Believe it or not, dyslexia is not a scary word. Still, if you are the parent of a child who has been diagnosed with dyslexia, your first reaction to the news might be one of despair. Our hope with this post is to reinforce the message, do not panic.
While dyslexia tends to be an inherited condition that makes it hard for a person to connect sounds with letters, it is not an insurmountable problem. Many notable people are believed to have been dyslexic. Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison are two. Indeed, Edison is quoted as having said, "A teacher sent the following note home with a 6-year-old boy. "He is too stupid to learn." That boy was Thomas A. Edison."
Get help through your public school
That quote by Edison reflects an attitude that once existed but which is now virtually illegal. Federal law requires schools to provide the best possible education to all children, regardless of biological, physical challenges or developmental disabilities they may have. So, if you have a child with dyslexia, here are some suggestions from experts on what you can do to provide support they need to succeed.
The first obvious step is to learn as much about the condition as you can yourself. Once you get your head around the issue and how it may be affecting your child, next steps should include:
- Exploring therapeutic options: This might involve working with specialists to identify and try different interventions to keep the child on a progressive track.
- Arranging dyslexia support at school: Armed with the wisdom of specialists and the right to education by law, work consistently with teachers to be sure services are delivered as part of the individualized education program (IEP) or any so-called 504 plan.
- Incorporating therapy activities into home life: Encourage reading and writing outside of school. There was a time when comic books were frowned upon. Today, many experts agree the combination of images and words in comics and graphic novels can help children with dyslexia.
Another point experts drive home is the importance of consistent positive communication with your child about his or her condition.
By talking to them about dyslexia and keeping an eye out for the possible emotional distress it can generate, you will be able to help your child understand that these challenges don't define them or diminish them in any way.