5 Harmful Misperceptions About Dyslexia—Spread the Word!

I have the best readers! And I love it when you share your experiences. So many of us with dyslexia have not felt heard or understood until very recently, with the influx of new data about our condition, and it’s so life-affirming to hear your stories. Please keep ’em coming! One of my goals with this blog is to promote dyslexia awareness because despite new research about the condition, so many misconceptions and inaccurate beliefs are still rampant. In this blog, I will focus on 5 harmful misperceptions about dyslexia.

Why is it important to set the record straight?

Because dyslexia is not something that can be “cured” or reversed by any means: diet, exercises, medication, herbs, or talk therapy. So when a caring reader shares an experience based on something that seemed to “fix” their loved one, I always want to redirect the conversation to firmer ground in a kind way.

It’s very important to make sure that parents whose kids have true dyslexia have realistic expectations for their loved ones and the resources to understand the full scope of their children’s needs.

How disheartening it would be for a dyslexic child who had faithfully followed some form of “treatment” if a parent or teacher showed disappointment or frustration because the child’s dyslexia did not “resolve.” The last thing dyslexic kids need is more shame.

A black and white photo of a father chastising his son, who looks very distressed. One of the most harmful misperceptions about dyslexia is that dyslexia can be outgrown.

Earlier a kind reader sent in her child’s experience with doing some kinesthetic exercises to help integrate both sides of his brain. There are lots of tried-and-true left/right brain integration exercises like the one her son benefitted from, and they can be quite effective for a number of situations. In this child’s case, he had been reversing some of his letters when writing, and so was thought to be dyslexic. After the exercises, though, his issues happily resolved. While I’m certainly delighted that her child no longer struggles to write, can all parents of struggling readers/writers expect similar outcomes?

No. And this is where the need to explain harmful misperceptions about dyslexia arises.

Misperception #1: “All kids who reverse their b’s and d’s have dyslexia.” Actually that is not the case; science has proven otherwise. Please refer to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity if you’d like to know more. Personally, I have trained myself to overcome letter reversal in my printing, (I can’t write cursive) but I am still quite dyslexic, and have all its other complications, I assure you! In addition, not all dyslexics reverse similarly-shaped letters.

Therefore, kinesthetic exercises or other techniques which can potentially help some struggling students to strengthen left/right brain activity will not remedy dyslexia.

It is also not a dietary problem. No amount of bone broth, medicinal herbs, green juices, or other wholesome foods will reverse dyslexia. While I eat an unprocessed diet with plenty of plant foods, and encourage others to do the same, it’s not because of believing that food impacts dyslexia.

Misperception #2: “Dyslexia can be outgrown.” Nope. Kids with dyslexia are not developmentally delayed, nor is the problem temporary. Dyslexia is a life-long difference in the way the brain processes information.

A boy about eight years old sits at a table trying to do homework, while his mother and father appear to remonstrate with him to work harder. One of the most harmful misperceptions about dyslexia is that a child with dyslexia is just "lazy."

Misperception #3: “Dyslexia is really about social anxiety or lack of maturity.” Not a chance. Having a student repeat a grade and teaching him/her the very same way will not improve the student’s skills. Social maturity will not improve the student’s ability to read. Like many of you, I repeated first grade, which left me even more behind and plagued with lower self-esteem than ever.

Misperception #4: “People with dyslexia see things backwards, therefore dyslexia is a vision problem.” No, people with dyslexia do not “see” things backwards; our brains process language information differently. Vision therapy does not improve dyslexia.

Misperception #5: “Kids with dyslexia are lazy. They just need to try harder.” This is one of the most poisonous. To decide that dyslexic kids have character issues, or aren’t motivated enough to do good work is profoundly harmful. Lack of awareness about the disorder among educators and parents has often resulted in kids being branded as “lazy.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. Instead, the findings of fMRI studies provide evidence 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. In almost all cases, kids with dyslexia are actually working much harder than their peers, and should be acknowledged for doing so

Thank you for reading about these five harmful misperceptions about dyslexia. What mistaken beliefs have you come across in your discussions about dyslexia? I’d love to hear from you.

