As a student, being diagnosed with a learning disability such as dyslexia is a challenge. Not only does it make a child feel “singled out” and “different”, it can cause other issues as well.
People on the outside of the diagnosis looking in may assume things about the learner. For instance:
- They may assume that the child is not as intelligent as others
- They may think that the diagnosis has something to do with living conditions or developmental experience
- They may even think that the learning disability is a result of neglect on the part of the parents.
In order to effectively treat these children, we must not only understand the nature of the dyslexia, but we must also understand where they are coming from emotionally in order to nurture the whole child.
What is dyslexia?
As parents and educators, it is important to know that dyslexia is a biological disorder, not a social/emotional dysfunction. Dyslexia runs in the genes; parents who struggle with dyslexia and other related disorders are far more likely to have children with similar diagnoses. When we view it from an objective biological lens, it is easier for everyone involved to separate academic performance from social emotional concerns that may be happening simultaneously. It is important that all concerns are addressed as a child moves through school, to provide support where it is needed and strengthen areas of weakness as they become known.
What is my child thinking?
A diagnosis of dyslexia for your child is earth shaking for parents. Just what is your child going through as they learn of their “label”, and learn to navigate their learning path in a different way? Most preschoolers who have been diagnosed are just as happy and well adjusted as other students, with struggles beginning to emerge as they realize that the way they desire to learn and the way they are able to learn do not necessarily match up. What is your child thinking about himself, and what is he thinking about his strengths and weaknesses as he comes to terms with his pathway to success? Here are some things that your child might wish to tell you.
“I know I have this challenge, but I’m not stupid.”
Your child may feel different from others, and this can be a frustrating experience. When children begin to differentiate from their peers, it can cause feelings of anger, sadness, and even grief that their process will be more difficult. However, they are not unintelligent, nor should they be treated as such. A child with dyslexia may have gifts in other areas that far exceed those of his peers, and those should be nurtured while dealing with learning challenges to help build self esteem and confidence in his abilities.
“I am sad at times that I can’t do things as well as others.”
Competition is a normal part of development. A child looks at others to determine what he should be doing, and assesses his level of normalcy based on what he perceives. It may make your child sad that he has a learning disability, but you can help him overcome these temporary feelings of sadness by focusing on his successes, strengths, and reinforcing your unconditional acceptance of who your child is at his core.
“I have to work harder than others to get what I want.”
That is true—a child with dyslexia has to work twice as hard at tasks like speaking and comprehension, because what he sees and translates initially does not make sense. Once he develops strategies for coping with this challenge, and learns to manage the mental and sometimes physical exhaustion that come with it, he will use his successes to propel him forward in achieving even more.
“Sometimes I just don’t understand, and I can’t express myself.”
A child with dyslexia struggles with comprehension AND expression, and sometimes the demand for verbal expression may simply be too much for him. Providing materials that he can work with, such as visuals and drawing aids, may help him to understand and communicate with the world around him as his language skills develop.
“I may be different, and I may have this challenge, but I will learn to deal with and overcome it.”
Everyone has good days and bad days. On good days, your child may feel like he can deal with his unique learning pathway, and that it is okay to be different. In actuality, dyslexia is far more common than most people realize–a projected 40 million Americans have dyslexia, with only 2 million having an actual diagnosis of the condition. On bad days, however, your child will need extra academic, emotional and social support, and you will need to remind him that it is okay to be who he is. He is not alone.
Partnering Together For Success
No one knows your child better than you do. If you suspect that your child is struggling with a learning disability of any kind, partner together with their teachers to determine what the best course of action is for him. Dyslexia is an opportunity to rise above challenges and experience success amidst adversity.
At My Multiplication Magic, we have tools and knowledge to help your child succeed, no matter what challenges he faces. Our innovative approach to learning combines engaging activities and one on one support to create success after success. Contact us today at www.mymultiplicationmagic.com for more information on how to help your child succeed in school and in life. Learning should be fun; let us help show you and your child the joy of learning once more. Here’s to your continued success!
Marianne, et al. “The Emotional Side of Dyslexia: A Child’s Perspective.” Homeschooling with Dyslexia, 19 Mar. 2018, homeschoolingwithdyslexia.com/emotional-side-dyslexia/.
Mailonline, Abigail Beall For. “What It’s REALLY like to Read with Dyslexia: Simulator Reveals How Letters and Words Appear to People with the Condition.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 7 Mar. 2016, www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3480257/What-s-REALLY-like-read-dyslexia-Simulator-reveals-letters-words-appear-people-condition.html.
“Social and Emotional Problems Related to Dyslexia.” General Information About Speech and Language Disorders | LD Topics | LD OnLine, www.ldonline.org/article/19296/.