When you find out your child has dyslexia your world stops for a moment. Once your process the news the world speeds up into hyperdrive as you try to navigate what is best for your child. You may feel guilty for pushing your child to “try harder”, not realizing their brain simply isn’t wired to approach reading in a traditional way. As a result, you may decide your child “isn’t ever going to be a reader” and back-off from pushing your child to grow their literacy skills. This is not what you should do according to psychologist Daniel T. Willingham; and we agree.
Willingham is a renowned professor at the University of Virginia and specializes in early education neuroscience and cognitive psychology. He is author of “Why Don’t Student’s Like School” and has just released his new book “Raising Kids Who Read”. Willingham says “I think backing off is exactly the wrong message. Doing so says, ‘I indicated before that reading is important, but now that I see you’re having trouble, let’s pretend it’s not.’ The child won’t be fooled. The child will conclude that the problem is too terrible to be openly discussed” (2015). Instead of “backing-off” try normalizing the difficulty. Tell your child that you recognize their struggle and explain to them the value of hard work especially towards something that doesn’t come easy to them. In addition, highlight their skills that do come easily to them weather it be another school subject like math, or their musical ability etc. This approach will strengthen your child’s growth mindset.
Lastly, by normalizing your child’s dyslexia it will help them realize that they aren’t any less capable than anyone else. They will start to see their dyslexia as less of a weakness and more of a reason to approach tasks in a different way than others would. Again, by highlighting their strengths they will realize that they have a lot to offer the world and can even utilize their strengths to combat their weakness. So, take a deep breath and continue to foster characteristics like hard work and determination in your child.
One of the many great things about Lexercise therapy is the bond that you will form with your therapist. All of our therapists are wonderful at supporting you and your child in developing a growth mindset. Click here to schedule a free 15-minute consultation ($50 value) with one of our therapists to learn if Structured Literacy therapy would be right for you and your child.
Willingham, Daniel T. “Conclusion.” Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Print.