Surprising Facts About Dyslexia

There are a lot of misconceptions about dyslexia, a learning disability that the Child Mind Institute estimates to affect as many as one in five children. In addition, the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity estimates that 80% to 90% of children who struggle with learning disorders have dyslexia, many of whom often go undiagnosed.

Despite the prevalence of dyslexia, there are still a lot of myths people believe about the learning disorder. To help separate fact from fiction, we’re sharing some of the most surprising facts from expert resources to help ensure you’re informed with accurate information to help your child, teen or other loved one get the support they need.

FACT #1: Dyslexia isn’t about seeing letters backwards. 

Contrary to what you may have heard about “reversed letters,” dyslexia is most commonly about phonological struggles, that is, the ability to recognize and manipulate sounds in language. Many people with dyslexia have trouble decoding words by breaking them down into phonemes, making it hard to recognize, retrieve, read, write, and spell words. In addition to difficulties with phonological awareness, many people with dyslexia also struggle with verbal memory and verbal processing speed. 

FACT #2: Smart kids can have dyslexia. 

For many parents whose child or teen struggles with reading, there is a sense of “But I don’t understand! They’re really smart!” But the truth is that people with dyslexia don’t lack intelligence. In fact, many children do fine in school by simply putting in greater effort than their peers. But by third grade, when “learning to read” shifts to “reading to learn,” it often becomes much harder to compensate for a weakness in reading. 

FACT #3: Not all dyslexia has the same root cause.

Just because your child has a reading disorder or dyslexia doesn’t mean that gives you a clear path forward. There are many different types of dyslexia, and every individual’s root cause is going to be different. 

Like other learning disabilities, dyslexia is rooted in underperforming cognitive skills. These skills—which include attention, memory, auditory and visual processing, logic & reasoning, and processing speed—are the core skills our brains use to think, read, remember, reason, and pay attention. Working together, they take incoming information and move it to the bank of knowledge that we use every day at school, at work, and in life.

A Brain Skills Assessment can help identify which cognitive skills are already strong and which could benefit from training. The test, which takes only about an hour, measures individual cognitive skills, as well as overall cognitive performance. The results are often an “Aha!” moment for families, who finally get clarity on what might be holding their student back from living up to their full cognitive potential. 

FACT #4: Tutoring is not always the best approach to help with learning disabilities. 

Because tutoring is designed to redeliver information to students who missed it the first time, it’s a good fit for students who have missed a lot of classes due to an extended illness or family move, or if they’d simply benefit from reviewing class material. As a general rule of thumb, tutoring tends to work best when outside circumstances have interfered with the delivery of information. 

However, if your student has trouble paying attention, understanding what they’re being taught in school, or struggles just to get “average” grades consistently, there may be an underlying learning disability, such as dyslexia.  

Also known as one-on-one cognitive skills training, personal brain training focuses on strengthening core learning and thinking skills. Rather than simply repeating information from class, brain training can address the root cause of learning difficulties, improving cognitive skills to make it easier to understand, process, and remember what they learn. Using intense but fun game-like exercises, a personal trainer uses the results of a Brain Skills Assessment to determine which skills to target and strengthen. Beyond building faster, more efficient brains, these targeted sessions also help students of all ages become more confident, independent learners.

Want to get started with a Brain Skills Assessment to get a detailed look at your student’s cognitive profile? Find your nearest LearningRx Brain Training Center on and schedule an appointment today! There’s no obligation to enroll in a brain training program and you’ll have a better understanding of the root cause of your student’s learning difficulties. 

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