Should I Tell My Child They are Dyslexic?
No matter what age, a child who struggles to read and write can face many challenges to their emotional wellbeing. They feel “dumb” when they can’t keep up with their classmates. They may face teasing from friends when they misspell words in a note or text. Correctly identifying the cause of their learning difficulties is an important step; but after the testing is done and the correct intervention identified, the next question parents face is how or what to tell their child.
In the case of dyslexia, being upfront with a child about their diagnosis can be a cause of great relief and healing. The typical profile of a student with dyslexia includes many strengths. It is critical for a child to be made aware of their strengths since their difficulties in reading and writing can often overshadow these strengths. Sally Shaywitz in her book “Overcoming Dyslexia” states: “It is not unusual for struggling dyslexic readers to come to doubt, or at least question, their own intelligence…reaffirming their intelligence [goes] a long way to begin to repair any bruises to their self-concept.” (Shaywitz, 102-103)
So how do you talk to your child about Dyslexia? Here are a few things to consider:
1. Let your child learn and talk about Dyslexia from an objective authority figure. (Shaywitz, 103) An outside figure can help a child to see a larger perspective on their learning issues, and realize that they are not alone, and help is on the way.
2. Emphasize a “growth mindset.” Reassure your child that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. What matters is that they continue to work hard with the appropriate type of help. To introduce your child to the growth mindset, you can work through this series of lessons: Teaching Growth Mindset
3. There are plenty of books and videos that you can read and watch with your child that explains what dyslexia is, what kind of help they need, and addresses the emotional side of dyslexia. Here is a list of some of the most popular resources:
Videos:Informative Video for kids/ parents by Henry Winkler Informative Video for kids/ parents: “See Dyslexia Differently”
I Have Dyslexia. What Does That Mean?
Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity
University of Michigan Dyslexia Help
If you’d like more information or would like to talk to a dyslexia therapist, click here to schedule a free consultation.