#5 Ways to really Piss Off Someone who has Dyslexia

Sometimes well-intentioned people say things that can really piss off people with dyslexia. The comments are made with the best will in the world but can actually have the opposite effect to what was intended, leaving the person with dyslexia feeling inadequate, discouraged and angry. So unless it is your intention to really annoy them perhaps you should avoid the following:

#1 Tell them to sound the word out

Really? You don’t think that they haven’t heard that one before?  From word go, all they have heard in school is ‘sound it out’. Thing is, usually when spelling or reading if they sound out the word, very often the word doesn’t follow the sounds because English is not a true phonetic language. So they can’t win. When reading, decoding breaks up the word so much that the true sound of the word can be lost. Plus it doesn’t take regional variations in pronunciation into account. Sounding out also presupposes that the person has an ear for the sound of letters or groups of letters. People with dyslexia generally don’t have this – even if they are musically inclined.  

#2 Get them to read nonsense words

Wob sheg zaf!! Research shows that reading nonsense words is very beneficial for phonetic reading and decoding sounds. Trouble is English is not a phonetic language, so sounding out nonsense words is just that – nonsense! People with Dyslexia are not eejits. They find reading nonsense words to be a complete waste of their time and energy. (Note to non-Irish readers – eejits is not a nonsense word. It is the plural of eejit; noun. a Scot and Irish word for idiot ref: Collins Dictionary)

#3 Ask them to read aloud

Public speaking is one to the most common phobias in the world and reading aloud is public speaking! So a really good way to annoy someone who has difficulty with reading is to get them reading aloud. People with dyslexia love that sense of foreboding as they wait their turn. Of course, being asked to read aloud is always much better fun then it’s combined with #1 on our list – sounding out the words. And if you really want to ramp up the pissed off factor – ask the person to read, sound out and THEN tell you what they just read.

#4 Accuse them of being lazy

Sure isn’t it a well-known fact that everyone with dyslexia is lazy! They just aren’t working hard enough. If they had learned their spellings last night, they’d remember them this morning. After all, they ‘have plenty of ability if they’d just apply themselves’. They should spend more time with their heads in their books rather than staring at the ceiling! If they tried harder, they’d read better. What a load of crap. Wasn’t it Albert Einstein who said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Why would anyone keep doing something that wasn’t working for them? That’s not being lazy – that is being intelligent.

#5 Proclaim that they are good with their hands

To paraphrase Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a person with dyslexia must be good with their hands. Of course, the subtext is that the hands are good but they may not be the brightest. Apparently, good hand-eye co-ordination and the ability to problem solve doesn’t require much brain power. In order to be academic, one must be able to spell phonetically, read fluently and pass exams that place a huge emphasis on rote learning. All too often people lower their expectations for students with dyslexia when in fact they could go on to achieve great things with the proper supports in place, playing to their strengths


At Hummingbird Learning Centre we view dyslexia is not as dis-ability but as a diff-ability! It’s just a different way of approaching something. So we approach reading and spelling in a different way too, unleashing the power within the person to use their dyslexia to their advantage. To gain control of their superpower!

To learn more about how we can help contact us here

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