Dyslexia is a deeply misunderstood learning difference, and the internet is full of myths about it. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the most widespread myths about dyslexia and the reality behind them.
Myth #1: Writing backward
The myth: Children with dyslexia read and write backward, so reading and writing backward are signs of dyslexia.
The reality is: Spelling and reading difficulties are common symptoms of dyslexia. Additionally, some children with dyslexia reverse the sounds of words they find challenging to learn, but they do not read or write “backward” any more than other children.
Reversing letters and numbers is common for children during early development, whether dyslexic or not.
As with other learning differences, there are degrees of severity: some children may have significant difficulties writing letters based on their sound, while for others, it won’t be as challenging. They may also have trouble remembering words but not necessarily writing them when they remember them – every case is different.
Myth #2: Outgrowing dyslexia
The myth: Children can outgrow dyslexia without applying specific strategies for their challenges.
The reality is: The symptoms of dyslexia often vary by age, but they do not necessarily diminish or disappear as a child grows older. By learning specific learning techniques and using tools to assist dyslexic symptoms, people can manage it throughout their lives and eventually learn to read and write with success. However, the person will always have the powerful and beautiful dyslexic brain.
Myth #3: Lower intelligence
The myth: Children with dyslexia are less intelligent because they have trouble learning to read and write.
The reality is: Dyslexia is fundamentally a problem with accessing the sound of spoken language, not an intellectual disability. A Yale University study found that while reading ability and IQ reinforce each other over time in non-dyslexic children, that relation doesn’t exist in dyslexic children. A child and future adult can be very bright and still have reading issues. In fact, some famous personalities have achieved wonders despite dyslexia.
Myth #4: Early diagnosis
The myth: Dyslexia cannot be diagnosed until third grade.
The reality is: Dyslexia symptoms become more apparent at around 5 or 6 when children are in kindergarten. It can be diagnosed at this age and even as early as three years old. There’s no need to wait until third grade to perform tests and get a diagnosis. That is lost time that could have been used learning to manage it.
Myth #5: A learning disability
The myth: Children with dyslexia have a learning disability.
The reality is: Dyslexia is a “learning difficulty.” It causes problems with abilities used for learning, such as reading and writing, but that is not the same as being a learning disability. Learning disabilities are lifelong conditions that are highly resistant to educational interventions, while learning difficulties can be managed with the right education and support.
Myth #6: Reading more
The myth: Dyslexia is caused by not reading enough at home.
The reality is: Reading and writing are skills partially developed at home, with the support of family members, but reading at home doesn’t make children immune to dyslexia. It’s a learning difficulty with a significant genetic component that doesn’t simply go away by reading more. Reading often helps, but merely reading without addressing symptoms does not.
Myth #7: Inability to read
The myth: Children with dyslexia can’t read.
The reality is: Reading is a skill that gets better with practice, and dyslexia doesn’t prevent children from developing reading skills. With the proper support and educational strategies, children with dyslexia can learn to read and do well in school, despite the challenges.
Myth #8: Laziness
The myth: Children with dyslexia are lazy.
The reality is: This is a particularly discouraging myth. The fact is that dyslexia makes certain brain processes different, and no amount of willpower will suffice if those specific challenges are not addressed. Children with dyslexia are not lazy. They learn in different ways and with specific techniques. Expecting them to learn the same way as non-dyslexic children goes against their nature and discourages them.
Myth #9: Repeating grades
The myth: Retaining a child with dyslexia will improve their academic performance.
The reality is: Repeating grades as a blanket solution doesn’t help children with dyslexia. Children need to be exposed to age-appropriate education in all areas, not just reading. Depriving them of those experiences because they have difficulty reading damages their development and self-esteem. Also, doing the same thing over and over without changing the process is not effective. It’s about changing the methods, not doing more of what we already know is not working.
Myth #10: The cure
The myth: There’s a cure for dyslexia.
The reality is: No, here is no cure for dyslexia. It’s a lifelong learning difficulty However, a person can learn to overcome their dyslexia with appropriate support and a very specific type of academic instruction.
By understanding what dyslexia is and isn’t, you’ll better support your child as they manage their challenges. Be proactive by constantly educating them and yourself about its symptoms and how to overcome them. At the Learning Lab, we work with children with dyslexia individually and in small group settings to find the best way to help them reach their full potential.