Children with dyslexia are often characterized by their inability to learn how to read quickly and easily, but that’s far from the only challenge they face as they grow up.
Dyslexia is not about intelligence, but about how the brain processes information differently, making it difficult to learn things like language and maths skills.
Having dyslexia can make everyday tasks challenging, so parents have to be patient and compassionate with their children, while at the same time always working towards helping them achieve their full potential.
These 9 good parenting skills will help you to be the best parent possible to your dyslexic child.
But before that,
Let’s have a look at some basic knowledge that you must have before diving into it.
What Is Dyslexia? What Causes It? And, what are the signs of dyslexia in a child?
Dyslexia in children has become increasingly common over the past several decades, with one study citing that it affects up to one in every five children today.
However, this doesn’t mean you should simply roll over and accept it as part of your child’s life or that there’s nothing you can do about it.
Dyslexia in children can be treated and even prevented through some simple lifestyle changes.
/// Introduction to dyslexia in your children
Commonly misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder), dyslexia is actually a completely different learning disability that can affect both children and adults.
Often characterized by difficulty with reading comprehension and writing—but not spelling—dyslexia is a condition that’s most prevalent among younger individuals (those whose brains are still developing).
/// The causes of dyslexia in children
Much is still unknown about dyslexia. However, there are some clues as to what causes it.
One theory is that there may be a problem with how information is processed by certain areas of the brain that control reading, spelling, and maths skills. Specifically, these areas are thought to be located on both sides of your brain called temporal lobes.
When you read or write, messages travel from your eyes or fingers (depending on if you’re writing or typing) to these regions of your brain. These messages then need to get sent back out so you can understand them.
If something goes wrong during any part of that process—for example, if signals get crossed along the way—you might have trouble understanding words on the paper when you read them.
This could cause you to make mistakes when spelling or copying down numbers. Researchers believe that children who struggle with dyslexia have difficulty filtering out background noise while they are trying to focus on reading, which makes it harder for them to pick up on subtle differences between similar-sounding letters like b and d.
It also makes it more difficult for them to remember where individual letters go in relation to each other within words—for example remembering that b always comes before d in the word bad.
/// The symptoms of dyslexia in children
Every child experiences symptoms of dyslexia differently. The International Dyslexia Association lists some common signs to look for in a child who might be struggling with reading or spelling.
These include difficulty with rhyming words, blending sounds together, recognizing and producing letters (like b/d), writing letters backwards (like p/q), difficulty remembering how to spell simple words like cat or dog and more.
If you notice any of these signs in your child—or if you suspect they have dyslexia—you should bring it up at their next doctor’s appointment. They may need an evaluation from a speech therapist or other professional to determine whether they do, indeed, have dyslexia.
In fact, experts recommend that all children receive early screening for learning disabilities, including dyslexia.
And parents can help by asking questions about their child’s development as well as expressing concerns about his or her progress at school.
If a teacher suspects that your child has a learning disability, he or she will probably refer them to get tested as well.
/// The treatments for children with dyslexia
Researchers still aren’t sure what causes dyslexia. As such, there is no medical treatment for dyslexia.
But there are several treatments available that can help ease symptoms. Some of these include speech therapy, occupational therapy, vision therapy and special tutoring.
Many children with dyslexia also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which requires additional treatment to manage symptoms.
If your child doesn’t like reading because he can’t understand what he’s reading, one possible solution is vision therapy.
This type of treatment helps treat underlying problems by improving eye movement patterns and focusing skills.
Vision therapists teach exercises that help improve eye tracking. They may even recommend wearing prism glasses to enhance convergence skills if they notice problems while testing eyesight during exams.
If your child has dyslexia, talk to his or her doctor about possible treatments. The earlier you begin a treatment plan, the better it will be at helping your child reach his or her full potential.
Anyway, now let’s get back into the main topic—how can parents help their child with dyslexia?
(1) Encourage Your Dyslexic Kid
The best way to encourage your child is to be encouraging yourself. Stay positive. Use patience and care when talking with your child, especially when things are tough or frustrating for them.
If you can’t practise good parenting skills such as patience, go find something to do that will help take your mind off of whatever is bothering you until you can get a grip on your emotions again.
Teaching our children patience as parents do wonders for their self-control and self-worth as human beings later in life.
This isn’t just about teaching our kids how to read; it’s about being good people and helping others around us succeed.
We all want what is best for each other, so let’s make sure we’re doing everything we can to make that happen!
(2) Build Patience to Help Your Dyslexic Child
Sometimes it’s easy to lose patience with your dyslexic child. When a parent loses patience with their child, they tend to turn on them and that can be tough for anyone, but when your child is already going through enough at school or day-to-day life because of their dyslexia then that just adds to everything.
To make sure you never lose patience with your child, read up on strategies and tips so you’re prepared for those hard days. It’s also important and effective parenting skills to find ways to calm yourself down so you don’t become too stressed out which will only add more stress onto your child.
You want to be there for them, not add more problems onto their plate.
