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Dyslexia questions

Posted Apr 23 2005 12:00am

Under the title, Education Matters: Dyslexia: The Hidden Learning Difference,” Jayne Matthews of the Baltimore Times describes her son’s difficulties in learning to read. Thanks to help from a private center, the boy learned to read after three years of troubles.

Following her account of this story, Ms. Matthews turns the remainder of the column over to Thea Medvetz of the Dyslexia Tutoring Program so that Ms. Medvetz can discuss dyslexia and warning signs of dyslexia.

The intentions of Ms. Matthews and Ms. Medvetz are certainly laudable, and they give some good information. However, I found several statements published there to be of concern; I want to respond to them in hopes of helping others understand dyslexia and Learning Disabilities better.


National Institutes of Health research shows that dyslexia affects at least 1 out of 5 children in the United States.

I’ve seen the 1-in-5 figure many places, but I’m still not sure of it’s veracity. If dyslexia is one form of LD and LD is identified in ~5% of the population of school children, as documented in the Annual Reports to Congress, how could 20% of school children have dyslexia?

Difficulty decoding or sounding out words, or getting letters in the wrong order. For example, these children may read, “left” as “felt” or “form” as “from”.

I can go along with this one, as it’s presented. I hope, however, that people don’t misunderstand it as illustrating the diagnostic value mirror-reading; the reversals-are-diagnostic idea is a myth.

Difficulties with math.

It’s true that some children with reading problems also have math problems. But, not all children with math problems have reading problems.

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