Reading Success Lab
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  Fact or Fiction

Fact or Fiction: Dyslexics See Some Letters Backwards

This is FICTION - This belief is a myth. The image dyslexics of seeing letters backwards is reinforced in popular movies and television programs, but it's simply not true.

Children with dyslexia typically score equal to non-dyslexic children in letter recognition. They easily recognize the letters in words. There are occasional students who do have letter recognition problems but these are rarely seen beyond the first grade. Where they struggle is in rapidly recognizing the meaning of a word.

 Fact Or Fiction: Reading Disorders Are Identical Between The Two Sexes?

This is FICTION – There is some debate about the true incidence of dyslexia between the sexes, but there is no debate about the fact that boys are formally diagnosed more frequently that girls.  In fact, the ratio of boys to girls diagnosed with dyslexia is about 3:1.  There is also a genetic component to dyslexia. A child is more likely to have a specific learning disability if a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or sibling also has a learning disability.

Fact Or Fiction: You Can Outgrow Dyslexia

This is FICTION – There is some evidence that early intervention can reduce the impact of having dyslexia on reading performance, but in general some difficulties in reading continue throughout life. Dyslexic readers can learn compensating skills that diminish the impact of the specific reading disability on reading performance.  They can also master a sight vocabulary in a domain so that they read in that domain as well as a normal reader.  However, when they have to read in a new domain the problems associated with dyslexia reappear. 

Fact Or Fiction: You Can Diagnose Dyslexia

This is FACT - You can diagnose dyslexia. However, before such a diagnosis can be made, other factors that can impact learning to read should be eliminated. These factors include low intelligence, physical disabilities such as poor vision or poor hearing, insufficient knowledge of language such as a reader whose native language is not English, and inadequate development of pre-reading skills.

It is often a good idea to start with your doctor, who will ask about your child's medical, developmental and family history and will perform a thorough physical examination to rule out physical causes, such as hearing or vision problems. He or she often also look for signs of other diagnoses (for example, motor-coordination disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety, chronic illnesses or thyroid disorders). 

Dyslexia is diagnosed in a variety of ways.  For more information about diagnosing dyslexia see the dyslexia info section of this website.

Fact Or Fiction: There No Such Thing As Dyslexia

This is FICTION - It is a myth that there is no such thing as dyslexia. Research shows dyslexia is very likely to have a biological basis. The evidence indicates that dyslexia is neurological and is not due to lack of effort, low intelligence, vision problems, or lack of education. While those factors certainly can impact reading skills, they are not a basis for a diagnosis of dyslexia.

Fact Or Fiction: Dyslexia is the Most Common Cause of Reading Problems

This is FICTION – The best estimates suggest that approximately 6% of students are likely to have dyslexia.  This contrasts to the 20% of our students who enter school at risk for developing a reading problem.  It's far more common for a young student to have reading problems due to factors other than dyslexia. These factors include low intelligence, attention deficits, physical disabilities such as poor vision or poor hearing, insufficient knowledge of language such as a reader whose native language is not English, and inadequate development of pre-reading skills.

Fact Or Fiction: Learning How to Sound out Words Assures that Dyslexics Will Read With Comprehension

This is FICTION - Reading with comprehension involves more than identifying words. It is very difficult to read with comprehension if you identify words slowly and with considerable effort. In order to read with comprehension you have to identify words fast enough so that you can accumulate a meaningful phrase before the first word you read fades from memory.

Sound based interventions (phonological awareness and phonics training) are sometimes successful, but can ultimately be harmful if continued for extended periods of time without signs of significant progress. The reason is that the student gets in the habit of sounding out the words they are reading. Conscious sounding out of words takes time and it makes it difficult for the student to get a meaningful unit in memory before the first words fade. This results in the student having to do a lot of re-reading, which makes reading very hard, and it makes comprehension difficult.


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