Myths About Dyslexia

Posted by Jennifer on July 6, 2010  |   No Comments »

Myth: Dyslexia can be cured by completing a program or taking medication.

Fact: Individuals are born with dyslexia, it cannot be cured. However with proper instruction and hard work, individuals with dyslexia can lead successful and productive lives.

Myth: Dyslexia effects primarily boys.

Fact: Although more boys are formally tested for dyslexia, it effects boys and girls equally.

Myth: Dyslexia is a vision problem.

Fact: Eye defects, subtle or severe, do not cause an individual to experience reversal of letters, words, or numbers. Vision therapy and other controversial methods of treatment may give parents and teachers a false sense of security that a child’s reading difficulties are being addressed. This may delay proper instruction or remediation. (A statement made by the American Academy of Ophthalmology).

Myth: You can outgrow dyslexia.

Fact: Individuals with dyslexia can lean how to read and spell words with more accuracy. However, you cannot outgrow dyslexia. Symptoms may become more pronounced when individuals become ill or tired.

Myth: The hallmark of dyslexia is writing letters and numbers backwards (reversals)

Fact: The core deficit of dyslexia is difficulty in phonemic awareness, the ability to manipulate individual sounds in spoken words. Some people with dyslexia reverse letter and/or numbers but not all. Memorizing whole words by sight is also difficult however some bright children are able to do this.

Myth: Dyslexia is related to intelligence

Fact: Individuals with dyslexia have an average or above average IQ. People all over the world have dyslexia, it is a neurological condition that is genetic in nature and does not discriminate in regards to intelligence, economic status, race or gender.

Read the case study below on a boy named Adam and see if you notice some of these characteristics in your own child. (This is one of many case studies compiled by Anna Gillingham and Bessie Stillman, 1997 p. 5.)

“Adam’s parents were intrigued by their son’s early ability to construct intricate structures with blocks, milk cartons, and other materials. He was artistically talented as well as very verbal. They were convinced that they had a gifted child, whose joyful disposition brought them much pleasure.

When Adam entered school, he did not progress as rapidly as his peers. He had significant difficulty with letter recognition and handwriting. Eventually, with much effort, he did learn to read, but his ability to recognize sight words was weak. His written communication was labored and sentences were illegible at times, either because of bizarre spelling errors of poor handwriting. He moved on through the remaining grades with a very insecure feeling about himself as a learner. He knew that he was good at mathematics and was the first one chosen in gym when it came to team sports. He also knew that his teachers were always after him about messy papers, missed assignments, and unorganized notebooks. He frequently participated in class discussions and surprised teachers with his insightful comments and his ability to retain information. However, he continued to fail written examinations and did not complete assignments; consequently, Adam was failing many of his classed.

Finally, it became clear to Adam, his parents and his teachers that Adam was indeed a gifted boy. Psychological testing revealed that he had a superior IQ of 130. By reviewing the wide discrepancies between his strengths and weaknesses, the psychologist was able to explain why Adam struggled with some academic tasks, yet excelled at others. The psychologist thought this information would help alleviate the frustration everyone felt about Adam’s academic difficulties. He also hoped that Adam would begin to perceive himself as a capable person, despite being challenged by certain tasks. The boy was told that appropriate techniques could help address the skills with which he had trouble.

An educational plan was developed to try to meet his academic needs, which included daily remedial training sessions in handwriting, spelling, and organizational skills for written work (using a computer)”.

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