It’s getting harder to ignore the growing number of dyslexia naysayers in the world. Your intentions may be good, but it hurts when you won’t say dyslexia.
“Dyslexia is not real.”
“Dyslexia is a social construct.”
“Dyslexia is a harmful label.”
You don’t like labels? Let me tell you about labels. I’ve had a lifetime of them.
These are the words and fears that torment undiagnosed dyslexics, young and old. It happened when I was a kid, and it’s happening right now, in classrooms here in Canada, the U.S., and around the world.
What’s in a name?
Properly identified, labels are a first step to getting help–if not a cure, an improvement to quality of life. If you have ADHD, you are offered treatment and support. Anxiety? There’s therapy and medication for that. Short sighted? Get prescription glasses or laser eye surgery.
But dyslexia? It’s the the most common learning disability that you won’t name.
Not real? 80% of all children diagnosed with specific learning disorder are actually dyslexic. It’s a scientifically proven neurological difference, it’s genetic, and it’s cited in the psychiatric bible DSM-5.
Harmful label? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, being identified as dyslexic was hugely cathartic for me. It helped me shed the negative labels haunting me from childhood; it helped me find tools and strategies to compensate for my challenges.
For my daughter, a dyslexia diagnosis opened the door to proper reading instruction, tech-support and greater self-confidence. It prevented a lifetime of pain and struggle.
It helped us find a wonderful community, and celebrate our creative dyslexic brains.
More than anything, isn’t it my right to use the term? After all, I’m not making it up. My teacher identified (but did not name) the problem in grade two, and forty years later I was diagnosed by a psychologist after a lengthy battery of cognitive tests.
I’m not alone. My informal Twitter survey showed a clear preference for the term “dyslexic” and “dyslexia” over reading disabled or learning disabled.
I don’t see dyslexia as a negative label. Why do you?