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 one. Do not wait for educators to take action.
- Self-educate. Do your research. Learn everything you can about dyslexia. Then pick what applies to your child and the circumstances.
- You are your child’s best advocate. If the educators do not understand or do not share your concerns, share information on dyslexia, bring facts to the meetings, and have specific requests.
NEVER STOP ADVOCATING
- Learn your 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.
- Understand the pros and cons of homeschooling and of putting the child in a school for children with learning differences. Get the right interventions for the child. Learn about the multisensory and Orton Gilligham based interventions, as well as systems designed to teach children with dyslexia, such as Wilson Language Training and Barton Reading System.
- Investigate whether health insurance, flexible health-spend accounts, or scholarships can ease the financial load.
- Collect information on dyslexia, bring facts to the meetings, and have specific requests.
- Do not wait! Early intervention is the best and shortest path to success.
CELEBRATE YOUR CHILD
- Recognize the child’s strengths and weaknesses. Embrace the child’s strengths and focus on his or her passions.
- Celebrate progress.
- Put the importance of grades in perspective. A new life starts after the academic journey.
- Do not let grades define the child’s success.
- Be open to assistive technology where appropriate. When used appropriately, such technology 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 parent groups.
- Listen to your child. Truly listen.
- Be open about dyslexia. There is nothing to be ashamed of!
- Stay positive about dyslexia, especially in front of children with dyslexia.
- Cry when you need to; then pick up where you left off 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.