Receiving a phone call from your child’s school district stating that your son or daughter has been diagnosed with dyslexia is a phone call that most parents would never want be on the receiving end of.
Immediately, thoughts of your child’s future come to mind.
“Will they ever find success in school?”
“Will they ever be able to find a job?”
For many parents, the idea of their son or daughter being diagnosed with dyslexia can be overwhelming. All of a sudden, it becomes evident that your child may not only struggle in school, but also in their daily life.
When the school psychologist explains to you that your son or daughter struggles with reading comprehension, spatial perception, writing skills, and even auditory processing, any mother’s heart would sink. However, what you do need to know is that your child is not alone. In fact, one in ten people have dyslexia. Therefore, your fear that dyslexia will not only affect your child’s ability to succeed in their English class, but it can also their adult life (staying organized with their work schedule and being able to understand a series of directions given by their future boss), is a common fear of mothers across the globe.
So how do you begin to cope?
Although hearing the words that your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability may be difficult to hear, I truly believe that the way in which a child is parented can make a world of a difference.
Children are truly like sponges. They not only look to their parents for guidance as to what is “right and wrong”, but they also look to us for encouragement and praise. This is why it is so essential for children to have a positive outlook on their diagnosis from a young age.
In order to encourage your son or daughter with dyslexia, they need to know these two things:
1.)In actuality, Dyslexia is a gift-
At this point in this article, you may be wondering how on earth having dyslexia can be a gift. However, what many people do not know about dyslexia is how it stimulates creativity. The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity states, “Children and Adults with dyslexia are highly creative, and have many cognitive and emotional strengths”.
Since our children’s schools often thrive on standardized testing, many students are forced to think alike in order to reach the same answer. Since dyslexic children are clearly wired differently, this can become a frustrating process for them to endure. Therefore, as a mother, it is extremely important to stimulate your child’s creativity at home. Encourage your son or daughter to participate in art, creative writing, acting, or even dance. This not only allows dyslexic children to express themselves positively in a creative fashion, but it also allows them to also realize that each individual has their own unique strengths and areas of growth.
While reading comprehension may be a struggle, this can always be learned; creativity is a gift that can only come from within. If your child still needs some extra convincing of just how powerful their creativity can be, check out these famous celebrities who have dyslexia and can thank their creativity for their success: Orlando Bloom, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, John Lennon, Cher, Muhammad Ali, and Henry Ford (just to name a few).
2.)Don’t listen to what anyone else says: With hard work, everybody can succeed.
Whether it’s a discouraging grade, discouraging peers, or in the worst possible case, a discouraging teacher: overall, it is easy for dyslexic children to become discouraged.
They have taken exams in order to diagnose their “disability” that clarifies them as “different”, they often receive work that is different from their peers, and in more cases than not, they have to read with an audio book or possibly with the guidance of a tutor, which inevitably makes them feel different.
Be understanding when your child expresses feelings of extreme frustration.
As I stated before, children are like sponges. They absorb the thoughts of all of those around them. Children are not ignorant to the fact that their given assignments differ from their peers, and they are also not ignorant to the fact that it takes them longer to complete their given work than it takes for their peers to complete theirs.
Therefore, in order to encourage your child in school, it is essential to discuss with him/her how every student learns differently and that it is our differences that make us unique. In addition, it is just as important for your child to know that completing their schoolwork is not a race, and that all hard work from every single child does in fact pay off.
Overall, as parents, we must compliment our children when they finish reading a book. We need to find texts that incorporate our child’s hobbies and interests. We must encourage our sons and daughters by explaining to them that their hardships can be compensated for through hard work and dedication, but their beautiful sense of creativity and emotional strength is a gift from dyslexia that is theirs to keep.