Myths about Dyslexia

Dyslexia is commonly misunderstood. It is more common than many people think.  One way to help understand what dyslexia is, is to clear up what it is not. Take a look at these common myths about dyslexia and get a more clear understanding of the truth behind them.

Myth: People with dyslexia see things backwards.

Fact: people with dyslexia do not see things backwards.  They see things the same way you and I do.  Dyslexia is not a vision problem, and vision therapy won’t fix it.  Yes, they reverse and confuse their b’s and d’s and read “was” for “saw”, but that is caused by their directionality confusion, which lasts a lifetime.

Myth: People with dyslexia can’t read.

Fact: Most people with dyslexia can read, to a point.  They are usually quite smart, and learn early to memorize lots of words using shapes and first letters as clues.  That is why spelling difficulties usually show up earlier, and sometimes the reading difficulties don’t show up until later grades when there are no pictures or predictable story lines in their reading assignments and they are called on to read longer, unfamiliar words.

Myth: People with dyslexia will never learn to read, so we need to teach them to compensate.

Fact: With thecorrectintervention, people with dyslexia can learn to read, spell and write.  It is important that they have the proper intervention, starting with training in Phonemic Awareness. 

Myth: If a child with dyslexia just practices reading more (for example, reads aloud 20 minutes a day) he or she will learn to read.

Fact: Reading out loud will not teach a child to read.  They will continue to rely on picture and context clues and word shapes to guess words.  Without being taught how to “decode” (sound out unknown words by breaking them into their parts), they will hit a reading “wall” in about third grade.

Myth: Students with dyslexia just need to try harder.

Fact: Most children with dyslexia are bright, and want to do well in school.  They spend way more time on homework than their peers, with far less success.  They begin to think they are not smart, because they know everyone else is doing these things easily.  Without intervention, they are likely to give up and stop trying.  (It feels better to say “I don’t care” than “I am stupid”)

Myth: If a person can’t read, he or she must not be very smart.

Fact: Dyslexia is not related to IQ.  Many people with Dyslexia are very bright and accomplish great things as adults.  Check out this list of famous people who have dyslexia!

Myth: Children will grow out of early reading and spelling difficulties.

Fact: Independent, scientific, replicated research indicated just the opposite.  It shows that if a child is struggling with reading and spelling in mid-first grade, and does not receive appropriate intervention, that child has a better than 90% chance of still struggling with those skills in eighth grade and on into adulthood.

Myth: Dyslexia is caused by a lack of phonics instruction.

Fact: Phonics is not the answer for children with dyslexia.  They can learn phonics, but they cannot apply it, due to their lack of phonemic awareness.  That’s why a key indicator that a child has dyslexia is he or she cannot sound out unknown words, despite being taught phonics.

Myth: Dyslexia is a medical diagnosis.

Fact: Dyslexia is not a medical problem.  Doctors have no training in how to test for reading, spelling and writing problems, and there is not medical cure.