Friday, May 20, 2022

How Economic Disparities Can Affect People With Dyslexia

How Economic Disparities Can Affect People With Dyslexia

By Maura Baker

It’s clear that Dyslexia is no stranger to intersectionality. Many factors (living area, race, gender, etc) can have an effect on whether Dyslexic people get the help they need. Economic and financial factors are one of the many things that can have an impact on the availability of help and accommodations for Dyslexic people. Here’s how:

In School

Especially when kids are younger, it’s important that they are given good foundations for learning to read. One of the best ways to ensure this is for schools to have Orton Gillingham trained teachers, as this method of teaching is scientifically proven to not only help Dyslexic students become better readers, writers, and spellers, but can also help students without Dyslexia gain a better understanding of language. 

Unfortunately, Orton Gillingham training can be expensive. According to, the cost of training varies, and through some research I did, this seems to be extremely accurate. puts the cost of training at around $1,500, however, some organizations, such as the Reed Charitable Foundation, have made efforts to make this training free for public school teachers. Either way, many schools in low-income areas may not have the money or resources to invest in this training, or other accommodations (such as assistive technology) for Dyslexic students. 

Out of School

Some families turn to outside assistance (such as tutors) if their children aren’t getting what they need in school. However, tutoring can be expensive, and therefore not accessible to many people.

According to, a Orton Gillingham tutor can cost (on average) $80-100 an hour. This is simply too expensive for many people, which unfortunately means that this form of help is not an option for many Dyslexic children in low-income families.

While these are just some of the ways economic disparities can affect people with Dyslexia, it is clear that it is an obstacle for many to get the assistance they need. However, as more people start to become aware of these issues, hopefully there will be an increase in charitable work which aims to help low-income Dyslexic students.

Friday, May 6, 2022

The History of Common Dyslexia Myths

The History of Common Dyslexia Myths

By Maura Baker

There's no doubt that there are many misconceptions out there about most topics, and Dyslexia is no exception. And, like other misconceptions, those about Dyslexia have origins and histories. Today’s article is a list of some of the origins to common Dyslexia myths.

“Dyslexia is a vision problem”

Adolph Kussmaul, a German Professor of Medicine, was one of the first people to pinpoint the signs of Dyslexia. In the 1870s, he gave Dyslexia the name “word blindness”, as he then believed it was a vision issue.

“Kids grow out of their Dyslexia”

In 1869, W. Pringle Morgan, a British physician, wrote about Dyslexia as he had seen it in a teenaged boy. The boy could not read or write, but was overall very intelligent. After this assessment, however, Morgan believed that Dyslexia was only present in children and adolescents, and that people would “grow out” of their struggles as they aged. 

“Dyslexia is a medical issue”

Many of the original researchers on Dyslexia thought that it could have been the result of brain damage. In the early 20th century, Samuel Orton (one of Orton-Gillingham’s namesakes), an American physician, claimed that Dyslexia stemmed from the brain’s inability to function properly.  

“Writing letters backwards is a sure sign of Dyslexia”

In the 1920s, Samuel Orton was observing young kids with difficulty learning to read. He noticed that these struggling students often reversed their letters when writing. However, he was observing very young children who were just learning to write, and many children (including those with and without Dyslexia) reverse their letters when they are first learning. 

While these myths came from inferior technology and research techniques of the past, many of these researchers did help lay the groundwork for more discoveries about Dyslexia. However, unfortunately, myths are very persistent, so even when the science and facts about Dyslexia are updated, myths still live on. 

If you want to learn more about the history of Dyslexia, and other topics in this article, click here: 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Dyslexia and Different Languages

Dyslexia and Different Languages

By Maura Baker

There are a lot of myths out there about Dyslexia (many of which I talk about on this blog), one of them being that only native-English speakers can have Dyslexia. While this is not true, people who speak different languages may experience Dyslexia a bit differently because of the way their native language(s) is structured. Here is a basic explanation of why Dyslexia may affect people differently based on the language(s) they speak.

