Dyslexia is a condition which is often misunderstood. It is often mistakenly associated with a lack of intelligence, but in actual fact it only really affects reading ability. If it isn’t dealt with, and the student with dyslexia isn’t shown other ways to learn, then this can lead to them not fulfilling their potential academically. However, it doesn’t have to be like that.
What do the following incredibly successful people have in common?
- Leonardo Da Vinci
- Muhammad Ali
- Roald Dahl
- Walt Disney
- Albert Einstein
- Bill Gates
- Fred Astaire
You probably already guessed it – they are / were all dyslexic. They all learned to live with their condition, and refused to let it get in the way of their success. And that means that your child can, too.
So how can you help your child succeed in their education? Here are some useful tips.
Know the signs
Assessments for dyslexia aren’t always conclusive before the age of around seven, but it’s a good idea to be aware of the signs to look out for. That way, you can help your child in the best way possible before and after their assessment. Tell-tale signs include:
- Having ‘good’ or ‘bad’ days without any clear reason
- Jumbling up phrases, e.g. ‘par cark’
- Having trouble clapping, or using rhythmic movements
- Confusing which hand to use when holding cutlery
- Mixing up directional words such as up/down, in/out
- Having trouble with sequences – for instance, following two or more instructions at once, or remembering the order of the days of the week
- A family history of dyslexia/reading difficulties
Get a diagnosis
An assessment for your child can make a huge difference in their school life. Firstly, understanding why they have problems with certain areas can help them to feel less stressed about it, and secondly it will enable both you and your child’s teachers to help your child. The assessment will show your child’s strengths and weaknesses, so that you can tailor the teaching to suit their learning style.
Work with teachers
Your child’s teacher will spend a great deal of time with them, and they could prove a powerful tool in your child’s learning. Establishing a positive parent/teacher relationship early on will enable you to keep well informed on how your child is doing at school, as well as allowing you to keep the teacher up to date about things at home. Also, be sure to pass on important information to any new teachers.
As school can be a struggle, it’s important that you provide plenty of positive feedback for your child. Focus on their strengths at home and encourage your child to have fun. This will reinforce a positive self image and combat any self esteem issues that your child might have, as well as allowing them much needed time to relax.
Deal with bullies
Unfortunately dyslexia can still be used as a weapon by bullies. Encourage your child to be open with you about any issues that arise, and resist the temptation to react angrily if any teasing does occur. Have a calm conversation about how your child can explain what dyslexia is to other children, and chat about how they can deal with bullying behaviour.
Get enough sleep
After working twice as hard as the other pupils at school, many children with dyslexia are often tired. Ensure that your child gets plenty of sleep, and make their bedroom a welcoming, inviting place for them to rest. Stick to a regular bedtime routine.
Don’t label your child
All too often, children are labelled by their families as ‘the dyslexic’ or ‘the asthmatic’. Perhaps those exact words are not used, but through their concern and without the family meaning to at all, they make the child’s main weakness also their main focus. Your child will use their interactions with others to form their own identity, so treat the dyslexia as just one part of them. They are much more than their dyslexia.