For a thorough discussion of the social and emotional support children with dyslexia require, read my award-winning book, Raising a Child with Dyslexia: What Every Parent Needs to Know, available in softcover, hardcover, eBook, and audio.

Cardboard Box Adventures picture books are great for shared reading and can help parents establish a strong preliteracy foundation for their children. Check out the CBA Catalog for a full list of award-winning picture books, chapter books, and resources for parents and educators. Visit my Don M. Winn Amazon author page for more information.

If you’re looking for books or a series that helps reluctant readers, take a peek at the award-winning Sir Kaye series published by Cardboard Box Adventures Publishing.


  1. Michelle says:

    I am a 34 year old teacher and have dyslexia. As dose my eldest son as a child the worst experience (of many) I had with a teacher was my second year junior school teacher who believed it would “stop me being g lazy” to get the entire class to count down alow a time limit he had set for me to complete a written piece of work. When it did not have the desired effect I was told clearly in class that if I was going to continue to be lazy I was not allowed to go out at brake any more.
    This was typical of my time in education and part of why I wanted to teach to ensure that my Lerner would at least be treated with the respect they deserve.

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Hi Michelle! Thank you for writing in. Your experience is a perfect example of why I blog about these issues: Shaming us through peer pressure or with name calling or labeling does not improve educational performance in dyslexics. And that’s the case precisely because it’s not a character issue, not a developmental issue, and not a motivational issue, but rather a processing issue. We will always need more time to process than non-dyslexics. No force from an outside source will ever change that.
      As a teacher you are now in a position to touch the lives of your struggling readers in a way that will preclude such painful memories-keep up the great work!

      Kind regards,

  2. Helen Mulligan says:

    Hi Don,

    It’s great to find websites like this that build awareness and provide new coping strategies. I’m 38 now and have never been officially diagnosed. In fact I’ve only just started to be honest to employers and colleagues about it as I felt so ashamed. It was my ‘guilty secret’. At school, my work was littered with ‘could try harder’ and ‘careless mistakes’. But after changing schools and working hard I made it to University and even passed with a 2:2! I’ve been working in the publishing industry for the last 15 years in marketing and regularly write copy and press releases – even tweeting live at events (My strategy is to write down the keywords, rearrange them, then after triple checking actually tweet it). I still believe though that if I’d been honest about my condition at interview I wouldn’t have got the jobs I did… I’m now on the cusp of a career change and re-training to become a garden designer. I feel my dyslexia aids my creativity and helps me to come up with ideas others wouldn’t think of. Learning the plant names in Latin is certainly the biggest challenge but I’m not giving up. If we can educate people about dyslexia then we can prevent the shame and lack of self confidence most of us experienced when we grew up.


    Ps. I edited and corrected this post at least 4 times before submitting 😉

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Hi Helen, thanks for sharing your story! Oh, how I can relate to having to check things multiple times before posting! I also like your twitter strategy.

      So many adults are in a similar situation to the one you describe: burdened by the shame and baggage of struggles in school, college, and workplace, yet remaining undiagnosed. This touches another purpose of my blog: to get the word out and raise awareness for all those out there leading lives of quiet desperation.

      I’m glad you appreciate the blog, and wish you well in your career change. I hope you will find, as I have, that in the creative workplace, dyslexia is a strength, not a liability! Keep working on those Latin names-they’ll be second nature soon.

      All the best,

  3. Both my daughters have dyslexia…… they are intelligent, bright, funny and hard working….. the best thing they have had is teachers who have told them that their dyslexic traits are their biggest strengths! They have to work 5 times as hard to be at the same level as other kids – but they do it, over and again……. and their problem solving / thinking outside the box and creativity is through the roof. I wish I had half their processing abilities…. I wish other people understood that just because they process things differently doesn’t make it bad.