Differences in Language Structure

English, for example, is a very irregular language. Most of the spelling rules have exceptions, and many words are pronounced differently than they are spelled. According to, when languages are “transparent”, it’s easier to learn how to read, write and spell in those languages. “Transparent” means that there tends to be more consistency between the phonemes (the sounds made by letters/characters) and graphemes (the letters/characters themselves).

“Transparent” and “Non-Transparent” Languages and How They Interact with Dyslexia

Whether a language is “transparent” or “non-transparent” might determine how easy it may be to learn to read, write, and spell in said language for a person with Dyslexia. For example, French is not considered to be a “transparent” language, according to Because there are a lot of different verb conjugations, and different letters can make different sounds/be silent at different times, this can cause confusion for people with Dyslexia when they are learning to read and write. English is also a great example of a language that is not “transparent”. Spanish, on the other hand, along with Italian and German, are “transparent”, because there is a great deal of consistency in the language between the phonemes and graphemes. Because there are fewer exceptions to the rules of “transparent” languages, they may be easier for people with Dyslexia to understand. 

Of course, Dyslexia affects everyone differently, but a person’s native language(s) can play a role in how they learn/struggle with language. I think the topic of how Dyslexia affects people differently depending on what language they speak is a very interesting and complicated topic (this is a very simple, basic, version), and hopefully continued research in this area can help us to learn more about Dyslexia in general.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Learning Disability vs. Learning Difference: Is There a Difference?

Learning Disability vs. Learning Difference:

Is There a Difference?

By Maura Baker

When people talk about neurological conditions such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, etc, they often refer to it as either a learning disability or a learning difference. Is there an actual difference between these two terms, and does it really matter which one you use? Here is a brief explanation of the terms, and what they mean.

Disability vs. Difference

Many people use the two interchangeably, and many like the term “learning difference” better (according to, since it implies that you can still learn even if you have one (or more)- you just need to be taught in a different way. However, others say there is a more distinct difference between the two. states that a learning disability can affect how a person learns life skills, whereas a learning difference affects how a person learns a concept(s) and does not really affect them outside of this area.

Difference in the Law

When it comes to legal rights to accommodations, there’s also a difference between the terms. According to, laws guaranteeing accommodations such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and others, use the term “disability” and not “difference”. This means that people with “learning disabilities” are protected under these laws, and people with “learning differences'' are not. However, this doesn’t mean that people who have what many would classify as a “learning difference” do not get accommodations under these laws, it just means that the term “learning difference” is not typically used in legal matters. 

This is just the surface level of the differences between the two terms and when they tend to be used. However, having a knowledge of the terms and what they mean can encourage further discussion among people.  

Friday, February 25, 2022

How Dyslexia Signs/Symptoms Change With Age

How Dyslexia Signs/Symptoms Change With


By Maura Baker

Dyslexia is a life-long condition that can affect your reading, writing, spelling, etc. While it lasts for your whole life, the signs and symptoms of Dyslexia can change as you age. Knowing the signs of Dyslexia can be important because not only can it help you find solutions, but it can help you make a decision on whether or not it would be a good idea to get diagnosed (a diagnosis can have negative effects, such as lowering of self-esteem, but it can also have positive effects, such as having access to certain accommodations). Here is a list of some signs of Dyslexia and how they change/adapt with age. 

Dyslexia in Preschool:

Common signs:

  • Learning to speak can be harder

  • Issues rhyming/remembering the pronunciation of certain words

  • Trouble understanding and/or following instructions

  • Trouble learning the alphabet

Dyslexia in Kindergarten - 2nd Grade

Common signs:

  • Confusing the names/shapes of letters (most common are pairs like b and d and p and q)

  • Trouble breaking words into individual sounds

  • Misreading/adding words when reading 

  • Possible dislike of school

Dyslexia in 3rd Grade - 5th Grade

Common signs:

  • Trouble recognizing “sight words”

  • Making similar mistakes often (such as constantly reading “complete” as “compete”)

  • Often making spelling issues

  • Getting frustrated about reading/avoidance

Dyslexia in Tween and Teen Years:

