This month we debunk the common myths about the neurodivergent condition, dyslexia, that you and your organisation need to know

Myth 1 – Dyslexia can go away when people grow up or learn to read!

It’s a frustrating myth for neurodivergent people that people believe they can grow out of their conditions. This also affects dyslexic people too as it is sometimes thought that they can just learn to read better or that it magically goes away when people become adults.

None of this is the case as it is a lifelong condition and there is no medication for it, unlike other neurodiverse conditions. Yet this myth persists, it may be, due to the stigma that people choose not to disclose as adults or ‘mask’ their traits. This is where neurodiverse people learn to mimic what others around them are doing and it can be exhausting.

Myth 2- Vision problems cause dyslexia

Vision problems are not the cause of dyslexia. Often, dyslexic people can have perfect eyesight. Some neurodivergent people will have more than one condition which may affect their vision separately.

Some but not all people with the condition may have difficulty with vision processing, making it hard to understand what they see in images or text.

Myth 3 – Dyslexia is very rare

It’s actually a lot more common than you think. The NHS estimates that one in ten people have some degree of the condition. Chances are, someone in your team at work or your group of friends may be dyslexic.

Myth 4 – Dyslexia is just about reading or writing

Dyslexia, like a lot of other neurodivergent conditions, can be complex and affect people differently. Reading and writing is just one area where people may have difficulties. People with dyslexia may also find it hard to follow sequences such as travel instructions. They may misremember steps in a sequence or confuse others. It may also impact their planning and organisational skills.

Myth 5 – Dyslexia is only diagnosed in children

There is no set age at which dyslexia is diagnosed. Some dyslexic people can go through school without having the signs of dyslexia spotted meaning they are only diagnosed as adults. Others may be diagnosed as children at school when they start to learn to read or write. It’s different for everyone but there is no age at which diagnoses are automatically detected!

Myth 6- There is only one type 

There are actually quite a few! The four main types are auditory, visual, rapid naming deficit and double deficit dyslexia. Auditory dyslexia refers to difficulty processing the sounds of individual letters and people are unable to connect them to their written forms. The visual type can mean that text appears blurred or goes in and out of focus. Text may also appear double or alternative between single and double.

Rapid naming deficit means people with this form cannot name colours, numbers or letters quickly. Double Deficit Dyslexia means difficulty with auditory processes and naming speeds.

Myth 7 – Dyslexia is part of autism

Not at all. Autism is a separate condition under the umbrella of neurodiversity. However, some dyslexic people can be autistic and vice versa but don’t assume that just because someone has one neurodivergent condition they have all of them.

Interested in more myth busters and would like to read more? 

Here are some links you might like to read:

Myth Busters – disabled people don’t, won’t and can’t have sex

Myth busters – Tinnitus