The myth that having dyslexia automatically means you’re either a) artistic, b) have visual-spatial talents, c) have other gifts that are part of and caused by your dyslexia, can minimize or distract us from struggling with the proven risks of shame and school-based trauma. Results of these can be devastating. Some people with dyslexia are those things. Some are not. And while we make ourselves feel good with myths they can be distracting. They hurt our credibility when we call BS on other myths, such as those that allow schools to teach reading based on them, like Whole Language. Feels good but not based on science.
As someone pointed out recently, the myths of the Gifts of Dyslexia are really somewhat insulting. If you are artistic or a talented engineer or a gifted athlete, or a hard-working and resilient out of the box thinker, then that is YOU, not your dyslexia.
Some talents and positive traits can be developed as healthy hard fought responses to your struggle. You’ve earned them and possibly you’ve developed some inherent strengths or predisposition. You developed them as part of who you are. Just like your dyslexia is a part of who you are. They may all be connected because they are part of you.
We want people to recognize dyslexia as a learning difference or learning disability that can be ameliorated to some extent by science-based education. If we want teacher preparation and school administrators to finally look at and use the science of reading and do away with their own myths, then we must be prepared to do away with our own myths.
“FACT: Individuals in substance abuse treatment have a higher incidence of learning disabilities than the general population. One study revealed that 40 percent of people in substance abuse treatment have a learning disability, while another indicated that in residential substance abuse treatment programs, the percentage of learning disabled people has been found to be as high as 60 percent.”
-Learning Differently Can Mean Learning Well.
However so many children with learning disabilities are not taught in ways that align with science. The results can be devastating over time.
As a side note I don’t even like using the term myth. It does a disservice to Joseph Campbell.