poor spelling.

Luckily, if you are diagnosed with a learning disorder later in life, you can seek out speech therapy for dyslexia even as an adult.

We’re District Speech, and we offer adult speech therapy in DC.

Today we will take a closer look at dyslexia, signs which can indicate its presence in adults, and ways speech therapy can help.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disorder which occurs when an individual has trouble reading because of issues in linking speech sounds to letters and words.

It’s an issue with the areas of the brain which process language, and not linked to intelligence or vision issues.

Types Of Dyslexia

There are a few different types of dyslexia, which affect people differently.

Let’s review these three ways which it may present.


Dysphonesia involves issues with auditory and listening skills.

People with dysphonesia may also have difficulty with the pronunciation of words they aren’t familiar with.


People with dysnemkinesia have difficulty with motor skills.

They may write their letters backwards.


Those with dyseidesia have trouble understanding written words.

This is due to issues with visual skills and can also cause trouble knowing words by sound.

Common Traits Of Dyslexia In Adults

Adults with dyslexia often have issues with reading, math, time management, and memorization.

This can affect them differently in various areas of life, we’ll have a look at some of them:


  • Perfectionism, and overreaction to mistakes
  • Trouble with tests, and may not handle tests to obtain certifications related to their profession well
  • Frustration with meetings to plan things, rather than just getting it done
  • Difficulty staying on task for long periods, may prefer to jump from task to task

Reading and Writing

  • Dislikes public speaking or having to read aloud
  • Needs to re-read sentences to understand them
  • Becomes bored easily while reading
  • Poor handwriting
  • Often writes in all caps

Behavior and Personality

  • Short tempered
  • Becomes overwhelmed and stressed easily
  • Either extremely organized or disorganized
  • Dislikes tasks which involve learning new things, prefers to stay in “comfort zone”

Time Management and Directions

  • Has difficulty with directions, left and right or north, south, east, and west
  • Trouble with reading maps
  • Stress and anxiety while driving, especially in unfamiliar areas. Avoids driving when possible
  • Reliance on counting on fingers or calculators
  • Frequently late due to losing track of time OR very aware of time and rarely late
  • Difficulty estimating how much time a task will take

Other Traits

  • Highly empathetic and sensitive to the emotions of others
  • Easily distracted
  • Strong intuition, and “street smarts”
  • Enjoys video games
  • Mispronounces words without realizing it
  • Has trouble remembering instructions when given verbally
  • May be accused of “not listening”

Common Traits Of Dyslexia In Adults | District Speech & Language Therapy | Washington D.C. & Arlington VA

Speech Therapy Treatments For Dyslexia In Adults

There are several ways in which a speech therapist can help provide treatments for adults with dyslexia, which differ from speech therapy treatments for dyslexia in kids.

Treatments focus on specific areas of concern, such as spelling, reading, or writing.

Next, we’ll take a look at some of the specific ways a speech therapist can help.

1. Addressing Writing Concerns

Approaches for addressing writing concerns try to simultaneously use process and product oriented approaches, wherever possible.

Process oriented approaches make the processes used in writing such as development of ideas, organizing, planning, and revision the focal point of treatment, whereas product oriented approaches target items such as spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and effectiveness of communication.

2. Addressing Reading Concerns

Concerns related to reading can be addressed through language comprehension approaches, and word structure approaches.

The language comprehension approach works to close gaps due to factors such as unknown vocabulary, inability to make sense of words in context, and understanding of cohesive devices.

A word structure approach helps individuals with word decoding.

3. Addressing Spelling Concerns

The following are methods used to address issues related to spelling:

  • Memorization
  • Multisensory approaches which use visual, auditory, and kinesthetic methods
  • Phonemic awareness (auditory approach)
  • Visual pattern awareness
  • Tracing letters (kinesthetic approach)

Book Your Appointment With District Speech

Are you an adult who has been diagnosed with dyslexia later in life?

Is it having an impact on your ability to do tasks, or preventing you from reaching your goals?

Or maybe you suspect you have undiagnosed dyslexia, and want to move forward with a proper diagnoses so you can access treatment options.

We’re District Speech, and we can help.

One of our speech language pathologists in Washington DC can help create a treatment plan for you to deal with your dyslexia.

Contact us today for more information, or to set up a consultation.

District Speech and Language Therapy
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005


District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.