October is Dyslexia Awareness Month and even though we are all suffering from Pandemic burn out it is still critical we raise awareness for those who have Dyslexia. I would like to start out of with what Dyslexia IS NOT and dispel some myths and false information that unfortunately a lot still believe and speak about as truth.
Myth #1: Reading and writing letters backwards is the main sign of dyslexia.
Fact: Some kids with dyslexia write letters backwards and some don’t. So, letter reversal isn’t necessarily a sign that your child has dyslexia.
In fact, young children commonly reverse letters. It’s not unusual to see them confuse b and d or write p instead of q. If your child is still doing so by the end of first grade, however, it may signal the need for an evaluation .
Myth #2: Dyslexia doesn’t show up until elementary school.
Fact: Signs of dyslexia can show up in preschool, or even earlier. That’s because dyslexia can affect language skills that are essential skills for reading. Some signs that a preschooler may be at risk for dyslexia include difficulty rhyming and being a “late talker.”
Myth #3: Kids with dyslexia just need to try harder to read.
Fact: Research shows that the brain functions differently in kids with dyslexia. It also shows that reading can actually change the brain over time, but effort has nothing to do with it. It’s the type of instruction that makes a difference, not how hard kids try. With good instruction and practice, kids with dyslexia can make lasting gains in reading.
There are a number of reading programs designed for struggling readers. Many use what’s called a multisensory approach also know as Orton Gillingham , and this type of instruction uses sight, sound and touch as pathways to learning.
Myth #4: Dyslexia is a vision problem.
Fact: Vision problems do not cause dyslexia. Kids with dyslexia are no more likely to have eye and vision problems than other kids. It’s true that some may have problems with visual perception, or visual processing. That means the brain has trouble recognizing details in images and processing what the eyes are seeing. Those challenges can make reading difficult. But they’re not a part of dyslexia.
Myth #5: Dyslexia is caused by not reading enough at home.
Fact: Reading at home and being exposed to reading is important for all kids, but dyslexia doesn’t happen because of a lack of exposure. It’s a neurological condition. People who don’t know your family may wrongly assume you’re not doing enough reading with your child. You may need to explain that dyslexia is caused by differences in how the brain functions.
Myth #6: Kids who don’t speak English can’t have dyslexia.
Fact: Dyslexia exists all over the world and in all languages, but it often takes longer to pick up on reading issues in kids who are bilingual than in their peers. That may be due to teachers and parents thinking these kids are struggling because they’re learning a new language.
However, if kids have trouble reading in their first language and their second language, it’s a good indication that they need to be evaluated. Watch as an expert talks about dyslexia in different languages.
Myth #7: Dyslexia goes away once kids learn to read.
Fact: Intervention makes a big difference in helping kids with dyslexia learn to read. But being able to read doesn’t mean they’re “cured.” Dyslexia is a lifelong learning difference that can affect more than just basic reading skills.
On top of making it hard to , dyslexia can make it difficult to read fluently. It can impact how well kids comprehend what they’ve read. Kids with dyslexia may also continue to struggle with spelling and writing even once they’ve learned to read.
- One in five students, or 15-20% of the population, has a language based learning disability. Dyslexia is the most common of the language based learning disabilities.
- Nearly the same percentage of males and females have dyslexia.
- Nearly the same percentage of people from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds have dyslexia.
- Percentages of children at risk for reading failure are much higher in high poverty, language-minority populations who attend ineffective schools.
- According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 38% of all fourth grade students are “below basic” reading skills. They are at or below the 40th percentile for their age group.
- Nationwide 20% of the elementary school population is struggling with reading.
- National Center for Education statistics, 5% of all adults are “non-literate”.
- 20-25% of all adults can only read at the lowest level.
- 62% of non readers dropped out of high school.
- 80% of children with an IEP have reading difficulty and 85% of those are Dyslexic.
- 30% of children with Dyslexia also have at least a mild form of AD/HD.
One statistic I do not see here is how many teachers are actually trained to identify the signs and symptoms of Dyslexia, but in my experience that number would be very low. I just do not understand with all the knowledge and resources out there why our bright, Dyslexic students have to struggle the way they do. There brains work differently and that should be celebrated not shamed. I want to use this space to provide you resources and links that could and hopefully benefit you on your journey.
Below are some resources that I hope help you:
Wrights Law – Special Education Law
Nessy – Help for Children with Dyslexia. Nessy programs are designed to help students of all abilities learn to read, write, spell and type, especially those who learn differently.