Explaining Dyslexia to Your Child

Learning that your child has dyslexia can be a complicated feeling for many parents. Some parents feel relief and others feel worried over the future of their child. But as much as this information can be world changing for parents it is even more so for the child.  A variety of sources recommend different ways to explain dyslexia to your child and begin you and your child’s education journey together.

Step 1: Reassure your child that they are not “stupid” or less intelligent than others.

As a result of misinformation, and false stereotypes some children may believe that a learning difficulty makes them less intelligent. This is not true and it is important to reassure your child of this fact.

Photo Credit: pan xiaozhen on Unsplash 

Step 2: Explain to your child what dyslexia is and how it is affecting them

Dyslexia is not a “one-size-fits-all” learning disability. Dyslexia affects every child differently. Although there is no “kind” of dyslexia, like there is in diabetes, for example, there are different types that create a unique profile for a child and their own personal struggles. These different types include phonological dyslexia, surface dyslexia, rapid name deficit, and visual dyslexia. Communicating the types of dyslexia your child has can make the concept of dyslexia easier to digest.

 

Step 3: List the positive effects/outcomes of dyslexia

Dyslexia to many can seem to be a burden when in fact having dyslexia can bring tonnes of positive outcomes. Dyslexia Scotland lists the pros of having dyslexia as:

  1. Strong visualisation skills (being great in art, science, crafts, and engineering)
  2. Strong Problem-solving skills
  3. Strong interpersonal skills

 

A parent from the Yale center for Dyslexia & Creativity said that when she talked to her daughter about her dyslexia, she always reminded her of the things she did well and supported those things.

http://dyslexia.yale.edu/resources/parents/what-parents-can-do/talking-with-your-child-about-dyslexia/ )  

 

Step 4: Show the child that they are not alone

Many children when diagnosed with dyslexia feel isolated and alone. It is crucial to reassure children that they are not alone. (In fact according to Dyslexia Scotland 1 in 10 people have dyslexia.) One way to do so is to show children the many successful people that have dyslexia. Below are just a few of the countless people with dyslexia:

  1. Pablo Picasso,
  2. Muhammad Ali
  3. Steven Spielberg, Director
  4. Magic Johnson, Basketball Hall of Famer
  5. Cher, Singer, Actress
  6. Agatha Christie, Detective Author
  7. Jamie Oliver, Chef & TV personality
  8. Tom Cruise, Actor
  9. Richard Branson, Entrepreneur
  10. Albert Einstein, Sciientist

 

Step 5: Keep the Conversation going

Dyslexia is a lifelong struggle and thus a life-long conversation. It is important to continue discussing your child’s dyslexia with them and how it is affecting their life. Resources such as books and videos can help continue the discussion. Below are a few resources to continue the conversation.

  1. Tom’s Special Talent by Kate Gaynor
  2. It’s Called Dyslexia by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
  3. Dyslexia: A Teenager’s Guide by Sylvia Moody
  4. Dyslexic Brains Learn Differently by the students of the Reading Class at Ennis National School, Co. Clare
  5. Talking it Through by Althea Brian
  6. My Little Brother by Chieko Tateno
  7. The Teenage Guide to Stress by Nicola Morgan
  8. Dyslexia: A Parent’s Survival Guide by Christine Ostler
  9. CBBC Newsround ‘My Dyslexic Mind’ – programme about dyslexia

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