- June 8, 2023
Many dyslexic people think they’re dumb or stupid, but that is inaccurate (scratch that) it’s just straight up FALSE.
Most of the time, dyslexic people do not think this way independently. They usually conclude that they’re unintelligent because they’ve compared their abilities to other peers. What many fail to realize and relay to those with learning differences is that EVERYONE learns differently and no one skill measures intelligence (no not even an IQ test).
No two people learn in the exact same way.
Now, schools and our society tend to develop standards to measure all of us by acceptable levels in the skills of reading, math, language, problem-solving, etc. However, when we pay too much attention to those “standards,” thinking of them as statistics and words per minute as appose to true critical thinking skills; we lose focus because each child has unique skills that they can develop.
Now for dyslexia specifically (which I have form of) here some info if your curious about dispelling common myths (spoiler alert no you DON’T do everything backwards). Don’t forget to share this with someone who can benefit from it.
What is dyslexia?
It is a learning disability that influences word recognition, spelling, and decoding or processing language and word sounds. It has a neurobiological origin meaning that some nervous system mechanisms create these deficits.
Some teachers or learning specialists think of dyslexia as having a “different brain” with different language pathways that arnt necessarily linear. I teach dyslexic students, and while they are intelligent individuals, they frequently struggle with reading (surprise surprise), which affects their comprehension of learning material and their ability to recall information.
Dyslexic students have no problem seeing individual letters the same way people without dyslexia do. They experience challenges manipulating letters as fluently as it appears in books or any written text, and that’s why it seems like they have trouble reading. For example, the word “cat” may be challenging to read in a sentence like this – The cat sat at that mat. Manipulating the new letters attached to the existing syllable –at can be a challenge after cat, especially when they’re so close together. Furthermore, more severe dyslexia can cause someone attempting to decode multiple letters in sequence (ie words in sentence) to appear they are moving or spreading across the page, thus making the reading not only challenging, but also extremely frustrating.
Dyslexia occurs on a continuum and affects 1 in 5 persons (i.e., it is relatively common). People have mild to severe forms of dyslexia and require minimal to intensive support for learning.
10 Myths About Dyslexia (+10 myth corrections)
Myth #1: Dyslexic people have low intelligence and have to try harder to read
Correction: The difficulty of phonological processing experienced by people with dyslexia is independent of IQ. This fact means that dyslexia can occur in people of low, average, or high intelligence.
Myth #2: It’s a major sign of dyslexia when letters are reversed or written backward
Correction: Letter reversals are common among children in the early learning stages of reading and writing. It often happens when children have not firmly established the knowledge of letter writing and reading, not a significant sign of dyslexia.
Myth #3: Dyslexic people don’t see letters well
Correction: Dyslexia is not a visual disability. It affects phonological (i.e., speech sounds) processing, so dyslexic people see letters as others do when its individual letters but vision can be distorted when there are MULTIPLE letters trying to be decoded (and this is only in some circumstances and is often qualified with another joint diagnosis outside the scope of this article).
Myth #4: You can cure dyslexia
Correction: Dyslexia is not curable. Children can learn to manage and work around the impact of dyslexia in their daily activities as they grow into adults.
Myth #5: Dyslexia affects only people who speak, read or learn in English
Correction: Dyslexia is a neurological condition that can affect anyone in any part of the world. The English Language is not the only language spoken in the world. However, the differences in phonological complexity of different languages mean that dyslexic people may experience unique sets of difficulties processing speech sounds in other languages.
Myth #6: Dyslexic people cant be gifted because of their dyslexia
Correction: Dyslexia does not cause people to be gifted, but it is very possible for someon with dyslexia to be gifted and thus qualified as “twice exceptional.” There are also many studies that point to those with dyslecia processing language differently and thus accelerating in more creative areas.
Myth #7: If you give them enough time, they’ll outgrow it!
Correction: Dyslexia is a neurological condition that lasts a lifetime. It is not curable and cannot be outgrown, only managed with effective interventions.
Myth #8: Dyslexic people will never learn to read
Correction: With effective interventions such as individualized study programs with learning specialists or tutors, dyslexic people can become excellent readers and learners.
Myth #9: You got into Harvard? Do you really have dyslexia?
Correction: Dyslexic people can advance to the highest or most prestigious positions despite their learning disability. Dyslexic people in prestigious positions or schools have worked hard to get there, and their achievements should not diminish the reality of living with a learning disability.
Myth #10: It doesn’t show up until elementary school.
Correction: Dyslexic people show signs as early as preschool. Signs of dyslexia only become more pronounced as learning outcomes grow more complex with new class levels, e.g., starting elementary school.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Dyslexia is a neurological condition that can be effectively managed throughout life. It is not a reflection of a person’s level of intelligence, so being dyslexic does not mean you arn’t smart, it means you learn and process information differently. Working with experts and learning specialists can benefit dyslexic persons for the rest of their lives. It is NOTHING to be ashamed of.
I hope this helps!