The National Center for Learning Disabilities is a great website to find information about special education. Even though there is a lot of U.S. legislation on how to educate special students, the learning disabilities’ information is tremendously rich for anyone who is interested or has a child with special needs at home or in the classroom.
Top 10 Myths About Learning Disabilities—Busted!
By Andrew Lee, NCLD Editorial Team
A few months ago, we surveyed 1,980 adults nationwide about their perceptions of learning disabilities (LD). Although many of the people surveyed were knowledgeable about LD, we still found some serious misconceptions. For example, one in five wrongly believed that LD is caused by a poor diet.
With beliefs like this floating around, we feel like it’s time to present the top 10 myths about LD and debunk them. So here they are:
Myth #1: Individuals with learning disabilities have low intelligence.
False. There is no correlation between LD and low IQ. In fact, by definition, people with LD have average or above average intelligence. Indeed, the list of accomplished individuals with LD includes Whoopi Goldberg, Anderson Cooper, Richard Branson and Tommy Hilfiger, among others.
Myth #2: LD can be cured.
False. Learning disabilities are lifelong and cannot be cured. Thankfully, with the proper mix of intervention and support, individuals with LD can succeed in school, work and life.
Myth #3: Only children have LD.
False. You cannot outgrow LD. Children with LD become adults with LD. Although there are no reliable data on how many adults in the general population have LD, we know that many face significant challenges in their adult lives.
Myth #4: The only kind of LD is dyslexia.
False. It’s true that the most common type of LD is dyslexia (reading). However, there are other types of LD, such as dysgraphia(handwriting) and dyscalculia (math). Moreover, other conditions such as dyspraxia (motor skills) and ADHD often co-occur with LD.
Myth #5: Corrective eyewear is an effective treatment for LD such as dyslexia.
False. Decades of research have shown that dyslexia is not a vision problem that can be corrected with eyewear, but instead a problem of language processing in the brain. There is no evidence that controversial therapies such as vision therapy are effective in treating LD.
Myth #6: Watching too much television causes LD.
False. Although there may be good reasons not to watch too much television, preventing LD is not one of them. Watching television does not cause LD.
Myth #7: Vaccinations can cause LD.
False. There is simply no evidence that vaccinations cause LD. Although the exact causes of LD are not clear, we do know that LD sometimes runs in families and that events during fetal development can also play a role.
Myth #8. An employer can ask whether a job applicant has LD.
False. Federal law protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination. At a job interview, a prospective employer may not ask a job applicant if he or she has LD. To protect themselves, workers with LD need to understand their rights in the workplace.
Myth #9: People with LD will not find career success.
False. With intervention and support, people with LD can achieve career success and many have done so. For some inspiring examples, check out our collection of LD success stories.
Myth #10: It’s OK to joke about LD when someone makes a reading, writing or math mistake.
False. People with LD often feel shame and stigma about the difficulties they face. Bullying is also a very real problem in schools. Making a joke about LD may seem harmless, but in reality is deeply hurtful to those with LD. There are plenty of ways to be funny without doing so at another person’s expense.
Now that you know the truth, it’s your turn to help bust myths about LD.
How? Start by sharing this article with your friends, family and school community via email, Facebook or Twitter. Explore LD.org to learn more about LD so that when you hear false statements, you can correct them and point others toward reliable and accurate sources of information. Finally, make sure to sign up for updates on the latest LD information.