Individuals with dyslexia struggle with more than just the symptoms of their learning disability. They are also often burdened with the social stigma associated with a diagnosis that affects their ability to process information.
Before diagnosis, many people with dyslexia secretly worry that they aren’t as intelligent as their peers, which simply isn’t true. That, along with other mainstream myths and misconceptions, makes living with dyslexia an even greater challenge than it already is.
Take the time to learn more about what dyslexia does – and does not – entail. This will help you support, recognize, and understand more about how it affects the people who experience it.
Myth: Reversing letters means you have dyslexia.
Truth: Although it’s true that mixing up or reversing letters is one potential indicator of dyslexia, it’s also a normal part of learning your alphabet.
Letters like “b” and “d” are very similar when you lack familiarity with them. It is an easy mistake to make until around the age of seven, or until a child has been writing for more than two years.
Furthermore, reversing letters isn’t the only sign, and it’s not one that everyone with dyslexia exhibits. So, don’t panic if your child reverses letters, but also don’t rule out dyslexia if they don’t. Seek out an evaluation if you have concerns.
Myth: Children with dyslexia just need to practice reading more.
Truth: Dyslexia is an actual neurological condition that happens to affect reading; it’s not caused by a lack of effort or aptitude. It’s a difference in the way the brain functions.
Children with dyslexia often benefit from different instructional styles than their neurotypical peers when learning to read. Sometimes it’s not a cause of needing to practice more, but more about practicing differently.
A multisensory approach that includes sight, sound, and touch as part of the learning process is one such technique that is often beneficial.
Structured literacy is another strategy. This systematic approach involves matching sounds to letters and letter combinations, memorizing spelling patterns and rules, and learning to take words apart and put them back together.
A combination of different instructional approaches increases the likelihood of presenting information in a way that works for the learner.
Myth: People with dyslexia see things backward.
Truth: Dyslexia is not a vision problem. A 2015 study published in the journal Pediatrics tested more than 5,800 children between the ages of seven and nine. It discovered that the 3% who had dyslexia, did not have notable differences in vision.
Dyslexia is a phonological, or sound, processing disorder that contributes to difficulties with learning to read, write, and spell. Children don’t physically see words or letters backward; they interpret them that way.
Myth: Children outgrow dyslexia.
Truth: Many people assume that dyslexia is no longer an issue once a child learns how to read. The truth is that dyslexia will still present challenges throughout adulthood since it’s a disorder that involves the way information is understood. Spelling, writing, and general comprehension may still suffer as a result.
While it’s true that people learn different adaptative strategies, and the disorder may have less of an effect on their daily lives, they still face unique challenges that can be attributed to dyslexia.
Myth: Dyslexia is a medical diagnosis.
Truth: Doctors don’t typically diagnose or treat dyslexia. Since it’s a learning disability, dyslexia is generally evaluated by a neuropsychologist or a language and literacy professional through an assessment of phonological processing, language skills, reading, spelling, writing, and comprehension.
Your pediatrician may have the resources available to refer you to a professional for evaluation but will not be the one diagnosing or treating dyslexia.
Dyslexia isn’t an indicator of intelligence or effort. It’s important to remember that so that self-esteem doesn’t suffer.
People with dyslexia interpret information differently and experience a range of symptoms that contribute to challenges with reading, spelling, writing, and pronouncing words.
With a diagnosis, proper support, and a suitable educational approach, children with dyslexia will adapt to the way their brain works and will thrive socially, academically, and professionally alongside their peers.
At Learning Lab, we support the full “ecosystem” of children who are smart but struggle in a traditional school setting. Our personalized approach for each child teaches the way that they learn and paves the way for a collaborative educational experience between learners, their families, and school communities. Find out how we can help your child.