Dyslexia with a Grain of Caution

Has anyone caught up with the latest on Jennifer Aniston:

Did you hear this revelation?

Jennifer Aniston Reveals Struggles With Dyslexia,

Anger; Shrugs Off Oscar Snub

If so, please know that dyslexia isn’t about eyesight, or colored glasses, as described by Aniston.

The diagnostic tests for dyslexia aren’t what she describes. Quoting Texas Scottish Rite Hospital  : “There is no single test for dyslexia.
Dyslexia is identified by gathering information about all the factors that influence reading development and measuring reading ability. Family, medical, social-emotional and school data include questionnaires, health records, behavior ratings, grades and academic testing. Adequate general intellectual functioning, oral language, vision and hearing are determined using prior results or direct assessment. The dyslexia evaluation includes tests of the root cause (phonological processing) and reading sub-skills (accuracy, speed, comprehension, spelling). A clinician, or assessment team, makes the diagnosis after studying all of the relevant information.”

This post is not an attempt to diminish her struggles in school or throughout her life, or say she didn’t/doesn’t have a learning difference — even dyslexia — but the eye doctors she saw should have referred her for a psycho-educational evaluation with a reputable and experienced diagnostician in the field if she described a reading problem. Without that information, it is would be hard to accurately say she has dyslexia.

Should Hollywood stars be careful about what they sometimes put out there? Yes, and especially in this case. Her description is misleading and harmful to parents and educators who have questions and need accurate, credible information.

Kudos to her for having the courage to describe her own pain — but accurate information is critical to advancing the understanding of dyslexia, and so children (and even adults) receive appropriate instruction, whatever their learning issues.

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