Common signs:

  • Slow reading/hesitation, especially when reading out loud

  • Retaining information better when it’s read out loud

  • Increasing anxiety about reading/writing (especially out loud)

  • Issues understanding idioms/abbreviations

Dyslexia in Adults:

Common signs:

  • Never reading for fun (or maybe only reading audiobooks)

  • Executive functioning issues

  • Issues with time management (as certain tasks may take you longer)

  • Trouble understanding

While everyone experiences Dyslexia differently, these are some of the common signs of Dyslexia by age groups.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Stress Management Tips for School

 Stress Management Tips for School

By Maura Baker

School is stressful. There’s a lot of pressure to take advanced classes, get good grades and be well-rounded, and this is often true for many education levels. If you have a learning difference, school can be especially stressful, as it can be hard to grasp material and comprehend concepts. However, there are ways that can help you manage your school-related stressors. Here are a few examples:


Doing meditation and yoga can help you be present in the moment, especially when thinking about future assignments due is stressful. Of course, it takes practice, but being able to focus on what is happening in the moment can greatly relieve stress and anxiety over the future.

Ask for Help

School work can be very stressful if you don’t understand the concepts. Asking for help is a great way to reduce stress in this situation. Maybe ask a friend who understands to study with you, or ask your teachers about going to office hours (trust me, they most likely will not mind!).  

Know Yourself

While it is hard to be self-aware at times, knowing yourself and what you can handle is important and not getting burned out. Know when you need to take a break while doing your homework; know when to say no. Remember that it’s okay to need a break sometimes!

Find Hobbies That Make You Happy

Hobbies that make you feel happy and good about yourself are definitely huge stress relievers. If you like going on nature walks, reading, writing, etc, make these things one of your priorities! Having things you like in life can make the things you don’t like so much seem easier to do.

One of the most important things about stress relieving is to know what works for you. With a good support system and a knowledge of your own limits, academic work can become less and less stressful.

Friday, January 28, 2022

The Different Learning Styles

 The Different Learning Styles

By Maura Baker

Everyone learns in a slightly different way. Some people retain information the best by reading about it, others while being told about it, and so on. These are often referred to as learning styles. Knowing which way you learn best can help you with many things in life, for example, knowing how you learn best can help you learn more and at a faster rate. If you have a learning difference, you might find it even more helpful to know what your learning styles are, and to use them to your advantage. There are many different learning styles, and below is a summary of each. 

Neil Fleming’s “VARK” Model

One of the most accepted explanations of learning stylse comes from Neil Fleming’s (an educator from New Zealand) “VARK” model. “VARK” stands for Visual, Aural, Reading/Writing and Kinesthetic learning. These identify the way in which most people learn best.

Visual Learning

Visual learning means learning via visuals. Visuals can be anything to images, graphs, etc. Being more of a visual learner means that you learn better when you can see what you’re trying to understand. For example, drawing pictures next to your vocab words might help you remember them better. 

Aural Learning

Being an aural learner means that you learn best through sounds and being told information. For instance, you might find it easier to remember your vocab words if you have someone read them and their definitions out loud to you, or by making up a song about them that helps you remember.

Reading/Writing Learning

Reading/writing learners are more likely to remember information if they read it to themselves, or write it out. For example, if you have a set of vocab cards you need to memorize, reading them and their definition and/or writing them down yourself can help you remember the words. 

Kinesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learning is learning through movement, and it can also be like “hands on” learning. For an example, you might be able to remember those same vocab words better if you can come up with a movement (such as a dance move, facial expression, hand motion, etc) that makes you think of that word.

It’s important to remember that none of the learning styles are superior to any others; it’s simply whatever works for you! There’s also overlap between the learning styles, and you can definitely have more than one! To figure out what your learning style is, try a variety of strategies for things such as memorization to see what clicks the best.

How Economic Disparities Can Affect People With Dyslexia

How Economic Disparities Can Affect People With Dyslexia By Maura Baker It’s clear that Dyslexia is no stranger to intersectionality. Many f...