The Prentice School
While research over the years has continued to yield much information about dyslexia, the learning disorder is still easily misunderstood. These misconceptions can lead to ineffective approaches to learning, thus a disservice to those with the disorder. Debunking some of the myths surrounding dyslexia can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved.
Here are four of the most common misconceptions about Dyslexia and the facts to set them straight:
Dyslexia is a visual problem
While some people with dyslexia have problems with their vision, the disorder is not just about the way a person sees letters and numbers. The issue lies within the brain, and how it processes written material. Often, letters or numbers appear out of order or even backwards. The text that is viewed through the eyes does not make sense because of the way the brain is wired.
Dyslexia can be outgrown
Hopeful as some may be, there is no such thing as a former dyslexic. It is a lifelong issue, whether it is diagnosed in someone very early on or later in life. Additionally, there are no vision exercises, special glasses or medications that can remedy the disorder. There are, however, effective strategies that make reading and writing easier. But dyslexic children inevitably become dyslexic adults.
Dyslexia cannot be diagnosed in young children
Many believe that tests to diagnose dyslexia cannot be successfully performed until a child is in third or fourth grade and failing at reading. This “wait-to-fail” approach is unnecessary, and experts note that this practice can “have tremendous psychological and clinical implications.” Screening can be done even before a child enters school. Children as young as three years old have shown deficits in their knowledge of letters and phonological awareness.
If dyslexia is suspected, a number of screening tests can identify children who may be at risk for experiencing difficulty reading. Studies show that the brain is able to adapt to change when it is young and learning certain skills becomes more difficult as we age. Thus, it is beneficial to discover the disorder earlier in order to make preventive intervention and special education services available as necessary.
Dyslexia means low intelligence
While people with dyslexia have trouble with letters or deciphering words, that does not mean they are not smart. The level of one’s intelligence is not connected to his or her disorder. People with dyslexia can be creative and bright, and with the right accommodations to assist them with reading, can perform very well in school. Some of the brightest minds in history have been dyslexic: Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, George Washington and Leonardo da Vinci.
While dyslexics have to work harder than their classmates to learn how to read well, this does not mean they are any less intelligent than someone without the disorder who learns to read and write with ease. Ronald D. Davis, author of The Gift of Dyslexia, believes all people with dyslexia share the same talents:
– They can utilize the brain’s ability to alter and create perceptions (the primary ability).
– They are highly aware of the environment.
– They are more curious than average.
– They think mainly in pictures instead of words.
– They are highly intuitive and insightful.
– They think and perceive multi-dimensionally (using all the senses).
To properly teach, support and intervene in the education of a child with Dyslexia or any learning differences, we must understand the challenges associated with them and put to rest the fallacies that are tied to them. Educators must be informed so that they can offer proper teaching techniques, and parents must know the facts so that they can advocate for their child accordingly.