Step 1 Notice

Notice the signs of someone’s struggle with reading, writing and maths.

Notice the signs

It is normal to fear the discomfort or shame of not being able to do something that most find easy. Many find creative ways of avoiding or exposing their lack of skills, so it can be difficult to notice there is an issue.

Common signs of struggle with reading, writing and maths can include:


“I haven’t brought my glasses, I can’t read that.”

Using humour


“I’m no good at that. You’ll have to do it for me” or “I can’t read that.”

Honest, upfront statements

“I can’t read. You’ll have to read that to me.”

“I don’t know what I’m signing.”

General lack of confidence


Relying on family members or others close to them to explain and complete everyday reading and writing tasks or basic calculations.

Avoiding opportunities to read aloud or explain something that is written down.