People with dyslexia aren’t lazy, and there’s no ‘cure’ for the learning disability.
It’s about neurology, not intelligence.
People with dyslexia often have to deal not only with the language-based learning disability, but with pernicious misconceptions and myths. For example, it’s commonly thought that people with dyslexia aren’t very intelligent. That’s inaccurate, says Joan Peirson, project manager at DyslexiaHelp, a website at the University of Michigan under the auspices of the Service for Students with Disabilities office. “The underlying cause is in one’s phonological, or sound, processing”, she says. “At its core, dyslexia is phonological processing disorder that manifests in difficulties learning to read and spell.”
Dyslexia involves an array of symptoms that result in people having difficulty reading and with other language skills, such as spelling, writing and pronouncing words, according to the International Dyslexia Association. What causes dyslexia isn’t certain, but research highlights differences in the brain development and function of those with dyslexia. It’s estimated that up to 20 percent of the population experiences reading difficulties, such as slow or inaccurate reading, Peirson says. That doesn’t mean they have dyslexia, however, which affects 7 to 10 percent of the population. Here are eight misconceptions about the learning disability:
1. All kids who reverse letter or numbers have dyslexia
While reversing certain letters like b’s and d’s can be a sign of dyslexia, it’s not accurate that all kids who reverse letters are dyslexic. It’s normal for children to flip letters while they’re learning to write until age 7, says Dr. Daniel Ganjian, a board-certified pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. But if kids are still doing this after two years of writing instruction, it could be a warning sign of dyslexia.
2. Dyslexia can be outgrown
The learning disability is a lifelong issue, Pierson says. Yearly monitoring of a student’s phonological skills from first through 12th grade shows that the disability continues into adulthood. While many people with dyslexia learn to read accurately, they many continue to read slowly. “Even though the disorder is present and it is lifelong, it does not have to disabling”, Pierson says. “With the right interventions and strategies, we can teach people with dyslexia how to be successful readers and writers.”
3. People with dyslexia will never learn to read well
Some will become terrific readers with the right education intervention, according to DyslexiaHelp. Such intervention is systematic, explicit and evidence-based: “We call it ‘structured literacy’. It’s designed to meet individual needs,” Pierson says. ” We teach them to match sounds to letters and letter combinations and teach them spelling patterns and rules. We have them engaged in word study; we teach them how to take words apart and put them together again. We also teach them to use context so they can understand the word meaning in a particular context.”
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