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Hi Melanie. You make such a good point: dyslexia can be a strength-we are creative, outside-the-box thinkers. But the experience your daughters have had is a rare one. I am delighted they have had such special visionary teachers in their lives. By educating folks on dyslexia, teaching methods, early detection, and more, we can hope for a time when their experience is the rule rather than the exception.


  4. Starla Murrell says:

    Thank you for your blog….I’m so glad to see so much more information available. I wish we had known more 20 years ago.

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Thanks Starla, I feel the same way. We can however make a difference now.

  5. amy says:

    Hi I’m dyslexic and when I hear people say school was the best years of my life I shudder, mine was filled with shame, humiliation, and constant self doubt. It has taken me many years to beat off that feeling, and have confidence in myself for being a dyslexic. I am happy to see and hear more people talking about this subject but I do not feel things have moved on very far. Still very hard to get a child tested, doctors say its a school matter and school say it’s a doctor’s matter. As you say there are still the misconceptions of being lazy, backwards,or stupid or even needs to try harder. You have no idea how hard it is to do most tasks. Very exhausting. And then on top of that you have to deal with ignorance.
    Sorry for the rant.

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Hi Amy. Boy, do I feel your pain. I had a similar experience as a young person. It sounds like you’ve made some great, hard-won progress in developing your sense of self apart from those early feelings of shame. Great work!
      And you’re so right: only a fellow dyslexic knows how tremendously hard we have to work to do things that seem effortless for so many. I would love for you to read an earlier blog I wrote, “Dyslexia: When it’s as Good as it Gets” link here. https://cardboardboxadventures.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/dyslexia-when-its-as-good-as-it-gets/
      That is about coming to terms with the complex feelings we all can have around the struggles we dyslexics endure. I’d love to hear back from you after you’ve considered the material.
      You’re also right that things have not moved very far. Yet. But we are working to change that, and to offer solid resource material for parents of dyslexic kids, and for adults who are just recognizing their condition. Together, all of us can raise awareness and eradicate the ignorance of which you spoke.
      Kind regards,

      1. Amy says:

        I’ve just read the article and to be honest I have not dealt with my issues as well as I thought, I made me cry reading as brings back same feelings. But I agree with it all. I found coping with being dyslexic through humour, I would make fun of myself so nobody could say anything I had not said about myself. It has also brought some very good skills out in myself I’m very good at talking to people, i make people feel comfortable about themselves, And I’m very creative. So i can’t spell and numbers you can forget it. But as you say I does not stop me from being a good person, yes sure it’s not the way i would of wanted my life to be there are a few jobs i would of loved to do but I felt to stupid to even attempt to go for. But as I’ve got older I realised I’ve made some great achievements, I got in to the London college of fashion on my interview alone ( grades had to be A,B,C my grades was d, e , f, u. ) I completed a 3 year course and passed when I was told I would never pass. I also ran public houses and was in charge of cashing up at night, what should of been a 30 minute job would some times take me up to 2 hours. , i ran quite night’s with me reading the questions aloud, all these things gave me the confidence to accept myself for who I am. As a child I hid my dyslexia but now i will tell people and I’m not ashamed any more.
        As a child I found it easier to read with coloured perspeck. As an adult I never read my first book until I was in my mind 30 . Now enjoy reading. Writing I use predictive text. I always hated it at school when they told you to use a dictionary, I would think I would use a dictionary if I new what the first letter was.
        I would love to help more but I don’t no where to start.

      2. Don M. Winn says:

        Good to hear from you Amy! I’m so pleased you read the article. Thank you.

        And you get right to the crux of the matter: none of us would have chosen this path of having dyslexia if we had had a choice. We may not have wanted this life, especially when we are in the mode of self-hatred and low self esteem, but we are not being forced to stay in that mode. We can learn to love ourselves, as we are. We can learn to meet each reading, writing, and math goof with self compassion.

