Signs in Secondary School

Written work:

  • Has a poor standard of written work compared with oral ability
  • Has poor handwriting with badly formed letters
  • Has neat handwriting, but writes very slowly indeed
  • Produces badly set out or messily written work, with spellings crossed out several times
  • Spells the same word differently in one piece of work
  • Has difficulty with punctuation and/or grammar
  • Confuses upper and lower case letters
  • Writes a great deal but ‘loses the thread’
  • Writes very little, but to the point
  • Has difficulty taking notes in lectures
  • Organisation of homework and tasks difficult to complete on time
  • Appears to know more than can be committed to paper


  • Is hesitant and laboured, especially when reading aloud
  • Omits, repeats or adds extra words
  • Reads at a reasonable rate, but has a low level of comprehension
  • Fails to recognise familiar words
  • Misses a line or repeats the same line twice
  • Loses his place – or uses a finger or marker to keep the place
  • Has difficulty in pin-pointing the main idea in a passage
  • Finds difficulty with dictionaries, directories, encyclopaedias


  • Finds difficulty remembering tables and / or basic number sets
  • Finds sequencing problematic
  • Confuses signs such as x for +
  • Can think at a high level in mathematics, but needs a calculator for basic facts
  • Misreads questions that include words
  • Confuses direction – left/right
  • Finds mental arithmetic at speed very difficult

Other areas:

  • Has difficulty in learning foreign languages
  • Has indeterminate hand preference
  • Has difficulty in finding the name for an object
  • Has clear processing problems at speed
  • Misunderstands complicated questions
  • Finds holding a list of instructions in memory difficult, although can perform all tasks when told individually
  • Confuses left and right regularly
  • Cannot find their way round complex timetables or buildings


  • Is disorganised or forgetful e.g. over sports equipment, lessons, homework, appointments
  • Is immature and/or clumsy
  • Has difficulty relating to others: is unable to ‘read’ body language
  • Is often in the wrong place at the wrong time
  • Is excessively tired, due to the amount of concentration and effort required