Dyslexia and PressVision

Signs of Dyslexia

Picture of girl reading

We noted above that dyslexia exists on a continuum. Let’s start first with an example of a child with a severe form of dyslexia. Before a child begins in vision therapy in our office, we have him complete a survey form asking three basic questions. If he is unable to read the question, we read it to him. Here is what Jason, a second grader who had been tutored unsuccessfully for two years, wrote on his survey form:

What do you notice? Jason shows features of dyslexia that are classic in terms of letter transpositions, reversals, and inversions. Look how Jason flips the “m” for a “w”. Letters are often out of sequence. He has a poor concept of word spacing, capitalization, and grammar. He has features of a mixed type of dyslexia, poor in phonemic awareness and in both sight word recognition and expression. Both encoding and decoding of words are challenging. How words are formed are a mystery to him and he’s inconsistent in how he guesses words should look even when he’s trying to spell phonetically.

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Old school says that dyslexics
simply reverse things

It is old school to say that dyslexics simply reverse things, but reversals remain one sign that many dyslexics share in common most notably confusion of “b” and “d”. There can also be reversals of numbers, like a 3 backwards. There can be transposition of number sequences, like “21” instead of “12”, just like there are letter transpositions, like “was” instead of “saw”. There can be substitutions of similar looking words like “these” and “there”.

Signs of the visual form of dyslexia include problems in sequencing, or placing things in the right order. Words are frequently misspelled, and reading fluency is limited by both poor sight word recognition or vocabulary, and difficulty in following the flow of print while reading. This is thought to be related to poor visual sequential memory.

Visual Processing and Visual Efficiency

These are all issues in what we call visual processing or perception. Think of this as the software of the visual parts of the brain. But don’t forget that software is only as good as the hardware that runs it. Therefore any consideration of visual dyslexia is incomplete until you know how the eyes are working in concert with the brain. This is what we call visual efficiency, and involves focusing, tracking and eye teaming. This is crucial in making sure that print is coming in clear, single, and stable. It is more of a factor once someone knows how to reading, but is having difficulty doing so. Signs of visual inefficiency include print wiggling, shimmering, ghosting, blurring or doubling. This often results in fatigue, headaches, or loss of place when reading.

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