If you’ve just learned that your child has dyslexia, it can be reassuring to know two things. First, dyslexia is a common learning issue that many successful people have. Second, there are proven teaching strategies and accommodations that can help. Learn what you can do next to get your child the support she needs at school and at home.
Learn all you can about dyslexia.
Understanding her challenges is key to getting your child the best help. Learn what dyslexia is and isn’t. Discover how the dyslexic brain works differently. And get an idea of what your child may be experiencing.
Investigate dyslexia treatments and therapies.
Talk to your child’s doctor about treatment or therapy options. These might include working with a reading specialist or a speech-language pathologist. Ask any questions you may have about other therapy options or specialists who might help.
Discuss dyslexia supports and services with your child’s school.
Schedule a meeting with the school and bring copies of any reports from doctors or specialists. The school may have done its own evaluation. But an outside evaluation and recommendations could help with the IEP or 504 plan process. Talk about any supports and services that might be helpful, such as accommodations and assistive technology like text-to-speech software.
Talk with your child about dyslexia.
Consider what to say (and what to avoid saying) when introducing her to the concept. Help her understand how dyslexia might affect her in certain areas, including her social life.
Teach your child to self-advocate.
Talk through some of the ways she can ask for help when her dyslexia makes it clear she needs it. Starting in grade school or middle school, learning how to self-advocate is a skill that can offer benefits throughout her life.
Understand the possible emotional impact.
Kids with learning and attention issues can have a higher risk for mental health issues. Read about the connection between dyslexia and anxiety, and learn the signs of anxiety and depression. Talk to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns.
Learn what you can do at home.
Look into fun ways to encourage reading and writing outside of school. There are also strategies you can try at home to help with dyslexia. Tap into her interests and use her strengths. Create a homework space that works for her. Learn ways to build her self-esteem and help her stay motivated.
Contact your local Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) to learn about dyslexia services near you. And connect with other parents of children with dyslexia in our community.
Keep in touch with the school.
It can be helpful to know what your child’s teachers are seeing in the classroom. Staying in contact with them can keep you on the same page about whether her supports and services are working. Explore questions to ask about the school’s reading instruction. And learn about multisensory instruction, which can be very helpful for struggling readers.
Remind your child that dyslexia doesn’t define her.
Sit together and watch movies that feature dyslexia. Explore dyslexia success stories. Encourage her to read books that feature characters with dyslexia. Let her know that her reading issues don’t define who she is or limit what she can do.