Two Very Wrong Myths About People With Dyslexia


2 Very Wrong Myths

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I would love to say that my home is always spotless.

The truth is there are usually books laying around, about 10 cups sitting on the counter that have just been left by… everyone, and always piles of LEGO bricks cover the floor. Ironically, the mess that bothers me the least is the LEGO invasion. The reason why is because they are a reminder of how bright my youngest son, Zane, actually is. One day as he played with a friend he created a device that used gears to move a lever. The friend that Zane was playing with looked and said, “I don’t know how to make gears like that work.” But Zane did!

The thing is, in spite of his engineering savvy,  Zane has trouble reading… and spelling… and remembering math facts…Because Zane has dyslexia.

Unfortunately, when a person struggles with reading many people automatically assume it is because they are not very smart or they just aren’t motivated to try. The way people view a struggling reader and the things they say to them can make a terrible and lasting impact on that person’s life.  As a mother of several children with dyslexia I would like to set the record straight about a couple of things.

Zanes legos

No instruction manual needed. He just goes for it!

Here are two myths about children with dyslexia that are absolutely NOT TRUE.

Myth #1.  These people can’t read because they are stupid.

NEVER call my child stupid! He is brilliant!

I remember being at a puppet show once and the puppet called someone in their skit stupid. Suddenly, a kid in the audience cried out, “He used the “S” word. I loved it. “There are other people who teach their children to guard their words,” I thought to myself.

I have heard from so many parents that their children have been called stupid. I am well aware that children can be cruel, but what excuse do adults have? Like in the story above, in our home, the word stupid  is treated like a curse word. It is considered foul language.

I have a friend who was told that he was stupid by a teacher when he was a little boy and for a long time in his life he believed her. Today he is paid very well to mentor people in business so that they don’t make stupid decisions. Okay, sometimes the “S” word is appropriate, but not when describing people.

There is a story about a young boy in the mid-1800’s who was sent home from school by his teacher. This teacher informed the boy’s mother that he couldn’t learn. So his mother kept him home and worked with the boy herself. That little boy grew up to hold hundreds of patents for inventions that changed the world. He invented the first light bulb and movie camera (back then it was called a vita-scope). What American child hasn’t heard of Thomas Edison?

It is heartbreaking to hear my children call themselves stupid, but sometimes when something they are learning has them stumped, they do. I have to work hard enough to keep my children encouraged. I don’t want my efforts undermined by the comments of  ignorant people.

Myth #2.  Children with dyslexia are really just lazy!

I watch my kids have to review more, practice harder, and take longer to complete a lesson. And in spite of getting frustrated and discouraged they stick with it. My children are not lazy. In fact, they are resilient, determined and hard-working.  Were you aware that 40% of all successful entrepreneurs are dyslexic? That is an incredibly high percentage when you realize that 10 -20 % of people are considered to have some level of dyslexia. Don’t buy-in to the misconception that people who lose a little focus when something is taking longer to process are lazy.

There is an interesting article about people who got bad grades in school. They were often considered stupid and lazy, but they went on to do amazing things. The article is titled: Bad Grades: The Shocking List of the Biggest Losers in the World , it is worth checking out.  If you have a child who struggles with self-esteem because good grades do not come easy, share this article with them.

So, once you dismiss the myths that your dyslexic child is stupid and lazy, build them up in all things they are: brilliant, creative, insightful, clever, fun, ingenious, etc. Basically, concentrate on all the things that are true, not on the the things that aren’t.

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Robin Liner is a wife, and veteran homeschool mom with over twenty years experience. She has written two picture books and actively blogs about homeschooling with an emphasis on teaching dyslexic children at and Feel free to contact her at

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  1. ArdenTDelnero

    Great article! We are linking to this particularly great article on our website.
    Keep up the great writing.

    1. Aryan

      my hubby is dyslexic and I have a very mild form of dlscayclia he did learn to read but sometimes realizes that what he thought the paragraph was about isn’t true and needs to reread until he finds the word he mis-saw. There is that email thing that has all the words spelled incorrectly except that the first and last letters are in the proper places. The email body claims that most people’s brains can read it clearly anyhow. But not for a dyslexic. But it sure explains that problem I had as a kid reading out-loud in school I thought I was being a bad reader when I would say the wrong word but it was my brain seeing first and last letters, seeing an overall shape of the word and jumping to conclusions so I would say Step, Puff! instead of what was really there, Stop, Puff! It was embarrassing. Now that Dyslexia is better understood, hopefully more children will get the help they need; my husband never got professional help for his dyslexia he just muddled through as best he could.

      1. ahwd_admin

        Thanks for the comment. My 17 year old son says that there are times he has to re-read a paragraph 6 or 7 times to get the real meaning of it. But he wouldn’t be able to do that if he was unable to read at all. His desire to understand makes him push through until he gets it. I love how dyslexics are so resilient. But I agree that it is time more children can get the help they need to be able to manage their dyslexia with more ease.

  2. StephaneQRyker

    Hi, I log on to your blogs like every week. Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work!

  3. DeneseABowersock

    Hello, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this
    blog post. It was practical. Keep on posting!


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