Dyslexia Statistics and Myth Busting, Inspirational, Fun Facts

Dyslexia statistics and facts can be eye opening, sobering, fascinating and inspiring all at once:


  • The first description of dyslexia appeared in 1896 , authored by Dr. W. Pringle Morgan in Sussex, England
  • The word dyslexia is derived from the Greek word ‘dys’ (meaning difficult) plus ‘lexis’ (words or language)
  • Originally dyslexia was called reading blindness
  • Today we know that dyslexia is a brain based, hereditary difficulty manipulating the sounds and letters of language

Word Wonders

  • Phonemes are the smallest units of speech sound that can convey a unique meaning - dyslexics have trouble distinguishing and manipulating them
  • The defining characteristic of most dyslexics is difficulty with phonemic awareness
  • The ability to distinguish and manipulate phonemes in young readers is the strongest single predictor of future reading ability
  • English has 44 unique sounds, French 34 and German 46
  • Dyslexics read better with certain fonts, writing styles and media
  • With training, it is possible to listen to audio books played back at four times the normal rate of speed—with full comprehension!

Dyslexia Statistics / Demographics

  • Approximately 15% of people have dyslexia
  • This equates to over 30 million adults in the United States, about 6 million in the United Kingdom and 3 million in Canada. Most don't know they are dyslexic!
  • Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds
  • Dyslexia is found in speakers of every language and country, but rates vary
  • Men and women are equally likely to have dyslexia
  • Of those placed in special education for a learning disability, around 80% have dyslexia
  • Somewhere between 25-40% of children with dyslexia also have ADHD and conversely, approximately 25% of children with ADHD also have dyslexia

Myth Busters

Dyslexia is many things but it is NOT:

  • A gift
  • Contagious
  • Being confused 
  • About getting letters or numbers mixed up or out of order
  • Being lazy, stupid or unmotivated
  • Caused by bad parenting and other environmental influences
  • Found only in children
  • Something people grow out of
  • Found only in English readers and speakers

Strange but True

  • Inability to tie shoe laces, difficulty reading a clock with hands and early childhood ear infections are all reliable predictors of dyslexia
  • Dyslexics have terrible trouble rhyming and therefore very few turn to careers in hip hop
  • Dyslexia is mainly an auditory processing problem but has visual elements
  • Adult onset of dyslexia is possible after a stroke or because of Alzheimer's disease
  • An 80 year old reading system is still among the best
  • The best way for a dyslexic to read may be with their ears

Hope and Inspiration

  • With appropriate teaching methods and motivation, dyslexics can successfully learn anything
  • Assistive technology is opening all all kinds of doors to literacy and learning. Audio books and text to speech applications are two of the most important accessibility tools
  • Dyslexics excel at connecting ideas, thinking out of the box, 3D mapping, and seeing the "big picture"
  • People with dyslexia often find success in the fields of art, computer science, design, drama, electronics, math, mechanics, music, physics, sales and sports
  • Dyslexics use their right brain more than average, which is associated with art, emotion, spatial relationships, intuition and synthesizing of ideas—partially explaining their strengths in these areas 
  • There are over 100 private schools for dyslexic students in the United States, 25 in the UK and 6 in Canada

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