How To Help Your Child With Dyslexia
You may already know what dyslexia is, that it is hereditary, and that many are dyslexic.
What you need the most is support so you can help your child when the letters become challenging.
As you help your child, you have to keep in mind that no matter what is causing your child’s dyslexia, they are having a difficult time with their letters.
For instance, the feeling of not being able to do anything can arise no matter what causes the reading and spelling difficulties.
Your child’s thoughts and feelings are, therefore, not dependent on the cause of the difficulties.
Understand Your Dyslexic Child Better
It can be difficult to understand what is going on inside your child’s head when the lines on the paper are letters to you but for your child are just lines with no meaning.
All dyslexic people experience their dyslexia in their own way. Therefore, it is difficult to say exactly how your child thinks, feels, and acts when the lines on the paper are just lines.
My work with helping dyslexic children and adolescents has shown me that several common denominators often characterize dyslexic people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Imagine that your child is sitting in school with more than 20 classmates and thinks that he or she is the only one who cannot make the letters say the right sounds.
Then your child might be feeling different and like an outsider. When the apps and tools for dyslexics have to be brought forward in the classroom, it might make it even worse.
When you sit at home with homework, and the mood is down because your child has made all kinds of attempts to avoid doing the homework, then your child might believe that he or she is stupid. Even math tasks are not making sense because there is a lot of text involved in these tasks too.
The whole thing can influence your child’s self-confidence and self-worth, and it can cause other social and psychological challenges. Your child’s overall learning and well-being can be hindered as well.
I have experienced that. My low self-confidence and self-worth made school a place where I didn’t want to spend any more time than necessary.
It can be difficult to see your child challenged that way. But here, it is important to remember the knowledge we have about dyslexia.
Your Child Is Exactly As They Are Supposed To Be
There is no correlation between dyslexia and intelligence. Your child is not dumb because they are dyslexic. And dyslexia is not a disease.
Your child can be seen as different in a school context. Learning is built up around the premise that we should all sit still and learn by reading and spelling. That is precisely what your child finds difficult. But as a human being, your child has just as much worth as any other person. Your child is wonderful.
Your child should not be thinking that he or she “cheats” by using assistive technology. If your dyslexic child could not use any tools to convert letters to sounds, that would be the equivalent of not allowing people with poor vision to wear glasses to see better.
It is possible to learn a lot of strategies so that your child can compensate for the challenges that are caused by dyslexia. Most children find their own ways to solve these challenges since they cannot do it in the same way as their peers.
Unfortunately, not all strategies are positive. You may know this already.
Some children find their own strategies such as making trouble, procrastinating, or becoming very closed off.
I was one of those that made up my own strategy to avoid the letters in school—and also at home when my mum said that it was time to do homework.
I couldn’t sit still and often came up with all sorts of trouble or jokes so that I could get away. That caused a lot of frustration for both my teachers and parents.
It is important to remember that no matter what strategy your child needs to get away from their letters, your child is not doing it because they love to cause trouble or be closed off. Your child just doesn’t want to experience more defeats or get into another situation that they cannot manage.
Imagine Being Dyslexic
If you are not dyslexic, try to think about how much energy you are using to read this text.
It doesn’t take a lot, right?
Now, try to imagine that you had to use as much energy as your child does to read a simple text. Just getting one word to make sense demands an enormous amount of energy.
Get an idea of how much energy your child needs for reading by looking at the text below, where you have to guess which fairytale the text is from.
The text shows how much energy a dyslexic person uses to read a text. A whole lot more than you usually need, right?
It is important to know that the letters are not jumping around and dancing for dyslexic people as they do in this text. It only shows people without dyslexia how much energy dyslexic people use to read.
Help Your Child Accept Their Dyslexia
No matter what thoughts and feelings your child is coping with, you can help your child accept their dyslexia.
It is important that your child can move on in life without being hindered by dyslexia.
Because dyslexia will not disappear.
On the other hand, it’s always possible to be better at reading and spelling with the right professional and parental support. But your child might have to go a different way than his or her peers without dyslexia will journey. Each to their own.
Finding what helps becomes easier to figure out when your child’s thoughts and emotions are not an obstacle to their learning or opportunity to show what they are passionate about and good at.
Remember that all people are good at something. You can always inspire your child to see that, to create a good life, your child does not have to be perfect at reading and spelling.
You can talk with your child about how many dyslexic people in the family or among your friends, and even some famous people, have shown that their dyslexia does not hinder them from getting what they want. They have found their own ways to get around letters by using other strengths.
With the acceptance of their dyslexia, the right professional and parental support, and the software and assistive technology that’s at hand, it is possible for your child to get both an education and a job, just like their peers.