In honor of Dyslexia Awareness Month, the time has come once again to celebrate the challenging gift of dyslexia and highlight the cold, hard truths about the treatment of and attitudes about it. True awareness not only comes from the knowledge of the facts, but also from the recognition of the often-misleading cultural perception of dyslexia. With an eye for misconceptions that plague society, we can more closely understand this learning disability and better assist those that need our support.
Let’s start with the facts!
Straight Facts and Statistics (for the statisticians in all of us)
According to a Yale study, it is estimated that 1 in 5 people have dyslexia.
Over 40 million American adults are dyslexic—and only 2 million know it!
20% of school-aged children in the US are dyslexic.
Less than 1/3 of the children with dyslexia are receiving school services for their reading disability.
Out of those classified as having a learning disability, 80% are dyslexic. Some researchers believe the number is even higher.
Over 50% of NASA employees are dyslexic.
Dyslexics may struggle with organizational skills, planning, prioritizing, telling time, and concentrating, but many excel at subjects and skills on the creative and abstract end of the spectrum: connecting ideas, thinking outside the box, 3D-thinking, seeing the big picture, art, computer science, design, drama, electronics, math, mechanics, music, physics, sales, and sports.
Dyslexia is a neurobiological condition. At present, there is no genetic or neurological test to diagnose or predict the extent or severity of dyslexia in a person.
About 5% of the population will have enduring, severe reading disabilities that are very difficult to treat given our current knowledge.
…And now for a brief encounter with the Mythbusters team. Don’t fall victim to these inaccuracies in our culture’s perception of dyslexia—they are very prevalent and often masquerade as fact. Arm yourself with knowledge!
Misconceptions and Myths
Dyslexia is not tied to IQ. In fact, Albert Einstein was dyslexic and had an estimated IQ of 160.
Dyslexia has nothing to do with laziness or a lack of motivation.
Dyslexia is not just about getting letters or numbers mixed up or out of sequence—dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that includes poor word-reading, word-decoding, oral reading fluency, and spelling. There are many forms affecting many different skill sets.
Dyslexics do not see words backwards. Reversing words is mainly due to deficits in the interpretation of left and right.
Dyslexia occurs equally in people of all genders, socio-economic statuses, cultures, and intellectual levels.
Dyslexia is not something a person can grow out of. However, with appropriate teaching methods, it can be treated and dyslexics can learn successfully.
Dyslexia is not caused by bad parenting or other environmental factors. In fact, it runs in families—parents with dyslexia are very likely to have children with dyslexia.
The short film below is funded by “Youth Voice, Youth Choice” and comes from a high school in West Berkshire, England. The students and faculty that produced it share a common call-to-arms with us this October—Dyslexia Awareness Month. Just as we do, the film aims to dispel the harmful misconceptions about dyslexia and celebrate the complicated, challenging gift it is to so many people around the world. Be a pillar of support and wisdom this October and share what you learn!
Tennessee Dyslexia Centers is here for you and can help your struggling reader. We are equipped to work with all ages and have the ability to increase your child's reading skills drastically. Contact our office for a free consultation today! 615-236-6483 | firstname.lastname@example.org