What Is Dyslexia, Actually?

Myths and Facts

Dyslexia Support & Awareness

Dyslexia is a real, diagnosable learning difference that makes reading difficult for children and adults. It’s one of the longest studied reading and learning disabilities, first identified by German ophthalmologist and professor Rudolf Berlin in 1877. At first it was aptly described as Wortblindheit (word-blindness), later changed to Dyslexia.

With the right support, people with dyslexia can learn the skills and tools needed to thrive with their reading difficulties. Many dyslexics have achieved incredible success in the arts, sciences and even literature.

What Are the Symptoms of Dyslexia?

People with dyslexia generally have trouble with:

  • Sounding out written words
  • Recognizing common words in text
  • Spelling
  • Reading accurately and smoothly
  • Understanding what’s read
  • Writing
  • Rhyming
  • Solving word problems in math

What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning difference that involves difficulty identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding).

There is no correlation between dyslexia and below-average intelligence. People with dyslexia are just as likely to be above or below average intelligence levels as anyone else. In fact, some researchers have found above-average creativity and intelligence in dyslexics, perhaps in part due to the challenges they have overcome in dealing with their condition. People with dyslexia may also possess above-average skills in other areas not related to decoding language.

This video from understood.org breaks down the facts of dyslexia in a quick 3 minutes. 

Common Dyslexia Myths

Dyslexia is extremely common, estimated to afflict up to 17% of people. It often runs in families and is a lifelong condition.

Despite the fact that as many as 1 in 5 children and adults has dyslexia, the condition is often misunderstood and mislabeled.

Have you heard any of these dyslexia myths before?

All Dyslexics Reverse Letters and Numbers

Many young children reverse letters and numbers when learning to read and write. While some people with dyslexia write letters backwards, many don’t. Reversed letters in your child’s writing are not a definite sign of dyslexia.

Dyslexia Is “Cured” When a Child Learns to Read

Reading intervention like The Reading School’s Structured Literacy lessons can equip a dyslexic child with the tools to read, but this success doesn’t mean they are “cured.” Dyslexia is a lifelong learning difference. As academic challenges increase, further support in reading, writing and spelling can help your child build the skills they need to learn and excel with dyslexia.

Dyslexia Is a Vision Disorder

Vision problems neither cause nor result from dyslexia, and people with dyslexia are no more likely to have vision problems than those without it. Dyslexia is a brain-based learning difference which involves difficulty processing the phonological component of words. A dyslexic’s brain simply functions differently when processing language.

Dyslexia Only Occurs in English Speakers

Dyslexia exists all over the world and in all languages. As a neurobiological condition, it can occur in any person and causes similar challenges, no matter the language. However, children who speak multiple languages at home or at school may appear to be struggling with bilingualism when, in fact, dyslexia is present. If your child is having trouble reading in their first language and second language, it is an indication that a Structured Literacy Assessment might help.

Dyslexia Can Be Prevented

Children with dyslexia have a neurobiological difference which causes them to have trouble connecting the sounds of language with the letters and phonograms, or symbols, that represent those sounds. Dyslexia is not caused by reading too little in early childhood, starting school late or struggling to pay attention. With dyslexia, it’s the type and quality of instruction, not the amount of effort or reading exposure, that will help a child have reading and writing success. With good instruction and practice, kids with dyslexia can make lasting gains in reading.

Helping your child and your child’s teachers understand the condition of Dyslexia can be an important step in getting the support you need.

Tell us below: What were YOU surprised to learn about Dyslexia when your child was diagnosed?