Whether your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, or you suspect they have it based on things you’re seeing, it can take a while to wrap your head around exactly what that means, and what your next steps need to be. Try not to get overwhelmed with all the information. Take a deep breath. Know that your child, and their future, is very bright. Though many people equate being able to read with intelligence, the two are not synonymous.
Some of the brightest minds in the world have had dyslexia….Einstein, Walt Disney, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs. Your child is in fine company!
Start small….here are the five most important things you should know about dyslexia.
Your child has many gifts that come with dyslexia. They can be, among other things, creative, empathetic, logical, persistent, musically inclined, and artistic. They also usually excel at critical thinking and reasoning tasks.
A child can be tested for symptoms of dyslexia at a very young age. The earlier you can remediate, the better. It takes 4 times as long to remediate a 4th grader as it does a child who is in kindergarten. However, if your child is older, don’t get discouraged. It is NEVER too late to remediate.
Dyslexia is a life-long condition. A person does not get cured of dyslexia. Be wary of claims that something can “cure” your child or speed up the process of remediation. The only research-based methods that have been proven effective to help remediate some of the symptoms of dyslexia include systematic, multisensory instruction and plenty of practice learning the structure behind the English language.
Dyslexia affects more than just reading. Your child can struggle with memory, abstract facts (like math facts, days of the week), directions, finding the right words to say, handwriting, getting their thoughts down on paper, etc. When looking at accommodations, make sure you address these different areas.
Giving a name to the diagnosis helps. Many parents struggle with whether they should tell their child about the diagnosis. In all my research and dealings with families, I have never found a child who wasn’t relieved to finally realize that they weren’t lazy or stupid; they just processed things differently.