How to Help Your Child

Once you have a diagnosis of Dyslexia, coordinating a game plan can seem overwhelming. The next few months may be a bit of an emotional and educational roller coaster for you and your child. There are some steps you can take to begin helping your child.

  • Explain Dyslexia to your child

    • In the most simplified way possible, using age appropriate language, you need to tell your child what Dyslexia is. Use pictures, websites and success stories to help him understand that this is not a disease nor the result of something he did or did not do. Chances are your child already senses that something is different. Knowing that the challenges he faces are typical of one who has Dyslexia may come as a huge relief.

    • Teach him the best way to explain Dyslexia to his peers. He will need to begin advocating for himself. Example: “I have dyslexia and it makes it difficult for me to hear sounds, read quickly, and spell words. The cool thing is that there are lots of people just like me. (Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein)”. The key is to empower him and eliminate any feelings of shame.

    • Help him to determine his strengths and talents. People with Dyslexia are often gifted in areas of creativity, music, out of the box thinking and entrepreneurship. Help him to develop his gifts and talents in positive ways.

    • Develop a game plan together. Include him in the remediation planning and selection of tutors. Allow him to have some control over how he gets the help he needs.

  • Seek appropriate tutoring

    It is vital that you get tutoring services from someone who has been trained in Orton-Gillingham methods of education.

    • Talk with the person who did the evaluation about which interventions are needed. For example, some people need reading intervention immediately, while others may need more assistance with math or handwriting.

    • The testing center may have a listing of resources for you to contact. If they do not make recommendations, then check the websites of local Dyslexia support groups or the International Dyslexia Association for a list of tutors in your area.

    • Some students with Dyslexia will require tutoring as much as 1-2 times each week for 1-2 years. Be ready to stick with it for the long haul. Tutoring remediation is your child’s best chance for success.

    • If an O-G trained tutor is out of your financial comfort zone, seek online and home tutoring options. Some options include:

  • Get plugged into technological resources

    • Learning Ally – www.learningally.org – online non-profit organization that provides Dyslexia support for students by provision of textbooks and literature books on audio files.

    • LiveScribe Pen – www.livescribe.com – Smartpens that can not only record lectures but also send your handwritten notes directly to your computer or tablet.

    • Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition Software – www.nuance.com – Using a digital Dictaphone, students can dictate thoughts and have the voice recognition software transcribe it into text.

    • Apps – there are numerous applications for iPads and tablets that help the student with Dyslexia. Using these can be more like playing games to the student which makes learning fun.

  • Discuss the results report with your child’s teacher and school leadership – get accommodations going as soon as possible.

    • If testing for IEP (Individualized Education Plan) has not already taken place in the school, now is the time to request that testing.

    • Request a meeting with your school system’s 504 coordinator. Students with documented disabilities qualify for the 504 program. This program allows for accommodations in school such as:

      • Book on audio

      • Additional time for test taking

      • Verbal testing

      • Dictated or typed school work (instead of hand written work)

      • Advanced lesson plans (to allow for additional time to work on it)

  • Grow your own knowledge base about Dyslexia

    • There is currently a wealth of resources both online and in book format to help you get started learning all you can about Dyslexia.

    • Don’t try to learn everything at one time. Pace yourself. Talk with the person who evaluated your child or possibly your child’s tutor to determine which resources are most important and begin with those.

    • Go to our “Important Resources Links” page for a list of resources.

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