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The Dyslexic Syndrome

As previously noted, dyslexia is not just a severe reading disorder characterized by reversals. It is a syndrome of many and varied reading and non-reading diagnostically-specific symptoms.

The following is a highly summarized list of symptoms and their qualities typically found in dyslexics with inner-ear dysfunction. The specific qualities of these symptoms were proven by Dr. Levinson to be reliable indicators of inner-ear/cerebellar dysfunction.

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The Dyslexic Syndrome


  • Memory instability for letters, words, or numbers.
  • A tendency to skip over or scramble letters, words, and sentences.
  • A poor, slow, fatiguing reading ability prone to compensatory head tilting, near-far focusing, and finger pointing.
  • Reversals of letters such as b and d, words such as saw and was, and numbers such as 6 and 9 or 16 and 61.
  • Letter and word blurring, doubling, movement, scrambling, omissions, insertions, size change, etc.
  • Poor concentration, distractibility, light sensitivity (photophobia), tunnel vision, delayed visual and phonetic processing, etc.


  • Messy, poorly angulated, or drifting handwriting prone to size, spacing, and letter-sequencing errors.
  • Written letter and word reversals.


  • Impaired memory for visual/phonetic spelling details and sequences.
  • Omission of specific vowels/consonants.


  • Memory instability for spelling, grammar, math, names, dates, and lists, or sequences such as the alphabet, the days of the week and months of the year, and directions.


  • Speech disorders such as slurring, stuttering, articulation errors, poor word recall.
  • Auditory-input and motor-output speech lags.
  • Difficulty with automatic sequencing of words or thoughts for expression.
  • Slips of the tongue: errors of word omissions, displacement, condensation, reversals of sequence and meaning, etc.


  • Poor recall of facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication.
  • Number reversals when writing, reading and mentally calculating.
  • Confusing + and −.
  • Difficulty with division, fractions, word problems, algebra, geometry, etc.
  • Delayed understanding of coins and their use.


  • Right/left and related directional uncertainty.
  • Difficulty knowing north/south, east/west.


  • Difficulty learning analog time and/or reversing digital time.
  • Poor sense of time.
  • Diff. judging time needed to complete activities or arrive for meetings.
  • Always late or too early.


  • Forgetting periods, capitals and related details.
  • Delayed understanding of complex grammar, even when properly taught.

Concentration and Activity

  • Impaired concentration, distractibility, hyperactivity, or overactivity.
  • Behavior, Temper, or Impulse disturbances.

Balance and Coordination

  • Difficulties with balance, coordination and rhythmic functions affecting: walking, running, skipping, hopping, tying shoelaces, and buttoning buttons, etc.


  • Difficulties with headaches, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, motion sickness, abdominal complaints, excessive sweating, and bed-wetting.

Self-esteem and Body-image

  • Feeling stupid, ugly, incompetent, brainless.
  • Body-image disturbances, possibly contributing to anorexia, bulimia, etc.

Phobias and Related Obsessive/Compulsive Disorders

  • Fears of the dark, heights, getting lost, going to school.
  • Fear or the avoidance of various balance, coordination, sports, and motion-related activities.
  • Obsessions and compulsions.

Mood Disturbances

  • Variable moods: up's and down's.
  • Depression.

Typical/Diagnostic Dyslexic Symptoms

Reading Errors

Error analysis
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The "typical" dyslexic errors and mechanisms triggered when a reading-disabled sample attempts to read the sentence, The cat jumped over the moon. By means of an error analysis and diagram, the mechanisms underlying the dylexic reading performance are reconstructed. An 11-year-old dyslexic was instructed to read and then copy several printed sentences into script
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An 11-year-old dyslexic was instructed to read and then copy several printed sentences into script. The writing drifts significantly from the horizontal. Letters are poorly formed and spaced, as well as inappropriately omitted, inserted, and condensed. Occasionally, letters from successive words are fused or condensed. Grammatical details such as crossing t's are intermittently and carelessly omitted.

Writing Errors

Graphomotor spelling errors of a bright 10-year-old dyslexic girl
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Graphomotor spelling errors of a bright 10-year-old dyslexic girl. A neurodynamic analysis of the spelling errors suggests a dysfunction in the visual-motor memory of letter sequences and the use of compensatory phonetic recall. Letters and letter pairs are perseverated, and at times inappropriately fused or condensed. Moreover, the spelling disorder is complicated by graphomotor incoordination, drifting, and the omission of grammatical details. Interestingly enough, this girl's oral spelling was found to be superior to her graphomotor spelling, suggesting that the motor channel utilized to test spelling may significantly alter the performance.

Spelling Errors

Spelling performance of an 8?-year-old dyslexic girl asked to write a few sentences she just read
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Spelling performance of an 8?-year-old dyslexic girl asked to write a few sentences she just read. Her visual-motor memory for sequential letters is severely deficient. Letters and syllables are omitted or substituted for one another, and guessing or confabulation is determined by randomization plus phonetic cues.

Math Errors

The mathematical errors in dyslexia may be of several distinct overlapping types
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The mathematical errors in dyslexia may be of several distinct overlapping types: (A) "Simple" addition calculations such as 100 + 100 and 2 + 3 are remembered, whereas more difficult calculations are forgotten and the answers guessed at or confabulated; (B) A similar memory instability for multiplication. When asked to write and multiply 2 x 6 and 2 x 5, the 9-year-old mentally condensed the numbers, writing 26 x 25. When asked to write and calculate 5 x 6, he guessed at an answer, and the guess was merely a condensation of the two numbers written. He did understand and remember 4 X 2 = 8, but reversed the 4. As noted, he recalled addition, but forgot to put in the equal sign when adding 6 + 5, and belatedly added it to the equation 3 + 3 = 6. (C) The multiplication ability of a 10-year-old dyslexic. The numbers are occasionally poorly formed and the column alignment drifts to the right. Needless to say, graphomotor and spatial incoordination may result in careless errors, despite superior conceptual and memory ability.