Question: How common is dyslexia? Answer: Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, affecting 5 to 17% of school-age children in the United States, 15 to 20% of the general population, and at least 80% of individuals with learning disabilities (Shaywitz & Shaywitz, 2003; Washburn et al., 2011).
Question: What causes dyslexia? Answer:Dyslexia is neurobiological in origin (Lyon et al., 2003). Dyslexia is NOT caused by the environment (home or school) that the child is living and learning in (Shaywitz & Shaywitz, 2003).
Question: Can parents or teachers cause children to become dyslexic? Answer:No. Dyslexia is not caused by teachers or parents. In fact, by definition, dyslexia and its associated reading difficulties cannot be a result of lack of proper reading instruction. That means that children with dyslexia have difficulty reading even though they have been provided with proper reading education (International Dyslexia Association, 2012).
Question: Is dyslexia caused by low intelligence? Answer:No, dyslexia is independent of IQ, meaning that it is not a result of low IQ (Tanaka et al., 2008).
Question: Can dyslexia be cured? Answer:No, dyslexia cannot be cured. According to the International Dyslexia Association Ontario Branch, dyslexia is an incurable condition that lasts throughout an individual’s life (International Dyslexia Association Ontario Branch, 2021).
Question: How is dyslexia diagnosed? Answer: Dyslexia is diagnosed by a psychologist after running a battery of tests. There is not one single assessment that can identify dyslexia (Shaywitz & Shaywitz, 2003).
Question: How can dyslexia affect children academically? Answer:A 2009 study found that school-age children with dyslexia were significantly more likely to display emotional, social, and behavioral problems than their typically-developing peers. These students were also shown to have low perceived levels of scholastic competence compared to their peers (Terras et al., 2009).
Question: What are the long term side effects of dyslexia? Answer:Students struggling to read are more likely than their peers to drop out of high school, become part of the school-to-prison pipeline, and later live in poverty (Hanford, 2017). Dyslexia also has both social and emotional consequences that can impact individuals throughout their lives (Terras et al., 2009). It follows that appropriate reading intervention for children who are struggling to read is critical to help provide better opportunities for these students to have brighter futures.
Question: If my child has dyslexia, can they still learn to read? Answer: Yes, given appropriate reading intervention, your child can learn to read successfully. Research shows that the earlier dyslexia is addressed, the better a child’s overall academic success (Siegel, 2006).
References Hanford, E. (Host). (2017, September 11). Hard to read: How American schools fail kids with dyslexia. [Audio podcast episode]. In APM Reports. https://www.apmreports.org/episode/2017/09/11/hard-to-read International Dyslexia Association. (2012). DSM-5 changes in diagnostic criteria for specific learning disabilities (SLD)1: What are the implications? https://dyslexiaida.org/dsm-5-changes-in-diagnostic-criteria-for-specific-learning-disabilities-sld1-what-are-the-implications/ International Dyslexia Association Ontario Branch. (2021). About dyslexia. https://www.idaontario.com/about-dyslexia/ Lyon, G., Shaywitz, S., & Shaywitz, B. (2003). A definition of dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia, 53(1), 1-14. Retrieved July 22, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23764731 Shaywitz, S., & Shaywitz, B. (2003). Dyslexia (Specific Reading Disability). Pediatrics in Review, 24(5), 147-152. DOI: 10.1542/pir.24-5-147 Siegel, L. (2006). Perspectives on dyslexia. Paediatr Child Health, 11(9), 581-587. Tanaka, H., Black, J.M., Hulme, C., Stanley, L.M., Kesler, S.R., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Reiss, A.L., Gabrieli, J.D.E., & Hoeft, F. (2011). The brain basis of the phonological deficit in dyslexia is independent of IQ. Psychological Science, 22, 1442-1451. Terras, M. M., Thompson, L. C., & Minnis, H. (2009). Dyslexia and Psycho-Social Functioning: An Exploratory Study of the Role of Self-Esteem and Understanding. Dyslexia, 15(4), 304–327. Washburn, E. K., Malatesha Joshi, R., & Binks Cantrell, E. (2011). Are preservice teachers prepared to teach struggling readers? The International Dyslexia Association, 61, 21-43. DOI: 10.1007/s11881-010-0040-y