        We can say, “There goes my brain again. But this wouldn’t be happening unless I was really working hard to do something meaningful. If I was at home giving up, settling for no life at all, shut away from people, afraid to put myself out there, I wouldn’t be having this struggle, but I wouldn’t have the chance for any joy either. Trying to avoid risk and pain mean avoiding opportunities for joy and accomplishment. I choose to keep putting myself out there, risking pain and struggle, because that’s what’s going to give me my best life.”

        Here’s the key: Instead of feeling anger, shame, or resentment when we struggle to get things done, meet ourselves with compassion. Instead of allowing negative inner dialog, learn how to talk to ourselves in story form to turn things around and free up our energy for creative pursuits and meaningful relationships.

        I highly recommend http://brenebrown.com/.
        She has tons of videos on her site, and all of her magnificent works are available in audiobook form, bless her. Right on the opening page, about halfway down, is the video, “Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted.” That’s a great place to start. It’ll give you a feel for what this work on self is like, and a feel for the kind of help that’s available from her books. “Rising Strong” is her latest, and like all the others, it’s beautiful and speaks to the soul. As she says, “If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fail.” But we can learn to get back up.

        Please keep in touch. You have already accomplished so much-you are already a success. And you can take yourself to the next level.


  6. Karen Egan says:

    I’m dyslexic and my 9 year old has just been tested and also has it tho he is a whizz when it comes to maths. When I was at school I was in my last year at primary school (uk) when they told my mum and dad there may be a problem there but left it. It wasn’t until the 3rd year of secondary school that I was tested but in the years before I was make to feel like I was thick I was in the bottom groups for everything and I would get so upset because I just couldn’t do it. Once tested I got all the help and managed to get 5 GCSEs. I’m now a chef/cake maker but still find things hard.

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Hi Karen, thanks for your reply. Your story is like so many of us, full of feelings of frustration, sadness, inadequacy, and lack of self-worth. But we can learn to manage with new tools available to us, and come to terms with the way things are. Doing so frees up so much energy for other things! I’m grateful that you discovered a creative job to play to your strengths. Most of us with dyslexia find that we have a very creative, imaginative, colorful side that begs to come out and play. Slogging away at a desk is torture by comparison.
      I am also grateful that your 9 year old has you for a Mom. Who better to guide and support him as he discovers his strengths and challenges than someone who walks that walk daily? Parents of dyslexic kids who do not have it themselves only have an academic, abstract idea of what their kids are going through. It’s completely unrelatable to them, though they certainly have compassion for their child and offer support. But you will be able to read the subtle signs of frustration or emotional distress much more easily in your son, and be there to support him with your own experience and success. He is blessed to have you for his parent.
      All the best,

  7. Lori says:

    I love this article. I am a dyslexic pre-k teacher. Two things. Every time a parent asks if their child is dyslexic because they write letters backwards, I mentally do a facepalm. Second I think that I am a better teacher because I’m dyslexic. I am constantly trying new things to help children who don’t learn the cookie cutter way.

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Lori, that’s what it takes to help these kids: constant experimentation until communication occurs. Great work!

  8. linda says:

    Is there any help for adults with dyslexia?

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Linda, there are several options.

      One great resource for dyslexics, which even offers the option of listening to the website is http://headstrongnation.org/

      Another is a state-by-state guide to testing, support groups, resource libraries, and networking here: http://ldaamerica.org/support/state-local-affiliates/

      If you’re in the UK: http://www.dyslexic.org.uk/about-dyslexia/where-can-adult-get-tested-dyslexia

