7 common myths about dyslexia

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning challenges in the world. Despite being prevalent amongst adults and children, there are many myths that still surround dyslexia. These misconceptions are often rooted in outdated ideas or a lack of true understanding.

If we want to dispel stereotypes caused by these myths, we need to understand what it's really like for individuals who have dyslexia. This is also a crucial part of creating supportive and inclusive environments, in both education and the workplace

Let's debunk seven common myths surrounding dyslexia and help pave the way for a more inclusive future.

Myth 1: People with dyslexia see words differently

Fact: Dyslexia doesn't change how words look, but it impacts reading and processing.

We might ask, what do people with dyslexia see? But this isn't the right question to focus on because dyslexia is not a vision problem. People with dyslexia see words just as anyone else. The difference is how people with dyslexia process and decode those words in their brains.

Myth 2: People with dyslexia can’t read

Fact: People with dyslexia can read, but it often takes a little more effort compared to their classmates or colleagues. 

Another common misconception is that people with dyslexia can’t read. Reading with dyslexia is possible, and people with dyslexia can become very accurate readers. However, some people may never become fast or fluent readers. That’s why it's important that we offer the right accommodations. As Dr Sally Shaywitz puts it: “Dyslexia robs a person of time; accommodations return it.”

Myth 3: People with dyslexia are lazy and just aren’t trying enough 

Fact: People with dyslexia work VERY hard to overcome a learning challenges that have nothing to do with their level of intelligence or laziness. 

Dyslexia and its effects are not the result of laziness. Instead, people with dyslexia often work extra hard to try and keep up with their peers. As a result, it’s likely they sometimes find themselves exhausted. Reading one paragraph might take up all their energy, and they may not have much energy left for the tasks that follow. This is how people with dyslexia experience the world. Therefore,, providing inclusive support that makes reading and writing more accessible and less frustrating, is crucial.

Myth 4: People with dyslexia will never be successful 

Fact: Dyslexia does not determine someone’s ability to succeed.

There are many successful people with dyslexia, including entrepreneurs, scientists and artists. In fact, many see dyslexia as a key part of their success. People with dyslexia can have many strengths, like creativity, out-the-box-thinking and strong visual skills. It’s critical that we embrace these unique strengths and create inclusive environments where they can thrive and grow. 

Myth 5: People with dyslexia can have behavioral problems 

Fact: Dyslexia is a learning difference, not a behavioural issue or emotional disorder.

Research shows that dyslexia is caused by biological factors rather than emotional issues. However, the frustrating nature of dyslexia can still lead to emotions like anger, anxiety and low self-esteem for some people. This is particularly likely in environments that aren’t inclusive or don't offer the right supports. It’s important the we avoid confronting certain behaviors with words like ‘lazy’, and instead, focus on how we can help people to process negative emotions. 

Myth 6: People with dyslexia have poor handwriting 

Fact: Dyslexia primarily affects reading and writing skills, not handwriting. 

Another common dyslexia myth is that dyslexia causes bad handwriting.  Although some people with dyslexia may experience difficulties with handwriting, it isn't typically a defining characteristic. Writing in particular, is something that people with dyslexia can’t hide if they’re trying to mask their dyslexia. This means untidy handwriting shouldn’t be put down to a lack of trying or messiness. Instead, we should consider what strategies we can use to help our students or employees with this obstacle. 

Myth 7: People with dyslexia are unreliable and might not show up to class or work.

Fact: People with dyslexia are just as reliable as their classmates or colleagues.

Again, it’s important not to attribute negative behavior to a lack of trying or laziness. If a person with dyslexia is struggling to turn up to class or work, it’s not because they’re unreliable. It’s likely it’s because their environment doesn’t meet the needs of neurodivergent people, like those with dyslexia. This means it’s essential to build a culture of inclusivity where people with dyslexia can feel welcomed and supported. 

Assistive technology for people with dyslexia 

One key way we can support people with dyslexia is by providing powerful, inclusive technology.

Texthelp supports people in every stage of their learning and development journey. This includes both education and the workplace, because learning needs don’t stop when someone leaves school.

Supporting students with dyslexia

Every student brings unique strengths and challenges to the classroom. One such challenge that many students face is dyslexia. But with the right tools, the classroom can be a level playing field where every student, including those with dyslexia, can reach their full potential.

Read&Write helps to remove barriers to learning and provides the right accommodations so that students with dyslexia can be measured by their ability

Supporting employees with dyslexia

People with dyslexia don’t stop requiring extra support when they leave education. It’s vital that we also equip the workplace with the right tools and accommodations.

Read&Write’s features support dyslexic employees to overcome barriers that the digital workplace can bring. Its features allow them to understand more and work in their own way.