Dyslexia is frequently regarded as a stigmatizing label, and there are numerous misconceptions about this minor learning disorder. If you know someone who has dyslexia, you've probably heard some of these myths and stereotypes. So, to clear the air, here are 15 things to remember if you love someone who has dyslexia. Please forward this to anyone else who may be experiencing the same issue.
1. They are just as intelligent as the rest of us
Dyslexia is a minor difference in how the brain processes sounds, letters, and words that can lead to difficulties with reading, writing, and spelling. It's just that the brain of a dyslexic person is wired differently. Richard Ford and Albert Einstein are two inspiring examples of exceptionally gifted people who struggled with the same issue and yet made enormous contributions to knowledge, literature, and science. Dyslexia is not a criterion of intelligence.
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2. They must be discovered as soon as possible
The earlier you start, the better. If you've noticed that your child is having difficulty processing letters, sounds, spelling, reading, and possibly writing, it's time to get him or her tested. One of the tests used is the Woodcock-Johnson-Revised Test of Cognitive Ability. Edison's teacher had no idea what dyslexia was and sent him home with a note that said, “Too stupid to learn.” Dyslexic children can thrive and succeed with the right support. You'll be astounded by the list of famous people who had dyslexia.
3. They are in danger of slipping through the cracks
Unfortunately, many people who struggle with dyslexia simply give up because they are not sufficiently helped or encouraged. We are in danger of losing dyslexics, as evidenced by data from a UK prison. They conducted a survey of over 2,000 inmates at Chelmsford prison and discovered that 53% had dyslexia. When compared to the rate for the law-abiding population, which is around 10%, this is a staggering figure.
When Richard Branson's teacher remarked that he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire, he had a similar premonition!
4. They require more assistance at school
Children can overcome their difficulties with the right training and the use of special techniques. According to a UK survey, many dyslexic students become frustrated as a result of unhelpful comments from their teachers. For example, 83 percent were told simply to ‘try harder.' Worse, two-thirds were forced to read aloud in front of their classmates.
5. They most likely inherited this disability
Scientists have identified six genes that they believe are responsible for reading and spelling difficulties in children and adults. These are the genes that we all use to be aware of sounds, to have verbal memory, and to process words quickly. Most experts agree that this is a neurological disorder that is frequently inherited.
6. They struggle with letters, sounds, and spelling
From the age of three, you can tell if a child is dyslexic if they have difficulty matching alphabet sounds with the objects they can represent. One student, for example, was unable to identify a picture of an apple that represented the letter ‘A.' Other examples include words with multiple syllables being jumbled together, such as “pasghetti” instead of “spaghetti,” or animal being spelled “aminal.” They frequently misspell the word “said” as “seb.”
7. They can notice when something is out of place
A dyslexic person is often more adept at detecting anomalies in a problem, theory, or experiment. This ability is what has compelled dyslexic scientists to discover anomalies that have resulted in dazzling awards and prizes. Carole Greider (Nobel Prize in Medicine, 2009) is an excellent example, whose discovery of the telomerase enzyme has resulted in extraordinary advances in the study of aging and cancer. Carole began investigating a research area that was so far off the beaten path that it was almost off topic.
8. They can't be creative, and they're doomed to fail
This is the most common myth, because dyslexics have a lot going for them. They are not only intuitive and creative, but they are also excellent at hands-on learning and problem solving in three dimensions. These are all abilities that require far more than verbal skills, but our society has always valued reading speed. It's a shame that dyslexics' abilities aren't more widely recognized.
9. They can take dyslexia medication
There are no pills to swallow! Dyslexia has no cure or medical treatment. You can either manage to use coping mechanisms or you can drop out. Children can cope with their reading and spelling difficulties at school by using memory more frequently and substituting acronyms and nonsense words for words.
10. They require more encouragement and support
If your loved one has dyslexia and has missed out on school because it was not even recognized, you may want to offer assistance and support right away. They may still have difficulty recalling a name or a fact. Assist them in getting assessed if necessary, and then encourage them to get coaching to learn more coping strategies. They may require specific assistance with time management, planning, and relaying phone messages, for example.
11. They may require assistance in determining how they learn best
Supporting a loved one with dyslexia will entail investigating their learning style. They might benefit from receiving instructions via the auditory channel. Max Brooks, a dyslexic Hollywood screenwriter, was helped by his mother, who recorded all of the material he needed for learning on audiocassettes!
12. They frequently conceal their problems at work
Dyslexia is thought to affect between 10% and 15% of the US population. Despite this, dyslexia is frequently kept a closely guarded secret because people are afraid that disclosing it will jeopardize their career. Much is dependent on the employer's attitude toward the problem. If they are serious about assisting their employees in reaching their full potential, they will provide screening and support. The issue is that many businesses do not.
13. They may encounter difficulties in college
Because reading is inherently slow, dyslexic students find that using audio recordings is an excellent way to expedite their studies. If you need to download recordings of a wide range of literature and textbooks, as well as magazines, you might find the Learning Ally website useful. Voice recognition software can also be of great assistance when writing essays and assignments.
14. They read with a different part of their brain
When a neuroscientist's son was diagnosed with dyslexia, she sobbed because she realized how many challenges he would face in life. She has written a book about it called Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. She explains how the dyslexic brain must learn to juggle letters, sounds, and words in the phonological part of the brain, which is located on the right side of the brain. Non-dyslexic people use other areas, resulting in faster reading and writing. The dyslexic brain is wired differently than everyone else's, and it takes longer. Reading aloud to a child from a young age may provide them with an advantage.
15. They are at a disadvantage if they speak English
Part of the issue is that the letters in the English language can make a variety of sounds. Consider the letter “a.” It can make five distinct sounds, such as safe, apple, alive, acorn, and wash. Now, because the letter “a” in Spanish always has the same sound, there isn't nearly as much dyslexia among Spanish speakers or other languages with regular phonetic rules.
The best way to encourage a loved one is to encourage them to seek assessment, training, coaching, or other forms of support at school and at work, and to remind them that failure is frequently the path to success.
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