      All the best to you,

  9. Douglas Sanders says:

    Very helpful to parents with dyslexia
    Buts let’s talk about the benefits as well . I am 48 and at the age of 13 after suffering the humiliation of being treated as backwards dew to my reading and writing it was found I had dislexsia. I was top in my year for practical work IE metal work , wood work and art but failed dew to my written work. No problem as far as I could see I could make and solve problems embracing my Dislexia I went on my own way and became self employed working outside the system that did not work for me
    I will list my accomplishments not for praise but as an example.
    At 17 I was the youngest master thatcher in the UK
    At the age of 23 I worked out how to make baskets and ended up making for the Royal family, Rolls Royce and Bentaly cars, the Rits hotel London
    After that I trained and became a mater practitioner of Hypnothrepy and NLP helping from phobias to rape victims.
    Now I work by myself designing and building custom motorcycles and very happy to because I always played to my strengths and I feel without Dislexia I would have never been able to accomplish these things

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Douglas, thanks for your contribution to the discussion. Congratulations on your success!

      The purpose of this particular blog article was to focus on clarifying the misperceptions around dyslexia. I have written numerous times about the fact that dyslexia can be a strength in a number of situations. And people need to hear that as well. But before dyslexia can be used as a strength, we have to get these kids through school with their identity and psyche intact, so they can discover their particular learning style and find success in adulthood, as you have done so wonderfully.
      Thanks for your readership! And if I ever want a custom motorcycle I’ll know who to call!
      Kind regards,

  10. Rachel Foster says:

    Hi there I’m a dyslexic and I’m a teaching assistant in a secondary school, I knew I was dyslexic but my school days I hated I can always remember a teacher telling me I was thick and would always be think, funny how that stuck.. I was tested some years ago at the age of 45 and in someways it was lovely to be told the truth. I understand the children in school and feel there pain when they try so hard. I always think different and I’m worried what people think of my work I still write things over and over. But I’m proud to admit I’m a suffer and well done everyone who has written on here, does not mean we are no good or slow or think, just we learn a little different…

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Hi Rachel. I’m so glad you’re in the classroom, where your personal experience can be of the most help to today’s students! You’re so right: those early labels (being thick, etc.) really do stick, and it can become a lifelong fight to begin to have some compassion for ourselves and define ourselves in more positive ways. As you say, we are different, not thick, lazy, or unmotivated.
      Your students are blessed to have someone in their corner who understands and can advocate for them. Keep up the good work!

  11. Sharon Roach says:

    My name is Sharon Roach i.m dislexic i.v struggled all my life.am now in my 50.s .when i was young i didnot get the help i needed .but i learnt how to deal with things in a differant way .and i do agree we just need to be taught in a better understanding way .we not silly or lazy .we are clever but need support to get us to be the bestest for ourselves and in return .to help others .i just wished i had been given the support when i was younger .if i had i would of been a millionare by now and still could be .because i.v been a artist forever and still have all my art work .but it has also been my therapy in my time of need after suffering a stroke .so its been a stuggle all over again to learn to adapt but i.m doing ok still doing my art .there are lots more to dislexia and if you.d like to know more about my life ……

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      HI Sharon. Thanks for reading and for reaching out. There are so many ‘if only’ stories out there among us dyslexics. Looking back is not nearly as empowering as looking forward, since we can do nothing to change the past. But we can tell our stories and help today’s youth and undiagnosed adults find their way in a world that is not a good fit for us.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your stroke. One of the most encouraging things to consider during your recovery is an audiobook by Dr Norman Doidge called, “The Brain That Changes Itself”. My wife recommends this book to her clients all the time as one of the most encouraging reads ever about brain injury and recovery.

      What kind of art do you do? Art is so therapeutic, as is music. The dyslexic brain responds well to both, and frequently, to movement/exercise as well. I encourage you to keep moving, though it must be very difficult after your stroke.

      All the best in your recovery,

  12. Helena says:

    Hi Don,

    I’m so glad to have read your article. It sums up the most harmful misconceptions well. I think I people misjudge dyslexia really hurt me growing up :-/

    When I was in school my mum spent the whole time campaigning for me to have sufficient help and assessment. Despite that, and I thinkly mostly due to the bias of my primary school head of learning support, I wasn’t diagnosed with ‘unspecified learning disability’ until I was 14, later dyslexia until I was 18 and Meares-Irlen syndrome at 19. I consider dyslexia and dyspraxia a part of my identity.

