12 myths ABOUT DYSLEXIA
Myth: Kids who have dyslexia are unable to read
Truth: Most kids with dyslexia are able to read, even if it is at a basic level. The problem is that kids with dyslexia need to put a lot more time and effort into learning to read. Whereas typical kids will become “fluent readers” so that reading is automatic, fast and enjoyable, kids with dyslexia remain “manual” readers, reading slowly and with a great deal of effort.
Myth: Reversing letters or numbers is a sure sign of dyslexia
Truth: Letter and number reversals are not necessarily a sure sign of dyslexia. Many young kids reverse letters when learning to write. In the first few years of school, it is very common for kids to reverse their letters and numbers, regardless of whether or not they have dyslexia. However, if this does not stop after two years of handwriting instruction, it becomes a red flag for dyslexia. Yet, a kid can be highly dyslexic and not reverse letter and numbers.
Myth: More boys than girls have dyslexia
Truth: Dyslexia is equally prevalent in boys and girls. The difference is that more boys than girls get diagnosed with dyslexia. This is because of the different ways in which boys and girls respond to the frustration and difficulties caused by dyslexia.
When boys struggle with schoolwork, they tend to get exasperated and act out their frustration. Their dyslexia is usually identified as both parents and teachers try to understand what is causing their behavioral problems. On the other hand, when girls struggle with schoolwork, they tend to get really quiet, move to the back of the classroom and try to become as invisible as possible. As a consequence, their dyslexia is not flagged and it doesn’t get discovered until much later.
Myth: Dyslexic kids see words backward and see letters reversed
Truth: Dyslexia does not affect eyesight. Many people incorrectly believe that kids with dyslexia see and write words and letters backwards. While it is true that dyslexic kids sometimes get the direction of letters and numbers confused, they don’t actually see them backwards. Dyslexics have trouble with directionality (for example, dyslexics have trouble distinguishing left and right, up and down and the letter “b” from “d”). Some people with dyslexia also have trouble retrieving and/or using the right name for objects. For example, they may see a letter and say the wrong letter name.
Myth: Dyslexia only causes difficulties in reading and spelling
Truth: Dyslexia does not only cause difficulties in reading and spelling. A kid with dyslexia usually shows other signs, including but not limited to, having difficulties with: following instructions and sequences, memorization (for example, times tables) verbal expression (for example, expressing a point of view), speech (for example, use of the correct tense), confusing left and right, trouble telling time, poor handwriting, poor concentration and difficultly with comprehension.
Myth: If you do well at school you can’t be dyslexic
Truth: Many dyslexic kids do well at school. However, in order to compensate for their dyslexia, they have to work much harder and be more motivated than their non-dyslexic peers. Dyslexic kids that are provided support and any necessary accommodations (for example, extra time) are much more likely to succeed at school and to reach their academic potential.
Myth: You can’t be intelligent if you have dyslexia
Truth: There is absolutely no relation between dyslexia and intelligence. Dyslexics can have low, middle and high levels of intelligence and can be highly gifted, just like other people.
Many dyslexics are very intelligent and have gone on to accomplish outstanding things in their lives. Many famous authors, researchers, actors and actresses, politicians, athletes, and others from all different professions are dyslexic.
Myth: You will outgrow dyslexia
Truth: Dyslexia is a genetic lifelong medical condition. It cannot be outgrown or cured. A person with dyslexia will always have some challenges with reading fluency, directionality, memorization and word retrieval. There are no medicines, eyeglasses, or brain exercises that will “cure” dyslexia. However, kids can develop strategies to address and improve their reading, spelling and other difficulties. Although you cannot outgrow dyslexia, this does not mean that you cannot be extremely accomplished and successful. There are many talented people, including artists, authors, scientists, lawyers, doctors, politicians, actors and actresses, musicians and athletes that are dyslexic.
Myth: Dyslexia does not exist
Truth: The scientific and medical community recognizes the existence of dyslexia. There is over 30 years of documented, scientific evidence and research proving the existence of dyslexia.
Dyslexia is the most common learning difference. It is estimated that 10% or every 1 in 10 school-aged child has dyslexia. Approximately, 375,000 students in the United Kingdom have dyslexia.
Myth: Dyslexics are lazy
Truth: Dyslexics are far from lazy. Through the use of MRIs and brain mapping technology, researchers at Yale University determined that people with dyslexia use a different part of their brains when reading and using language. The different way in which dyslexics process reading and language is very inefficient and laborious. Dyslexic brains work five times harder than others doing the same task. As a consequence, dyslexic students need to work much harder than their peers. This is extremely exhausting! Eventually, throughout the course of the school day, some dyslexic kids get too tired to focus, resulting in the teacher describing them as “day dreamers” and being less motivated than their peers.
Myth: You CAN NOT HAVE dyslexia IF YOU CAN READ AND DO WELL ON SPELLING TESTS
Truth: The symptoms of dyslexia are not always the best known and obvious symptoms. As a consequence, sometimes parents and teachers do not recognize dyslexia because it doesn’t look like they expect it to.
While some people with dyslexia really struggle with reversals of letters and numbers, not all do. Other, lesser known, signs that a kid might have dyslexia include:
Substituting words in sentences for other words that make sense
Memorizing words but cannot sound them out
Doing well on spelling tests but struggles with the same words a week later
Myth: You CAN'T DIAGNOSE A KID with dyslexia until they are at least eight years old
Truth: Kids with dyslexia are born with dyslexia. Dyslexic kids are born with neurological differences that are highlighted when they begin to learn to read. Therefore, as soon as a child begins to learn to read and begins to show the symptoms of dyslexia, the child can be assessed and diagnosed.