(3) Give Choices to Manage Your Child’s Dyslexia
Giving your child choices is a powerful way to teach self-determination. It also serves as a model for your child to practice making decisions and gives them a voice in their own life.
So, if you ask your kids what they want for dinner, and they say that they’re not hungry, give them options from which to choose.
When it comes time to get ready for school, have an outfit laid out and put on the bed with some options for shoes or accessories.
By giving your children choices is a very effective parenting skill as you are empowering them to take ownership of their lives. This kind of positive reinforcement will help develop important skills for adulthood.
(4) Set Limits to Prevent Dyslexia in Your Child
When setting limits with a child who has dyslexia, it’s important to make clear statements in a positive manner.
You can play for 20 minutes and then it’s time to get ready for bed. You can pick up three toys before I call you to dinner. Rather than simply saying No more toys! We have to clean up now!
Good parenting skills like these are much easier for a child with dyslexia to understand and follow. It’s also helpful to set limits when they are easy to enforce—such as during mealtime or while getting dressed.
It might be difficult for your child to remember that he or she is not allowed to play with Legos at breakfast or that she needs to put on her socks before shoes if those rules are being imposed during other times of day.
(5) Communicate Clearly With Your Dyslexic Child
Have you ever tried to talk to someone who is hard of hearing?
You find yourself shouting and repeating everything over and over again, but you still can’t be understood.
This is how your dyslexic child feels every day at school. Help him/her by teaching them these communication skills as early as possible so they will have a leg up when it comes time for schooling.
Here are some tips –
#1 Use short sentences with simple words. If you speak slowly and clearly, most people with ADHD or learning disabilities will understand what you say. However, if you speak quickly or use long words, it becomes difficult for them to follow along. When communicating with your child (or anyone else), try using one-word sentences instead of multi-word sentences whenever possible. It’s one of the highly effective parenting skills as it makes things much easier!
#2 Speak at a slower pace. People with dyslexia have a hard time processing information quickly, so they tend to tune out when someone is talking too fast. By speaking more slowly, you give them more time to process each word before moving on to the next sentence. This helps ensure that they actually hear everything that’s being said!
#3 Talk directly to your child. As parents, we often find ourselves telling our children things like Don’t talk back or Stop interrupting me! Unfortunately, these kinds of statements can make kids feel as though they aren’t worth listening to—which can lead to even more problems down the road. Instead, try making eye contact with your child while he/she is talking and respond by saying something like I know how upset you are about missing practice today.
(6) Don’t Give Up on Discipline for Your Dyslexic Kid
Discipline is not about punishment, and it’s not about your child earning more privileges—it’s about teaching your child to do what he needs to do without being told.
To help your child develop self-discipline and self-control, work on these good parenting skills –
(1) Be consistent with rules and consequences;
(2) Reward good behavior;
(3) Have realistic expectations for your child;
(4) Give positive feedback;
(5) Use effective communication techniques;
(6) Don’t give up when things get tough.
Remember that you are your child’s most important role model. If you are trying to teach him something but can’t seem to break through, consider taking a look at yourself first before assigning blame elsewhere.
What could you be doing differently?
How can you show him how much you love him while also helping him grow into a mature adult?
Ask these to yourself.
(7) Create a Stimulating Environment for Your Dyslexic Child
Make it a priority to keep your child’s environment stimulating. The more experiences he has, from simple moments in nature to concerts and plays, to international travel—the more he’ll have to draw on later in life.
And exposure to a multitude of stimuli will go a long way toward developing skills such as creativity and problem-solving—both of which are vital for those with dyslexia and also one of the most effective parenting skills.
When you can’t take him along, talk about what you saw or heard together when you return home. Let him lead conversations and encourage his questions by responding thoughtfully to everything he says.
If possible, hire a tutor or attend adult education classes together.
If that’s not an option, see if there are any other families in your neighborhood who would be interested in setting up an informal reading group or play date once a week.
(8) Be Positive and Patient to Your Dyslexic Son/Daughter
Children with dyslexia are going to be more sensitive than other kids, so it’s important to provide a positive and patient environment where they feel accepted.
With dyslexia often going hand-in-hand with other challenges, including ADD/ADHD, anxiety or executive function disorder, it can be challenging for parents to handle all of these challenges at once.
While most children thrive on structure and consistency, your child may not—so it’s critical that you adapt your effective parenting skills accordingly.
Be aware of how much energy you have each day, and plan accordingly.
If you need some help keeping up with daily activities (dinner prep, laundry), enlist family members or friends to help out; if possible, get someone who is familiar with your child’s special needs.
(9) Take Care of Yourself
It may seem like caring for your child is your number one priority, but if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help your child in any way.
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed or feeling as though you can’t do anything right as a parent, seek help from a therapist or other professional immediately.
A simple class on good parenting skills can be extremely beneficial for helping dyslexic parents better understand their children and their unique needs.
And remember that it isn’t always easy being a parent, especially when your child has special needs; give yourself credit for all that you do. You are doing everything possible to raise an amazing kid!