    My teachers seemed to love me or hate me as a student – they saw my intelligence or my LDs but rarely both. This made me feel like my very sense of identity couldn’t/didn’t/shouldn’t exist. In school, I was very quiet and obedient and spent so long trying to finish my homework every night I developed chronic insomnia for years. I ended up severely depressed during two of my college years.

    I tried to go to university because there is so much pressure to nowadays, but recently dropped out so I can work how to study well without all the pressure to learn faster than is good for my physical or mental health. I wish my university had a safe haven of somesort like a society where I could have met/talked to other dyslexics, but it didn’t…


    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Hi Helena, thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. It sounds like you had quite a lot to endure before you finally got an accurate diagnosis. It’s always so much more difficult when one must go through their entire schooling experience without understanding what’s really going on.

      It’s interesting to me that you find ‘dyslexia and dyspraxia part of’ your identity. That they are, but they don’t define you. We are each so much more than our dysfunctions….It’s not uncommon for those of us dealing with dyslexia and or dyspraxia to have a very shaky sense of self, relying almost wholly on outside opinion. And as you noted, every teacher sends out a different signal about our worth, whether we are a ‘good’ student or a ‘bad’ one. And to a child, anyone who is a bad student must be a bad person overall, right? Of course as logical adults, we come to see the fallacy of this kind of thinking, but the damage has been done, and it’s hard work to undo it. Hard, but not impossible, and oh-so worth doing.

      You too can craft your best life, one which plays to your strengths. Look around on http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/ for some ideas to help with your educational selections. They can help with advocacy, I understand.

      I wish you all the best, and hope to hear from you again.

  13. Nicola Riley says:

    I agree. I have five boys and the fifth child struggled to read all the way through school. As my third boy had also struggled a lot with reading and writing, I could see he had a problem but as he scraped through all exams, I didn’t think I needed to seek help. However whilst he was in college at about 16 years old the lecturers referred him for diagnostic tests for Dyslexia- they were positive. From then on he received help and was able to write all of his work on a computer and have it checked (for grammar and spelling only)before it was submitted . He went on to manage a Uni course and pass!. He had a dip in confidence when he moved to Germany to look for work two years ago but is now is now 25 and manages work well . He also recently completed a junior management course despite the small problem of Dyslexia! Patience and encouragement helped and overall don’t panic. There will be a way through, it just needs finding.

    Nicola . South Wales

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Nicola, what lovely advice! As you say, it’s important not to panic, but with patience and encouragement, these special kids can all find their way in this world. So glad your son got the help he needed, and believes in himself enough to go outside his comfort zone. It’s the only way to grow. Thanks for reading and sharing,

  14. Emma says:

    I am so pleased I have found you blog. I have dyslexia and have found it so hard all my life, but having dyslexic I think is a blessing (well for me) it has forced me to work hard and be creative. When I was 10 I was told that I wouldn’t be able to get any GCSEs but I came out with 8 and an A* in are the D*D*D in BTEC art, now I am at university. being told I couldn’t do it really motivated me to prove them that I could do it.

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Hi Emma. You’re so right: many of us set our jaw and firmly proceed to prove all the naysayers wrong. There’s a certain grim satisfaction in succeeding in the face of those who didn’t believe in us. Working hard and being creative are the way through this challenge. Keep up the good work! Thanks for reading and writing in,

  15. Kirstie says:

    Hi Don,

    I just wanted to thank you for this article as I found it to be a very interesting read.
    I am a second year nursing student and I have been struggling a great deal this year with my work. I think it’s mainly because time is so short and strict with assignments this year, I feel as if I need a bit extra to help me get through.
    I have serious issues with expressing myself verbally as I always forget words when attempting to describe something, especially if it is how I am feeling and it takes me too long to think of the word. The other thing is I have huge problems with understanding what I have just read. This is especially difficult when taking exams which means that I usually am struggling to meet the time limit. Also, with our course work, we tend to get PowerPoints that we are supposed to read before class but I never do because I won’t learn anything until it is read out to me. When speaking verbally I also usually end up saying things backwards which frustrates me even more. Additionally, I tend to get my ‘d’s and ‘b’s backwards when writing but it doesn’t happen very often, usually when I am not thinking about it.

