What to Do If You Suspect That Your Child Has Dyslexia
Dyslexia is a common language-learning disorder found among school-aged children. Kids with this condition often have trouble matching letters and sounds together, but this doesn’t mean dyslexia is in any way an indicator of intelligence. If your child has dyslexia, he or she can still learn to read with your help and cooperation. Keep scrolling below to see how you can help your child to keep up with school and feel better with himself.
Make sure you get the diagnosis right
Contrary to popular opinion, “backward reading” isn’t necessarily a sign of dyslexia. A better indicator would be if your child is struggling to learn the alphabet, pronounce words, recognize rhymes, or spell words correctly. Confusingly enough, a dyslexic child might be brilliant in other areas yet still struggle with language. If you can’t figure out why your child is having trouble learning you can request an evaluation through your school district.
Sign up your child for an IEP
An Individualized Education Program, or IEP, is a special learning program which emphasizes individualized support and ensures that each student can learn at their own pace instead of being rushed by the school year calendar. For children with dyslexia, their difficulty to relate words and sounds can often be overcome using a multi-sensory instruction approach, which is a highly-effective alternative to the traditional letter/sound method used in most classrooms.
Turn reading into a fun family pastime
For most children, learning how to read can be a boring, repetitive task. However, for children with dyslexia, reading lessons can create additional feelings of anxiety and frustration, especially if they feel they’re being left behind by their classmates.
You can offset these feelings by turning your child’s reading lessons into a fun family experience. Whether it’s listening to audio books while both read along, taking turns reading your child’s favorite books together, or branching into exciting comic books and asking questions like, “what do you think happens next?” before turning the page.
Make your child feel loved and supported
Sadly, it’s not uncommon today to hear dyslexia being used as a negative label. That’s why it’s so important that you let your child know that there’s nothing wrong with taking more time to learn how to read and that there are ways to overcome language learning obstacles.
Don’t be afraid to explain what dyslexia is to your child. For most kids with this condition, having it well explained by an adult they love can bring a great sense of relief – especially once they understand that being different doesn’t make them “stupid.” At the same time, don t let your child slack on homework. You need to ensure your kid sticks to a routine while also showing your full love and support.
Although there is no cure for dyslexia, children with this condition can make great progress learning and grow up to become happy, fulfilled adults. The key to making this possible lies in having an early intervention, as well as in establishing proper cooperation between parents and teachers.
If your child has dyslexia, you shouldn’t let the social stigma surrounding this condition deter you from finding a solution. Make sure you get a full diagnosis as early as possible and, with your love and support, your child will be able to reach his/her full potential at his/her own pace.
Visit Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity for helpful tips for struggling readers.