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The Gow School logo A coed college-prep boarding and day school for students, grades 6-12, with dyslexia and similar language-based learning disabilities in New York.

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Dyslexia Awareness Month

October is Dyslexia Awareness month. Dyslexia is one of the most common learning differences in the United States, approximately 1 in 5 people are diagnosed with a language based learning disability, but is still widely misunderstood. Dyslexia Awareness month is meant to raise awareness of this learning difference that millions of children and adults have. Although the number of people living with dyslexia is high, there are still some misconceptions out there. Here are a few our students hear most often.

1. Dyslexics read backwards.

Reversed words and letters may occur but might be only a small part of the picture. Simply put, dyslexia is trouble learning to read and write despite average intelligence and conventional teaching.

2. People with dyslexia are lazy.

A lack of knowledge in educators and parents has caused the misconception that dyslexics are lazy. Often in a traditional school setting, students that are struggling with dyslexia are not being taught in a way that their brain works. Once students are being taught in a way that works for them, they will succeed.

3. Dyslexia is a disease.

Dyslexia is not contagious, it is not a disease it is a learning disability. The misconception is that this is something a primary care physician can diagnose. For a child to be diagnosed with dyslexia a neuropsychologist, or psychologist must assess a variety of different areas, such as phonological processing, reading, spelling, writing and the oral language.

4. There is a cure for dyslexia.

There is no cure for dyslexia. Dyslexia will always be something that people have. Through remediation and decoding skills, things will become easier for them and dyslexia won’t hold them back. Dyslexics require structured and systemic teaching working on phonics, oral reading, suffix prefixes, vocabulary and spelling. While there is no cure there are tools that can be used to help dyslexics succeed.

5. Only boys can have dyslexia.

While learning differences in boys are more commonly diagnosed than in girls, the idea that only boys can have dyslexia is false. Generally, boys and girls handle the inability to do the classwork and homework differently. Boys tend to act out when they cannot do something leading parents to look for an answer as to why. Girls on the other hand when they don’t understand something try hiding and being invisible in the classroom, so it is not noticed as early.

6. Dyslexics are unintelligent.

Having dyslexia does not mean one is unintelligent! In fact, dyslexics often have average to above-average intelligence with high verbal language skills. Individuals may show special talents in areas that involve visual and spatial tasks. Many successful people have dyslexia such as Thomas Edison, John F. Kennedy, Whoopi Goldberg, and Walt Disney.

7. Dyslexics can’t read.

Dyslexics may have difficulty reading however if they are taught properly they can become strong and confident readers. At The Gow School we have found that breaking down elements of the English language through Reconstructive Language, using multisensory structured language education and executive function coaching, our students can succeed. Reconstructive Language (RL) is Gow’s own remedial language-skills program, created by school founder Peter Gow, Jr, with guidance from pioneering neurologist Dr. Samuel T. Orton.