Adult Characteristics of Disorientation 

Most people with dyslexia or ADD will exhibit over 10  of the following traits and behaviours. These characteristics can vary from day-to-day or minute-to-minute. The most consistent thing about them is their inconsistency.

* You may check the characteristics by clicking with your mouse and then printing or you may print and then check with a pen or pencil.


Appears intelligent, but has difficulty with written symbols (reading, writing or math).
Described as being lazy, careless, immature or as an “over-achiever.”
Low self-esteem, fights depression, self-conscious or hides and covers up weaknesses.
Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, computers or engineering.
Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation and visual aids.  (May struggle with lectures)
Confused by verbal or written instructions.
Remembers struggling in school or may have children who are struggling in school.

Work related

Employed in areas that emphasize use of visual imagery. (Entrepreneurs, engineers, tradesmen, artists, executives, ITs, salesmen or athletes.)
Difficulty focussing on the task at hand: may excel at multitasking.
Has difficulty with or is stressed by organizing meetings or events.
Inability to follow-through, finish tasks or consistently hold a job.
Unable to advance in the workplace due to a fear of, or inability to complete written exams.

Vision and reading

Experiences headaches, stomach aches or stress while reading.
Confused by letters, numbers, words or sequences.
Unaware that reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.
Proof-reading is ineffective.
Extremely keen sighted and observant, or lacks depth perception and peripheral vision.
Avoids reading aloud; finds silent reading easier.
Needs to reread information several times in order to comprehend.
Gets tired or bored easily from reading.

Writing and spelling

Trouble with writing or copying, pencil grip is unusual, hand cramps up, handwriting varies or is illegible.
Poor spelling; relies on “spell-check” before sending
emails, memos or documents.
Difficulty filling out forms.
Uses only capitals letters or mixes upper case and lower case when writing; combines cursive and print;  frequently abbreviates words.
May alter word choice when writing – to avoid spelling mistakes.

Hearing and speech

Appears to hear things not said or apparent to others; argues frequently; often accused of “not listening.”
Difficulty putting thoughts into words,  stutters under stress, mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words and syllables when speaking.
Easily distracted or frustrated by sounds when trying to focus.

Math and time management

Has difficulty managing time: consistently late or too early, difficulty predicting how long a task may take.
Dependent on finger counting, calculators and other math tricks.
Difficulty counting objects or dealing with money.
May show exceptional talent in math.

Memory and Cognition

Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, faces and specialized areas of interest.
Poor memory for sequences, names, facts and information that has not been
Thinks primarily with images and feeling, not sounds or words.
Skilled at problem-solving – may have an answer well before others.


Difficulty with North, East, South and West; reading a map; confuses left and right.

Social skills

Withdrawn or fearful of social situations which are out of their “comfort zone.”
May be loud, boisterous, inappropriate or offensive in social situations.
Unaware of others or very empathetic of others.

Motor skills

Clumsy (need to hold onto a handrail when descending stairs, difficulty throwing accurately, inability to stand on one foot)
Prone to motion sickness.
Above average athletic ability.

Behavior, Health, Development and Personality

Extremely disorderly (loses keys, glasses, etc.) or compulsively orderly.
Fussy eaters or sensitive to foods, additives or chemical products.
Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine; follows a strict set of “rules” for self management.
May be an extra deep or light sleeper.
Extremely high or low tolerance for pain.
Strong sense of justice, emotionally sensitive, strives for perfection; may over-react when making a mistake.
Enjoys video games.
Reliance on others in areas of writing, organization, book-keeping (spouse, secretary,etc.)
Easily frustrated, stressed or overwhelmed – resulting in annoyance, anger or emotional outbursts.

© 2009 by Rocky Point Academy