When your child is diagnosed with dyslexia, you may be at a loss for words– especially when it comes to communicating this to them. You want your child to know it will be okay, but you also want to be honest explaining hardships they may face. We hope these tips will help you navigate these conversations smoothly and without fear. Remember: You are talking to your child, so relax and simply be honest.
Be mindful of the environment
When having a conversation about dyslexia, you want the environment to be inviting and relaxing for your child. You may want to take them to their favorite restaurant or park and talk to them there. Make the conversation a positive experience, nothing scary or threatening. Try to avoid a sit-down, formal conversation and instead bring it up in everyday conversation.
When telling your child that they may have some difficulties in school, you want to remind them of how well they are doing. Sometimes learning that they have dyslexia can boost their self-esteem because their difficulties now have an explanation. Other times it can be difficult because the label further separates them from their peers. Remind them of how hard working they are and how proud you are of them. Dyslexics often excel in other areas such as art, sports and the sciences. You can encourage them by showcasing the achievements of other famous dyslexics too!
Normalizing the word
Dyslexia should not be a scary word. Use the word dyslexia open and often, so when they hear it at school or in the doctor’s office they know what’s going on. You want them to be comfortable explaining it to their friends instead of feeling like they need to keep it a secret. Explain it scientifically, and connect specific examples of their struggles with the cause of dyslexia.
Keep the conversation going
Remind your child they can always talk to you about any obstacles they are facing. When you find out new information regarding their dyslexia, share it with them. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Once your child gets Structured Literacy therapy, explain how their brain will be taught in a way that it is built to learn. Continue to discuss difficulties and reward achievements.
How you explain dyslexia to your child is a personal parenting choice, but we hope that these recommendations are helpful. Many parents find it helpful to have the support of a dyslexia expert. You can schedule a Free ($50 value) 15 minute consultation with a dyslexia therapist here.
Taylor is a senior studying communication at NC State University. As the Blog and PR intern for lexercise she utilizes her passion for writing to help inform parents of struggling readers, writers and spellers. She feels a connection to Lexercise through her love for children and their well-being.