10 Things Every Parent Should Know

  1. Dyslexia is not only “real,” it is very common. About 1 out of every 5 people worldwide has some degree of dyslexia; some have just a little bit, and others are profoundly affected, but almost all dyslexics can learn to read well.

  2. Dyslexia is inherited. Just like the color of your eyes or skin, dyslexia passes through families from one generation to the next. Not all family members will have it, just like not all family members will have blue eyes. However, there has been so much confusion about dyslexia, many people do not recognize it. Do you have a relative whose spelling is bad, or who doesn’t like to read? He or she may be on the dyslexia spectrum.

  3. Scientific evidence is strong. There is a widely-accepted brain image for normal reading. But many universities throughout the world have also discovered a brain image for dyslexia that does not follow the normal pattern. Significant research conducted at some of those institutions has shown that the brain image becomes normal when the person receives the right kind of instruction. This means the reading disability caused by dyslexia is remediable! Dyslexics will always have a wonderful dyslexic brain, but that doesn’t mean they will always have a reading disability!

  4. Early identification is needed. It’s important to identify dyslexia and begin appropriate instruction before age 7-8. While children’s brains are still at a very moldable stage, they can develop good reading skills much more easily. They may never even develop a reading problem if they receive the right kind of instruction while in preschool or kindergarten. But if your children are older, don’t give up! They can learn to read, too!

  5. Both you and your child need to understand dyslexia. It is not a defect, a deformity, or a disaster! It is simply a difficulty with reading. It may affect how fast you read, your ability to decode words, or your ability to remember the sounds and symbols of reading. Most dyslexics are poor spellers. Some can’t remember what they read. All dyslexics struggle with different combinations of reading problems, but there are many ways to help them succeed. They CAN learn to read!

  6. There is a “Flip Side” to Dyslexia. Dyslexic people may have trouble learning to read, but they also have some amazing gifts. Their brains are actually structured differently, and there are some “right brain” skills where they will learn to excel. Help them find those activities, and give them plenty of opportunity to develop in those areas. (Art, Architecture, Music, Leadership, Athletics, etc.)

  7. Success is a great motivator. Your child isn’t struggling because he or she is lazy. Everyone needs to succeed. Dyslexics should do their own work, but at a level where they can succeed. If they are required to write a book report on a book that is too difficult for them to read, then read it to them. If they can’t write the report, let them dictate it to you or use voice-to-text software, but the ideas need to be their own. This kind of support is called “scaffolding.” Instead of being buried under a hopeless amount of work that they can’t begin to do, dyslexics need to experience success. Then, as they become more competent, we begin to remove the extra help until they can do it on their own.

  8. Don’t use dyslexics’ strengths against them. Please don’t punish them by restricting the time they are allowed to do the things they are good at doing. Dyslexic people usually have to deal with failure and frustration for several hours every day. They need a chance to relax and enjoy the things they do well.Yes, kids need boundaries, but they also need to be kids. Be wise in the ways you discipline them.

  9. Praise and reward them often. Find reasons to praise them for their effort, not just for good grades. Did they do their best? They need to be recognized for making improvement.

  10. Parents need to be cheerleaders for their kids. When a child encounters a huge obstacle, we need to be there to believe in them – even when they don’t believe in themselves – and help them to keep on trying. There are many famous people who have dyslexia. Let your child learn about them and the struggles they had as children.

Dyslexia can be conquered! – Find out as much as you can about it and what works to help a dyslexic to succeed.