Myths and Truths About Dyslexia
Although dyslexia is the most common learning difference (it affects 20% of the population), there are still prevalent myths about what it is and how it affects children. Here are some things to know about dyslexia.
Dyslexia is not just when a student reverses their letters when they write and read. While some students with dyslexia do exhibit this trait, so do a lot of young children. It is not an automatic sign of dyslexia. However, if it still occurs beyond first grade, it would be wise to get your child evaluated.
It's not about effort. As I mentioned in a recent blog, if a student isn't doing something, it's often because they don't know how or it is truly difficult for them. If you have a reluctant reader in the house, check to see if they also exhibit the common signs of dyslexia. Talk with their teacher to find out their precise struggles with reading. If you suspect they might have dyslexia, it is time to get an evaluation. The sooner a student is diagnosed, the sooner you can put in place interventions to close their reading gap.
The minds of dyslexics are wired differently. Therefore, they need a structured, multi-sensory approach to reading instruction, like the Orton-Gillingham approach I use. Many teachers, and even some reading specialists and special educators, are still not trained in this style of reading instruction, and therefore do not use it in the classroom. Students with dyslexia need this type of intervention to help them learn how to read, spell, and write effectively.
Highly intelligent people can have dyslexia. While outwardly, dyslexic students may perform poorly at school, this is not a reflection of their intelligence. Often, dyslexic students are quite creative and excel at problem solving. Many entrepreneurs, actors, artists, and inventors are dyslexic.
All dyslexics are not the same. Dyslexia exists on a spectrum and some students struggle with it more than others. Add in the fact that dyslexia often comes with other learning differences like ADHD, and can also be paired with mental struggles like anxiety and depression, and the picture looks different for each dyslexic child.
If you'd like to learn more about dyslexia, here are some excellent resources:
Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity FAQ
Understanding the Myths Around Reading and Dyslexia