Dyslexia Myths: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction

board with true or false representing dyslexia mythsAs you can imagine, we have scores of parents contacting us who are unfamiliar with dyslexia and looking to learn more.

Like most learning disabilities, there are several misconceptions and bits of misinformation surrounding dyslexia, and for parents who don’t know much about it; it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction.

We’ve talked about it before, but the myths surrounding dyslexia bear repeating. In today’s post, I’ll touch on a few that seem most prevalent:

  • “People with dyslexia are less intelligent.” On the contrary, dyslexia and intelligence are not at all connected. Dyslexia occurs at all levels of intelligence and is not related to IQ. Many extremely intelligent people also struggle with dyslexia.
  •  “Dyslexia is something you outgrow.” Dyslexia is a lifelong condition. It cannot be “cured” or outgrown. However, individuals can learn to overcome their reading difficulties with the proper help.
  •  “Reversing letters is a definite indication of dyslexia.”  Difficulties with reversible letters like b and d and p and q may be the symptom that is most associated with dyslexia in many people’s minds. The truth is, many children, dyslexic or not, reverse letters when they are first learning to read and write. In truth, there is no single symptom that serves as a hallmark of dyslexia. But, if difficulty distinguishing among similar letters persists past the first years or so of beginning literacy instruction it is certainly a red flag.
  • “People with dyslexia will never be good readers.” On the contrary, dyslexics can become excellent and even award-winning readers and writers. (Stay tuned for my next blog about Pulitzer Prize winning poets with dyslexia!) That’s not to say they are likely to be speed-readers.  While dyslexia can be overcome, it is not “cured.” Even though reading and spelling are likely to continue to be more laborious for dyslexics, with proper diagnosis and instruction, hard work and support from family and teachers and with appropriate technology, people with dyslexia can certainly excel academically.
  • “Dyslexia is uncommon.” Unfortunately, dyslexia is all too common. According to the International Dyslexia Association, approximately 20% of people, 11 million people in the United States, are affected by dyslexia. Teachers may not recognize their difficulties as dyslexia, but this prevalence data means that in an average class with 28 students from 4 to 6 students are likely to be dyslexic.
  • “Dyslexia cannot be diagnosed until 3rd grade.” This misconception is all too common. The truth is if you are noticing problems before 3rd grade, you need to act! According to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), if children who are dyslexic get effective intervention in Kindergarten and 1st grade, they will have significantly fewer problems in learning to read at grade level than do children who are not identified or helped until 3rd grade.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 74% of the children who are poor readers in 3rd grade remain poor readers in the 9th grade. Often they can’t read well as adults either.

If your child struggles with reading, writing, or spelling, the most important first step is a professional evaluation. No matter where you live, your child can be tested and treated individually, face-to-face, online, by the clinical educators at Lexercise. Learn more here, or contact us directly at Info@Lexercise.com or 1-919-747-4557.

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Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC

MA/CCC - Cofounder and CKO

Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.