Common Myths

Myth: Reading and writing letters backwards is the main sign of dyslexia.

Fact: Some kids with dyslexia write letters or numbers backwards and some don’t. In fact, many young children without dyslexia commonly reverse letters or numbers. It’s not unusual to see them confuse b and d or write p instead of q. If your child is still doing so by the end of first grade, however, it may signal the need for an evaluation.

Myth: Dyslexia is a vision problem.

Fact: Vision problems don’t cause dyslexia. Kids with dyslexia are no more likely to have eye and vision problems than other kids. It’s true that some may have problems with visual perception, or visual processing. That means the brain has trouble recognizing details in images and processing what the eyes are seeing. Those challenges can make reading difficult, but they’re not a part of dyslexia.

Myth: Dyslexia doesn’t show up until elementary school.

Fact: Signs of dyslexia can show up in preschool, or even earlier. Dyslexia affects language skills that are essential for reading. Some signs that a preschooler may be at risk for dyslexia include difficulty rhyming and being a “late talker.” See more information on

Myth: Dyslexia is caused by not reading enough at home.

Fact: Reading at home and being exposed to reading is important for all kids. But dyslexia doesn’t happen because of a lack of exposure. It’s a neurological condition. People who don’t know your family may wrongly assume you’re not doing enough reading with your child. You may need to explain that dyslexia is caused by differences in how the brain functions.

Myth: Children with dyslexia are just lazy.  They should try harder.

Fact: Lack of awareness about the disorder among educators and parents has often resulted in the child being branded as “lazy.” What frequently happens is that these children learn that they are going to fail at tasks of reading, spelling, and writing; it becomes an attempt at self-preservation (i.e., rather than try and fail, it is safer to just not try or work laboriously to no avail). Research shows that people with dyslexia are not poorly taught, lazy, or stupid, but have an inborn brain difference that has nothing to do with intelligence. If students with dyslexia do not receive the right type of intervention and/or classroom accommodations, they often struggle in school — despite being bright, motivated, and spending hours on homework assignments. With good instruction and practice, kids with dyslexia can make lasting gains in reading.  There are a number of reading programs designed for struggling readers. Many use a multi-sensory approach. This type of instruction uses sight, sound and touch as pathways to learning.

Myth: Accommodations are a crutch, and the student for whom they are made will become lazy. 

Fact: Accommodations are not an advantage; it is an attempt to level the playing field. To paraphrase Richard Lavoie, “Fair doesn’t mean everyone gets the same thing; fair means everyone gets what he or she needs to be successful. Even with certain accommodations, such as extra time on a test, a slow reader will still feel the same time constraints compared to the ordinary reader.” (Sources:  and