Signs in Primary School


  • speed of processing: spoken and / or written language slow
  • poor concentration
  • has difficulty following instructions
  • forgetful of words

Written Work

  • has a poor standard of written work compared with oral ability
  • produces messy work with many crossings out and words tried several times e.g. wippe, wype, wiep, wipe
  • is persistently confused by letters which look similar, particularly b/d, p/g, p/q, n/u, m/w
  • has poor handwriting, with many ‘reversals’ and badly formed letters
  • spells a word several different ways in one piece of writing
  • makes anagrams of words e.g. tired for tried, breaded for bearded
  • produces badly set-out written work, doesn’t stay close to the margin
  • has poor pencil grip
  • produces phonetic and bizarre spelling: not age / ability appropriate
  • uses unusual sequencing of letters or words


  • makes poor reading progress, especially using look-and-say methods
  • finds it difficult to blend letters together
  • has difficulty in establishing syllable division or knowing the beginnings and endings of words
  • pronunciation of words unusual
  • no expression in reading: comprehension poor
  • is hesitant and laboured in reading, especially when reading aloud
  • misses out words when reading, or adds extra words
  • fails to recognise familiar words
  • loses the point of a story being read or written
  • has difficulty in picking out the most important points from a passage


  • shows confusion with number order e.g. units, tens, hundreds
  • is confused by symbols, such as + and x signs
  • has difficulty remembering anything in a sequential order e.g. tables, days of the week,
  • the alphabet


  • has difficulty in learning to tell the time
  • shows poor time keeping and general awareness
  • has poor personal organisation
  • has difficulty in remembering what day of the week it is, his birth date, seasons of the
  • year, months of the year
  • difficulty with concepts – yesterday, today, tomorrow


  • has poor motor skills, leading to weaknesses in speed, control and accuracy of the pencil
  • has a limited understanding of non-verbal communication
  • is confused by the difference between left and right, up and down, east and west
  • has indeterminate hand preference
  • performs unevenly from day to day


  • employs work avoidance tactics, such as sharpening pencils and looking for books
  • seems to ‘dream’, does not seem to listen
  • is easily distracted
  • is the class clown, or is disruptive or withdrawn (these are often cries for help)
  • is excessively tired, due to amount of concentration and effort required