    I haven’t actually been diagnosed however I have been trying to get a test for dyslexia at my university which hopefully I can do soon.

    I find the most frustrating part is I feel as if I have been working SO much harder than everyone else in my class but I still continue to struggle with my comprehension and it takes me a lot longer to get on the same levels as everyone else.

    I had never really thought about the possibility of being dyslexic until this year because I have always been a great reader and speller. My mum taught me very well and I love to read and have done since a very young age. When I informed my mum about having learning difficulties this year and that I think I might be dyslexic, she said that I did struggle a lot as a child when she was teaching me to read and write and I was often slow in some particular areas. She was a wonderful teacher though and kept at helping me everyday to train my brain to overcome these challenges.

    In your area of expertise, would you think that the issues I struggle with can be a form of dyslexia?

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Hi Kirstie. Thanks for reading and for writing in! Your symptoms are typical in some ways and not in others. For example it is very unusual for someone with dyslexia to write so well, and spell so well. (I have staff and my wife who help me proofread things before they get sent out). That part is atypical. However, all your other symptoms fit, and must be greatly frustrating. It must be particularly difficult to have things to say and have difficulty getting them expressed! I feel for you.

      Here’s a self-check test to get you started:

      I think your best bet is to look around this site http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/ and take advantage of their testing, services, and advocacy.

      All the best to you in your nursing degree and career! Please keep me posted. I’m curious about what an expert tester will have to say about your experience!


  16. Jessica Riggs says:

    I don’t agree with the realistic expectations sentence, I am dyslexic and I have just completed my degree and gained a 2.1 like many of my friends who are not dyslexic. Children should not have lower expectations for themselves and neither should their parents they can achieve just as much as anyone else. Also with the lazy misconseption I agree that the children should not be labeled as lazy but a child should not use dyslexia as a excuse either e.g. I can’t do that because I am dyslexic that is laziness. Finally is Dyslexia really something that you are born with because I was only diagnosed after my brain surgery so is it possiable that I developed dyslexia as a result of my operations?

    Many thanks

    1. Don M. Winn says:

      Hi Jessica. Thanks for your contribution to the discussion! Congratulations on your academic achievements!

      I completely agree that dyslexia should not be used as an excuse to under-achieve, or ‘settle’ for a less than an excellent life. Life is, after all, about learning, understanding, and doing our best, and making meaningful connections with the world and people around us. None of those things happen when we shut down, check out, or feel sorry for ourselves.

      The realistic expectations part comes in when people with dyslexia realize and accept that we will have to work so much harder than non-dyslexics to achieve those goals. Reading will never be automatic, nor will writing, sequencing, or any number of other tasks. That’s just the way things are, and to expect anything different (i.e. miracle cures, etc.) is to court disappointment.

      Realistic expectations also relates to the fact that we need to discern and play to our strengths. Every dyslexic has numerous strengths; he or she must discover them. Doing so leads to a more satisfying life, and greater self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment.

      Your question about developing dyslexia after brain surgery is an interesting one. There is indeed a condition called Trauma-Induced Dyslexia, and it can occur whenever the brain undergoes an injury. Called Alexia when caused by stroke, it can also be caused surgically, by treatments involving radiation to the brain, or by a traumatic brain injury.

      Here’s a link to page 219 of The Cambridge Handbook of Psycholinguistics
      By Michael Spivey, Marc Joanisse, Ken McRae:

      All the best, thanks for reading!

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