I often get asked what is the best advice I can give to parents who are on the dyslexia journey. Here is what I learned on our journey, what really worked for us and what I wish I knew back then so I would have done things differently.
TAKE ACTION NOW
– Trust your parental instincts. If you think there is a problem, most likely there is. Do not wait for educators to take action. I always believe teachers have the best intentions in heart, but they might not have the tools to identify the underlying reasons for struggling readers.
– Self-Educate. Do your research. Learn everything you can about dyslexia with an open mind. Then pick what applies to the child and the circumstances. Each child is unique and what works for one may not work for the other.
– As parents, we are our child’s best advocates. If the educators do not understand or do not share your concerns, provide information on dyslexia, bring facts to the meetings and have specific asks. Be professional and respectful – especially if you are confident that both sides have the best intention for your child in heart.
NEVER STOP ADVOCATING
– Learn our child’s rights.
– Understand how an advocate or an educational lawyer adds value.
– Teach children to advocate for themselves.
– Do your research about dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia.
– Look for issues beyond dyslexia such as primitive reflexes, visual processing issues, sleep and diet. Some of these are non-evidence based and I do not endorse a single path for anyone. But find what works for you dyslexic one.
– Understand the pros and cons of homeschooling and the schools for children with learning differences.
– Get the right interventions for the child. Learn about explicit, intensive, systematic, multisensory instructions such as Orton Gilligham based interventions and instructions to teach children with dyslexia.
– Investigate whether the health insurance, flexible health-spend accounts or scholarships can ease the financial load.
– DO NOT WAIT! Early intervention is the best and shortest path to success.
CELEBRATE YOUR CHILD
– Recognize the child’s strengths and weaknesses. Embrace their strengths and focus on their passions.
– Celebrate progress.
– Put the importance of grades in perspective. A new life starts after the academic journey.
– Do not let grades define their success and happiness.
– Be open to assistive technology where appropriate. When used appropriately, it evens the playing field.
– Teach children to believe in themselves no matter what others say about their abilities.
– Be patient
– Be compassionate
– Join support groups such as Decoding Dyslexia or Facebook dyslexia groups.
– Listen to the child. Truly listen.
– Be open about dyslexia. There is nothing to be ashamed of!
– Stay positive about dyslexia, especially in front of the children with dyslexia.
– Cry when you need to, then pick yourself up where you left and continue fighting.
NEVER GIVE UP on your child’s abilities to be successful – even if it means redefining what true success is.
Believe that children with dyslexia are brilliant because they can think outside the box. They are kind because they know what it means to struggle. They are successful because they do not give up on when things get tough. And neither do their parents…