MADISON, Wis. - What do Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Whoopi Goldberg have in common?
They all have or had dyslexia, a difficulty in learning how to read, write, and spell. October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness for the condition and debunk many of the myths and misconceptions surrounding it.
On Friday, Oct. 25, dozens of Madison-area families will rally at the Capitol in support of legislation to help those managing dyslexia. The bill in question, AB 110, would create a guidebook for parents and teachers to follow to help students. The rally starts at noon.
"Decoding Dyslexia Wisconsin" is the driving force behind the bill and the rally. While pushing for its passage, the group is also working to debunk commonly held beliefs about dyslexia.
MYTH #1: Dyslexia is uncommon.
The condition is much more common than you might think. In a classroom of 30 students, as many as six have dyslexia. Between 10 and 20-percent of people in Wisconsin live with the condition, according to Decoding Dyslexia Wisconsin, and that's just the people who've been diagnosed.
MYTH #2: Dyslexic readers just reverse their letters.
Although that can be a sign, parents and teachers often become aware a child has the learning disorder when he or she has trouble learning the alphabet, hearing rhymes, or learning to recognize simple words. Early on, students with dyslexia aren't able to read aloud at a reasonable pace and their spelling is poor.
MYTH #3: Kids can grow out of it.
Dyslexia isn't a disease, so it can't be treated by medication or its effects lessened over time.
MYTH #4: Reading to your kids early on will prevent the condition.
It's not caused by something you did or didn't do with your children. Even parents who read diligently to their kids have found their sons and daughters develop dyslexia.
MYTH #5: Living with dyslexia is lonely, and people don't know how to help.
Right now, the organization Decoding Dyslexia Wisconsin is working to pass a bill that would create a guidebook to teach parents and teachers how to best educate students with dyslexia.
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