It is a common learning disorder
Dyslexia affects 5% - 15% of Americans (14.5 – 43.5 million) and around one in five students. Having dyslexia can make it harder to read and write, which impacts academic performance.
While this disorder is common, there are several myths surrounding it. We break down fact from fiction when it comes to understanding dyslexia.
What is dyslexia?
Let’s start with the basics and explain how dyslexia affects a child’s ability to learn.
“Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words…dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
It is a problem with how the brain recognizes and processes letters and numbers, which can make it harder to understand written words.
Signs of dyslexia
Dyslexia is generally discovered once children reach school age. Often it is teachers who notice a problem. Here are some common symptoms that could signal a child has dyslexia.
- Delayed speech
- Trouble forming words or mixing up words/sounds
- Trouble retaining information, especially numbers, letters, and colors
- Reading below grade level
- Struggles with writing or reading tasks
- Trouble processing information
- Trouble remembering sequences of information
- Trouble with the pronunciation of new words
- Avoiding activities that involve reading
Teens and adults:
- Struggles with reading aloud
- Slow reading and writing
- Frequent spelling issues
- Trouble pronouncing and remembering words
- Trouble learning a foreign language or with math problems
- Difficulty summarizing a story
Children with dyslexia might also confuse right and left. They may reverse numbers or letters or forget how to spell a word they just learned. You may notice speech problems, especially difficulty pronouncing words with multiple syllables.
Eight myths surrounding dyslexia
Myth #1: Dyslexia is related to intelligence
Dyslexia is not connected to intelligence in any way. Many children with dyslexia have high IQs and often go on to pursue any career they want. They can become scientists, teachers, politicians, actors, and even authors.
Myth #2: Dyslexia is related to vision.
As we explained briefly above, dyslexia is not a visual condition. A child could have 20/20 vision and still have dyslexia. The disorder is related to how to brain processes visual information, such as numbers and letters.
Myth #3: Reading or writing words backward means a child has dyslexia
It is not uncommon for young children to reverse or mix up letters when they are first learning to talk or write. Letters like b/d and p/q are frequently mixed up.
This does not necessarily mean a child has dyslexia. Generally, the problem goes away once he or she reaches school age. However, if the problem persists into first grade, it may be a sign of dyslexia.
Myth #4: Dyslexia goes away over time
Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for dyslexia. Children can be given tools so that they can read and write properly. They may become more proficient over time, but they will likely struggle on some level to decode or unscramble letters and numbers for the rest of their lives. Some adults with dyslexia say they struggle more with reading and writing when they are tired.
Myth #5: Dyslexia only affects English speakers
Dyslexia is common in all languages. The problem may take longer to identify in a bilingual child, however. Teachers or parents may think he or she is simply struggling to learn a new language. If a bilingual child struggles with learning both languages, that could be a sign of dyslexia.
Myth #6: Children with dyslexia cannot read
This is not entirely accurate. Children and adults with dyslexia can read, but they often struggle to identify letters and numbers or make frequent spelling errors. They may also have trouble reconstructing words (spelling) or using codes (letters).
Myth #7: You must catch dyslexia by age eight
There is no magical age after which a child with dyslexia cannot learn to read. In fact, teens and adults with undiagnosed dyslexia can be taught to read.
Myth #8: Children with dyslexia just need to try harder
Difficulty processing words has nothing to do with effort. “Trying harder” will not make the problem go away. This thinking is tied to a lack of understanding of dyslexia. These children are not lazy but may avoid reading because they are embarrassed or have been shamed in the past.
Tutoring at American Heritage School
Your child may need extra help to avoid falling behind due to Covid-19. The American Academy is offering a specialized Tutoring Program for Lower, Middle, and High School students.
Subject areas include:
- Foreign Language
- Physical Education
- Social Studies
Join The American Academy Program
Helping your child with dyslexia
The American Academy Program – a college preparatory school for students with mild learning differences - was created to help students who struggle with learning disorders, including dyslexia.
Our small classroom setting allows students to receive more individual attention. Together with experts and teachers, we can ensure that your child is taught methods that will help him or her do well in school.
We are now accepting applications for the 2021-22 school year. Please reach out to Alexandra Rollins with any questions you may have.