Is visual dyslexia a myth? For years, parents, teachers and even reading specialists believed that dyslexia meant that a person read backwards or reversed letters and numbers. In fact, there’s article after article still talking about visual dyslexia . Not only that, there is still eye training being done to overcome visual dyslexia.
This is interesting, because over the last two decades, there has been much research done on the cause of dyslexia. As a result of this research, a new definition has emerged which emphasizes that dyslexia is indeed a reading disorder, however it is caused by defects in the language processing part of the brain, not in the visual part of the brain.
At Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, a husband and wife team, Drs. Sally Shaywitz and Bennett Shaywitz, found that when a child struggled with reading, it was the language part of the brain that was involved, not the visual. For parents who are confused about whether they should take their child for eye training, they need to call us so we can help point them in the right direction.
As a tutor for children with dyslexia, for over 40 years, I can certainly understand why so many people believe that it is caused by a visual defect. I have worked for years and years with children who read the wrong word, put in letters, omit letters, read what for that and was for saw. How can adults working with dyslexic children not think that the child is having difficulty visually?
And perhaps, the child who struggles to read may need glasses. I always recommend that these children see a pediatric ophthalmologist. But, the visual issue is not dyslexia (or even visual dyslexia). It is another issue that has to be addressed. Dyslexia is caused by a defect in the language processing part of the brain. Some children have both issues. Naturally, in those cases, diagnosis and remediation is more complex.
If the child is having a hard time understanding the words on the board, then rest assured that it is not visual dyslexia at cause. Not being able to see the board makes that learning curve very steep. Visual dyslexia might not be real, but a pair of glasses may go a long way.