Mild, moderate, severe, dyslexic are just general terms, like cold, cool, warm, hot... Or there is significant difference between them! February 26, 2018 15:45

Many of us are very curious to understand the difference between a mild and moderate dyslexic, because we have been told from a screening test now that there is 90-95% chance that if the child is dyslexic and it would be either mild or moderate depending from a full assessment. For how much worse is a moderate dyslexic than a mild dyslexic and where do the specialist cut the boundary between the two? or even between moderate and severe. 

Mild, moderate or severe dyslexia just means the level of severity of the difficulties you may have. There is no hard and set rules as to cut of points because there are different issues that need to be taken into consideration. As Geodon says its like the difference of luke warm, warm, hot and very hot. There is also the difference in intelligence. You can have a person with low intelligence and mild dyslexia and high intelligence and severe dyslexia and a whole range of variations in between those . I personally have taught gifted children with severe dyslexia. A large number of dyslexic children have gone on to University.

Although there is a great focus on reading most dyslexics have greater difficulty mastering spellings. The two require different skills. Everyone is different and have different strengths and weaknesses so each dyslexic will have different levels and types of difficulties within the umbrella of dyslexia. I have many dyslexic pupils whose reading accuracy and comprehension is on par with their ability but continue to experience other difficulties. What school are looking to achieve is that the pupil has a functioning level of literacy that means they can read at a level that allows them to access the curriculum.

Some dyslexics develop very good coping strategies and they don't experience major difficulties through school but may do so as they start working or at UNi /college as the level of literacy requirements gets higher.

The good news is that the main difference between mild and severe dyslexia is that putting a lot of effort in usually leads to noticeable results and improvements in performance. 

He can read okay. He just can’t spell. That’s not dyslexia, is it?


A child with severe dyslexia will struggle with reading from the very first day.

But intelligent children with mild-to-moderate dyslexia can fool you during the first few years in school. They can read. You just don’t know HOW they are reading. But their unusual reading strategies will force them into a brick wall by third to fourth grade.

Their awful spelling, however, is obvious very early. If they spend hours each night working on a spelling list, they may be able to pass the test. But they won’t be able to spell those very same words when they’re writing sentences or compositions.

Poor spelling is highly related to poor reading, and poor spelling shows up first. But it may take until third to fourth grade for the reading struggles to become equally obvious.

Reading and spelling are closely related skills. (source

--->What dyslexia is called depends upon the type of specialist who did the testing, and their knowledge of dyslexia.

Dyslexia affects many different areas, but some testers only check one area. They find one weakness and come to the wrong conclusion. They don’t realize that weakness may be part of a bigger problem: dyslexia.

It’s like the fable of the blind men who approach an elephant from various directions. The one who discovers the trunk describes the animal very differently than the one who finds the tail, than the one who finds the leg, the tusk, etc.

None of them “see” that what they found is just one part of a bigger thing, an elephant.