When your child is already struggling, they might see a dyslexia diagnosis as even more bad news. And, since this challenge affects you as well, you might feel this way, too.
If so, we’re here to tell you that this diagnosis is actually good news. First, dyslexia is a common struggle and there are many proven ways of dealing with it. So, now that you’ve received this diagnosis, you and your child can and will learn how to overcome it.
Secondly, we are going to share many such tips in the following guide. Use these tips to give your struggling child the help and support they need.
1. Explain Dyslexia to Your Child
Helping your child understand dyslexia is very necessary but also very tricky. Most children are sensitive enough about their weaknesses. Those with learning disabilities are even more so.
It’s easy for them to see themselves as stupid, especially if other children ridicule them about it. It’s also hard when those who mean well, like teachers, don’t understand the problem or how to help the struggling child.
That’s why it’s so important to clearly explain the situation to them. Namely, they need to know that dyslexia is common, that it’s not their fault, and that it does not mean that they are stupid. They must know that they are dealing with an actual, nameable, tangible challenge that their other classmates don’t have to deal with.
2. Let Them Know That They Are Not Alone
That last point might make your child feel isolated and alone. They may feel as if no one else has this problem to deal with. And if no one understands them, no one can help them.
It’s important to reiterate that there are thousands of other kids and adults that struggle with dyslexia. Plus, there are many people ready and willing to help them through it.
3. Work With The School
Once your child is diagnosed with dyslexia, you need to talk to your child’s school about it right away. The teachers and educational staff need to know that your child has different needs than their classmates.
Ideally, there should be protocol in place at your child’s school to help children with this very common learning disability. Usually, this means that your child will be given more time to complete tests, plus alternative means of completing and submitting work. There may even be additional skill-building classes or other programs available to support your child.
The school should also communicate with you if they are not prepared to support your child in these ways. But, in case they don’t, be sure and keep discussing with your child whether this particular learning institution is helping them or leaving them behind.
4. Make Sure Your Child Is in the Right Learning Environment
You may find out through the communication steps above that the school your child attends is not a good fit. If so, don’t hesitate to pursue alternative educational environments for your dyslexic child.
We at Sage School, for instance, use an approach specifically developed for teaching dyslexic children how to learn. It’s called the Orton-Gillingham approach and you can keep reading here.
5. Read With Your Child (A Lot)
There are 3 main things dyslexic children need the most practice with: reading, reading, and more reading. Everyone improves their reading skills with practice.
Those with dyslexia are no exception. Plus, they need more improvement than those without. Therefore, make sure they get all the practice they can.
Obviously, this can be very frustrating for dyslexics and those instructing them. It helps to find the subject matter they’re most interested in. This way, they want to keep reading to find out what happens next.
The type of reading practice makes a difference too. That is, there are a lot more ways to read besides printed words on pages.
Try interactive reading programs/games, sing-along videos, and reading out loud together with your child. Basically, try every method and every topic with your child until you find those that work best.
6. Help Your Child With Organization
Dyslexic children also have trouble with organizational skills. It will be hard for them to keep track of school assignments and supplies without help and support from you.
You can also help them learn how to plan and schedule the tasks they need to get done. Teaching them to use a planner and to list what they need to do each day is a good example. Also, explain and demonstrate how to break up large tasks into smaller ones and how to prioritize them.
7. Emotional Support
The best way to provide emotional support for a dyslexic child is to simply be there for them. Keep your schedule open when they get home from school so you can talk and listen about how their education is going. Be attentive to and understanding about their emotional state.
Be reassuring and encouraging, but do so without nagging. Make sure they feel cared about, not judged.
Celebrate every success. And especially encourage the things they are very good at and enjoy doing. These activities give them something to look forward to despite how difficult everything else in their life is.
Lastly, your child’s life and their relationship with you shouldn’t only be work, work, work. Spend plenty of time relaxing and having fun with your child, too.