Dyslexia affects 5-17% of the population and is one of the most common causes of reading difficulties in elementary school children. Yet, only around 10% of dyslexic children receive an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to help them get the reading assistance they need; in part, the failure to properly help many children with dyslexia may stem from a number of dangerous popular myths:
Myth 1: “Smart” Kids Cannot be Dyslexic
There is no connection between intelligence and dyslexia. In fact, some of the smartest people ever to have lived – including Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison – struggled with reading at a young age and may have been dyslexic. Unfortunately, the myth of a correlation between IQ and reading difficulties means testing for dyslexia is often not considered for many bright students with reading difficulties.
Myth 2: Children Can “Grow Out Of” Dyslexia
With adequate intervention at the right age, many dyslexic children can be taught to read very well. However, this is a testament to the effectiveness of coping methods and does not mean they have “grown out of” dyslexia. Studies have shown problems with reading among dyslexics persist into adulthood – while the skills they learn can help dyslexics read accurately, it does not come naturally, and it’s likely they will need to read slowly. To passive observers, however, it may appear they have overcome dyslexia, possibly explaining the prevalence of this myth.
Myth 3: Schools Have Testing for Dyslexia in Place
Schools may run tests for learning disabilities to see if students require special education. However, there is no legal requirement for schools to screen specifically for dyslexia, and there is no dedicated federal funding allocated for it. Despite this, many parents, unfortunately, assume a school will run tests to identify whether their child is dyslexic. It’s therefore important for parents to seek independent testing if they think their child may have dyslexia.
Dr. Joshua Shifrin is a nationally-certified school psychologist. Based in New Jersey and providing services across New Jersey and New York, he specializes in pediatric neuropsychological evaluations, including dyslexia testing. You can also visit them on Twitter for more information.