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: 

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