7 Myths about Dyslexia
With dyslexia being labeled as a learning disability, there are many misconceptions and myths about dyslexia. With recent research, there is more information and a better understanding of dyslexia than ever before! To better understand and help a loved one or student with dyslexia, here are 7 common myths about dyslexia.
1. Dyslexia causes letters or words to appear backwards or out of order.
False – A main misconception about dyslexia is that people with dyslexia see letters or words backwards or out of order. This is not the case. Dyslexia does not cause words to appear differently. It is not an optical disorder but people with dyslexia have deficiencies in their phonological processing which causes them to have difficulty with reading.
2. There is a cure for dyslexia
False – There is no cure for Dyslexia because it is not a disease. Rather, dyslexia causes a person’s brain to work a little differently. The best treatment for someone who is struggling to read because of their dyslexia is to strengthen cognitive skills such as working memory, processing speed, and executive functioning so that these individuals have the basis of these cognitive skills which may help them with their reading. It is also important to help students or people with dyslexia not think of having dyslexia as a sentence of shame, but rather an encouragement of uniqueness. You can learn more about how dyslexia impacts the brain here.
3. Dyslexia is caused by low intelligence
False – Dyslexia may cause a person to have a harder time connecting letters to the sounds they make in order to blend them together to make words. However, it does not mean that a person with dyslexia is not intelligent. In fact, many people with dyslexia are very smart and go on to be very successful as adults.
4. Dyslexia is unique to people who speak English
False – It is not only found in English, but in French too! Dyslexia exists higher in native English and French speakers due to the irregularity or opaqueness of these language writing systems. Due to the nature of how English and French were formed, their written language does not follow the same logical rules that the spoken language has. For example, ‘mint,’ ‘lint’ and ‘hint’ are all ‘-int’ words and yet are all pronounced differently than the word pint. This doesn’t mean that dyslexia is only found in these language-based speakers. It is found in students all over the world. Due to other language’s learning styles and language structure, it is often undiscovered until later in life.
5. Dyslexia goes away after kids learn to read.
Yes and No. This is only semi-true due to the fact that with enough intervention, a person with dyslexia can learn to read effectively. Despite intervention, people with dyslexia process information slightly differently, which doesn’t go away. With support, people with dyslexia can find their uniqueness to be a strength that can be harnessed for greatness. Someone with dyslexia is not guaranteed to never be able to read, it just means that they will have to work a little bit harder to become proficient at reading. And that is ok!
6. People with dyslexia just need to try harder to read.
False – Yes, a child with dyslexia does need to spend more time learning how to read, but just trying harder does not always mean success. Instead, teachers and therapists need to be helping students with dyslexia to build up their toolbox of reading and writing tools and strengthen their cognitive skills. A student is only as good as their teacher, and sometimes a little more support is all a child needs in order to thrive.
7. Dyslexia is related to problems with vision
False – Vision problems neither cause nor are the result of dyslexia. Children with dyslexia are no more likely to have vision problems than children without. Dyslexia is a difference in how a brain processes and stores the information used in language-based learning. There are no special glasses or contacts available to “cure” dyslexia. However, it is important to ensure that a student has proper vision as this may cloud diagnosis if vision has not been assessed.
How can I help someone with dyslexia?
If you are a teacher working with a student who has dyslexia, take time to work with them on approaching course material and helping them work on study skills, reading strategies, and grasping key concepts. You may want to work with the student’s family on seeking assessment if you are unsure if a student may be struggling with a different learning disability or brain condition that could be causing them to have difficulty in school. Make sure that the student feels comfortable and included in the classroom, as it is easy to feel discouraged from participating in class when living with a learning disability.
Are you working with a student who was diagnosed as “fine” but is still struggling in school? Listen to what you should do when you have a student diagnosed as fine from this SLP.