Dyslexia Myths and Truths

Corie Viscomi
Oct 1, 2018 · 3 min read

Myth #1: Dyslexia doesn’t exist; kids who aren’t learning to read are just lazy.

Fact: There are decades research and scientific evidence proving the existence of dyslexia. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) conclusively shows that individuals with dyslexia use a different part of their brain when reading. Therefore, traditional reading instruction may not work. Instead, children with dyslexia (and all children!) can benefit from instruction that is systematic, explicit, and research-based. “Laziness” has nothing to do with it.

Myth #2: Teachers know the warning signs of dyslexia, so they can alert a parent if their child is at risk.

Fact: Most classroom teachers have not had any formal training in the identification or treatment of dyslexia. This goes for reading teachers and resource teachers, too! If your child is struggling at school, speak to a professional that specializes in dyslexia.

Myth #3: Dyslexia is a sign of low IQ.

Fact: Dyslexia and intelligence are not connected. Dyslexia can affect children of all backgrounds and intelligence levels. In fact, even “gifted” children can be dyslexic. With the proper support and instruction, children with dyslexia can go on to higher education and become very successful in their careers.

Myth #4: Dyslexia cannot be diagnosed until third grade.

Fact: Professionals with extensive training in dyslexia can accurately identify it as early as preschool. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner the child can start receiving the support they need.

Myth #5: Dyslexia means that you see words backwards.

Fact: People with dyslexia do not see words backwards, as dyslexia is not a problem with the eyes. Flipping letters around (such as “b” and “d”), can be a symptom of dyslexia, but not all kids with dyslexia have this issue. Further, typical learners often reverse letters when initially learning to read and write. Dyslexia is a spectrum disorder, and as such it varies from person to person. It is made up of symptoms that result in difficulty reading accurately and fluently. Problems with writing and spelling are also common.

Myth #6: Only boys can be dyslexic.

Fact: Dyslexia affects both boys and girls equally, although boys with dyslexia are more frequently identified in schools. This is due to different behaviors between the genders. Girls tend to deal with their challenges quietly, while boys are more likely to act out.

Myth #7: It is possible to cure dyslexia.

Fact: Dyslexia is neurobiological, meaning that it is caused by atypical “wiring” of the brain. As such, it is a lifelong challenge. However, early identification and proper instruction can have a significant, positive impact on reading ability and academic achievement.

Myth #8: Dyslexia is rare.

Fact: The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 15% of the American population has dyslexia. Other organizations estimate that the number is closer to 20%. Dyslexia is one of the most common causes of reading difficulties in elementary school children.

Myth #9: If a dyslexic child doesn’t learn how to read by late elementary school, then it’s too late for them to ever learn.

Fact: The reading, spelling, and writing skills of someone with dyslexia can always be improved, no matter how old they are.

If you are concerned that your child may have dyslexia, don’t wait to seek help! Early identification and appropriate intervention from a licensed professional can change the trajectory of your child’s academic career, and in turn, their life-long attitude towards reading. For more information or to speak with an Orton-Gillingham certified therapist, call (914) 893–2223 or visit our website.