10 Facts Parents Should Know About Dyslexia. A Checklist.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
Dyslexia is not a disadvantage.
Having a good understanding of the type of difficulties caused by dyslexia will help you support, encourage & motivate your dyslexic child without damaging their self-esteem.
Did you know that more than 50% of NASA employees are Dyslexic? NASA is able to look past the negative opinions about this condition and use Dyslexia to its advantage.
Many dyslexics are incredibly creative.
Here are only a few famous people who had dyslexia. Beethoven, Winston Churchill, Richard Branson, Agatha Christie, Leonardo da Vinci to Stephen Hawking to Tom Cruise.
Being Unique Can Be Wonderful.
“Special Needs” is like an umbrella sheltering and hiding a huge collection of diagnoses underneath. Children with “special” or “different” needs may have trouble paying attention, profound mental retardation or be gifted, or they may have a food allergy be terminally ill or have a stammer. The vastness of the term can be confusing and bewildering.
“Special needs” is often commonly defined by what your child can’t do – by milestones unmet, foods banned, activities avoided and experiences denied. These minuses can hit you as a family really hard and may make “special needs” seem like a tragic designation or a millstone around everyone’s neck.
But I believe that a label should not limit a child’s potential and I see every child as a way to find a new opportunity to explore their potential in a new or different way that hasn’t yet been tried.
I have worked and trained with Dr Richard Bandler – the co-creator and founder of NLP when I was training to become an NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer. He is an extraordinary man who challenges accepted ways of doing things and stereotyped labels as he is curious and fascinated by different and new ways to explore the way the brain works and how it can be improved and fine-tuned to enable everyone to reach their true potential.
After the initial shock of discovering your child has dyslexia , gently and slowly change your focus from one of despair to gently and gradually starting to see it as an opportunity to learn how to help you and your child to explore and discover more about themselves.
Giving a child a label can limit them.
Some parents will always focus on the difficulties and grieve their child’s lost potential compared to others, but I challenge you to see beyond the diagnosis – to become a family who sees your child’s challenges as making their triumphs even sweeter and your child’s apparent “weaknesses” always being balanced by their amazing strengths.
There are lots of different names for dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a word that covers a range of difficulties & some of them may appear quite negative so I want you to reframe and change your view of what dyslexia means to your kids. You attitude to it will pass on to them. So be upbeat, positive and your child will feel the same.
Take a look at this fabulous video from #MadeByDyslexia’ which is a global charity led by successful (and famous) dyslexics. I’ll be interviewing Kate Griggs from this charity so look out for the Extras & Experts podcast in my Membership Club.
Their purpose is to help the world properly understand and support dyslexia.
Read my article by clicking on the link “Special Needs” is like an umbrella sheltering and hiding a huge collection of diagnoses underneath.
Here are some of the other words that all mean that your child may have dyslexia:
- Learning disability
- Specific learning difficulty
- Developmental reading disorder
- Auditory processing disorder
- Phonological processing deficit
- Cognitive reading disorder
- Visual processing difficulty
I think it’s a good idea that after you have learned about dyslexia, you sit down and have a chat with your child to explain it to your child to reassure them.
Knowing there is both a reason and a solution will help them to deal with it.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
1. Dyslexia is exhausting
At the end of a busy day at school reading and writing your child with dyslexia will be exhausted. It’s taking them far more effort than the other children in their class because their brain is less efficient at processing letters and sounds so it has had to work much harder.
When your kids get home give them ‘down time’ to relax and switch off before attempting homework.
2. Some days are better than others.
Like us all, children with dyslexia may have good and bad days for no apparent reason. Some days they can seem to remember, then other days everything is forgotten. It’s a bit like one step forward, three steps back at times. So, expect it. Don’t be surprised by it or don’t be disappointed by it either.
Don’t despair, give up or get angry, with the right approach you will all get there in the end. Keep the bigger picture and focus on the skills, mindset and attitude you want to develop in your children.
3. Dyslexia affects everyone differently in many ways. One size doesn’t fit all!
After 100 years of research there is no one definition of dyslexia because it covers so many different areas.
Lots of different skills are used to read, that is why it is so important to identify and understand an individual’s learning strengths and where there is a weakness.
4. You can’t ‘cure’ dyslexia.
With the right support, patience and skills your child with dyslexia can learn to read, write and spell more confidently but they will never stop having dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a neurological problem that affects other areas like remembering phone numbers, forgetting books, losing sports kit or remembering spoken instructions.
5. It will take your child longer to do reading and writing tasks – so give them extra time. SLOW DOWN.
As a former Deputy Head and Class Teacher for 25 years, teachers are far more empathetic than perhaps they were when you were at school. Go & chat to your child’s teacher & ask them what the school’s policy is on homework, exams and how they allow for a child’s dyslexia.
6. Dyslexia is hereditary.
Without suddenly blaming your partner for your child’s challenges, the chances are that one of you, or your child’s grandparents, aunts, or uncles has dyslexia as DCDC2 is a dyslexia gene.
Can you think of anyone in your family who might have dyslexia? It may help to chat to them about how they have managed it (providing they are upbeat & positive!)
7. Many children with dyslexia have low self-confidence & low self-esteem.
Your child may find that they feel like they are failing at school & naturally this causes them huge distress and to overcome the difficulties caused by dyslexia they have to start to believe in themselves again. Children with dyslexia need one of the 4 Crucial ‘C’s* more than the others – COURAGE so encourage & praise their every small accomplishment.
Read more about the Crucial ‘C’s
Are you using the Four Crucial ‘C’s’*? The Blueprint for Raising Happy, Confident, Resilient Children here
I am passionate about helping you to raise a happy, confident ‘Can Do Kid’ as I firmly believe that your mindset and attitude in life is half the battle to success and happiness. Don’t allow your child’s dyslexia to define them.
I wrote my ‘Can Do Kids Journal for Super Heroes’ aimed at children from 7-13 & it is ALL about helping children feel more confident, more assertive and more relaxed in all areas of their lives knowing that they have some tried and tested strategies, simple practical techniques, and a highly effective set of tools, empowering them to make some small changes quickly & easily that will make a COMPLETE difference to their lives.
The ‘Can Do Kid’ Journal will empower your child to become creative, innovative, independent, resourceful, resilient & confident in their own abilities to try new things, and be resourceful enough to tackle anything and bounce back after setbacks.
It will build the positive mindset, motivation & long term self-confidence & self-worth that children need to succeed as they learn to develop a ‘Can Do Kid’ attitude to Life.
8. Lots of people have dyslexia – it’s nothing to be ashamed of, embarrassed about, or means that you are less intelligent.
- More than 2 million people in the UK are severely affected.
- Over 40 million American adults have dyslexia.
- Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing, and spelling difficulties.
- At least 1 in ten people have dyslexia and some statistics suggest 1 in 5.
- Many remain undiagnosed, untreated and struggling with the impact of their dyslexia.
With determination, creativity and a positive mindset children with dyslexia become anything they want in life from successful entrepreneurs, to budding artists, song writers, lawyers, to inventors after they have left school.
The only thing limiting your child is their mindset so relax, support them & watch them flourish.
B.L. Bettner and A. Lew (1989, 2005), Raising Kids Who Can, Newton Centre, MA: Connexions Press.
Dr. Rudoph Dreikers Children: The Challenge” (Plume)
Alfred Adler Individual Psychology Harper Collins