How To Explain Dyslexia To Your Child
Knowing you have dyslexia is a good thing.
Dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. It is part of who you are. Some parents and teachers become worried about 'labelling' their child as having dyslexia - this is wrong! Knowing you have dyslexia is a good thing. Children are always relieved to finally understand why they have been struggling. Dyslexia is a learning difference - yes, school is harder but once you are taught in a different way children will catch up.
Without an understanding of their dyslexia, children continue to lose self-esteem often thinking they are stupid. This can lead to deep unhappiness, depression, anxiety and in some cases a phobia of school.
A diagnosis can be made by an educational professional. If you are unsure, then try a screener first. This will indicate dyslexic tendencies.
How do you explain dyslexia to a child?
A good way to explain dyslexia is to watch a video or use this book Dyslexia Explained.
5 things to explain:
- Dyslexia is genetic. It is passed on through families - there will be someone in your family who also has dyslexia.
- There is no cure because dyslexia is an educational rather than a medical issue.
- Dyslexia just means your brain works differently, making it harder to learn and use written language. School will be tough so you will have to be determined.
- It will take longer to read and write than other children but you can learn to read and write like everyone else when you are taught in a different way - taught in the way you learn.
- Don't just talk about the difficulties, there are many people who believe their dyslexia has given them special talents. One day you will leave school and be able to do the things you are really good at.
Can you think of something your dyslexic child is really good at? Not everyone has discovered the thing they are best at but one day you will.
Never take away time doing something they enjoy and which gives them confidence.
Sometimes, when a child has fallen behind, school tries to make a child spend more time on reading and writing. In fact, doing more of something that did not work the first time is unlikely to make any improvement.
Children with dyslexia should not be expected to work longer and harder than their peers, instead they should work the same amount of time and the teacher have the expectation that they will not be able to produce as much work.
How to explain dyslexia to a teacher:
Teachers are rarely trained to identify or support dyslexia so it is up to parents to help them understand. This will need to be done with every new teacher with reminders several times throughout the year.
Children should understand how they learn and how dyslexia affects them so they can self-advocate.
Go through this book What I Need.
Does dyslexia mean someone has special gifts?
Sometimes it helps a child to know there are many successful dyslexics. This might be a famous celebrity, but just because a person has dyslexia, doesn't mean they'll be a genius! There are many ordinary dyslexics that have succeeded despite having dyslexia. Find a good role model who can explain what they went through.