Q: Is dyslexia where people write letters and numbers backward?
A: No. It is typical in the early childhood years (pre-kindergarten through second grade) for children to reverse letters and sometimes numbers while learning to read and write. Letter and number reversals are not necessarily a sign of dyslexia; however, many people who are dyslexic tend to reverse letters and numbers beyond the early childhood years.
Many people with dyslexia have difficulty with rapid-letter naming, which is where a page full of random letters are printed, and the person tries to name the letters as quickly as possible. This type of activity is often one component of a screening for dyslexia.
Q: Is it a visual problem?
A: Dyslexia is a language-based problem. Primarily, it is a problem with phonological processing. I explain more about phonological awareness and phonological processing in a previous post.
Dyslexia is also a brain-based problem. At some point in the (hopefully near) future, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans may help identify dyslexic children at an early age.
A: Studies have shown that dyslexia persists into adulthood. Phonological awareness can be taught and reading interventions can be implemented via a multisensory approach, and while dyslexic readers can learn to read accurately, it may be at a slower rate and not with automaticity.
Q: Are people with dyslexia intellectually gifted?
A: Dyslexia can occur in people of all intelligence levels. Many people with dyslexia compensate by strengthening other skills such as interpersonal skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning.
Q: Are people with dyslexia lazy?
A: Not at all. A lack of motivation for reading and writing may be augmented in a person with dyslexia because it is such a struggle to read and write. If a task is very difficult, and one is not getting the tools one needs to build skills to conquer that task, then one would most likely get discouraged and not continue with the effort of completing that task.
Q: Are more boys than girls dyslexic?
A: According to Louisa Cook Moats and Karen E. Dakin (Basic Facts About Dyslexia), boys are affected somewhat more than girls, but not by an overwhelming amount. It may seem that many more boys than girls are dyslexic because boys are more likely than girls to misbehave in class, thereby getting the teacher’s attention. Unfortunately, girls who may be having difficulty reading are more likely to stay quiet.
Q: Does dyslexia run in families?
A: It does seem to be hereditary. Often, if a student is referred in school for reading issues, it is often asked in one or both parents has or had reading problems.
I hope this cleared up any confusion about dyslexia: what it is, and what it isn’t. If you have any other questions about it, feel free to ask it in the comments, or write me an email.