I developed parenting strategies for a dyslexic child over time, through experience, and as a parent. My emotional range included worry, fear, uncertainty, relief, empowerment, and confusion following the dyslexia diagnosis of my child.
This is a sponsored post in partnering with Educents. Educents.com offers innovative products to make learning fun. All opinions are my own and 100% honest.
It is often said to trust your parenting gut, and as a mom, I was concerned early on when my child was struggling with reading and writing in a way that didn’t line up. You know when you recognize signs that your child is struggling and others may not see it? It’s because you know your child best and you understand their needs.
As a registered nurse, I also knew how academic and physical developmental delays could be linked having worked many years ago in developmental and behavioral pediatrics. The dyslexia diagnosis wasn’t a surprise to us, but it did take a while to confirm and receive proper evaluations.
What I underestimated was the sheer importance of stockpiling a giant toolbox of parenting strategies for a dyslexic child and family. It continues to be a learning process for all of us, but here are some parenting strategies that I acquired over time and may be beneficial with a newly diagnosed dyslexic child:
- Recognize that as a parent of a dyslexic child, you will need to continuously advocate for your child with an unrelenting determination to seek out helpful resources. It’s not always easy to go up against school administrators, and it can be very frustrating. Seek out specialists in your area and dyslexia tutors/advocates that can help you navigate the interventions, programs, and possible school accommodations that may help your child.
- Spend as much time nurturing the emotional needs of a dyslexic child as you do their academic needs. As confusing as it is to us as parents, it can be even more unnerving as a child to look around in confusion and not grasp the rationale for tutoring, extra support, or frustration in learning to read or an inability to spell correctly. Providing reassurance, sharing positive examples of successful people with dyslexia, and emphasis on building strengths while supporting weakness can make a tremendous difference when there is a lot of uncertainty.
- Think outside the box and utilize that skill as a strength of dyslexia. What works for one family, may not work for yours and that is okay. Get creative, ambitious, and energetic to create new ways to learn through experiences. Having fun will make a difference and help offset some of the tougher learning curves. As one example, through my writing and blog, we’ve made family travel a priority. Travel is a hands-on learning opportunity, and it doesn’t have to be to an exclusive destination. Local day trips, daily errands, and household projects can present a chance to encourage dyslexic children to get involved and stretch our own minds in different ways.
- Find alternative outlets to build strengths through extracurricular activities or hobbies. Playing sports, belonging to a group or club, learning an instrument, or exploring hobbies can serve as an opportunity to excel and empower a dyslexic child. Having creative outlets at home can prove to be helpful as well. One example is an electric guitar that my kids enjoy playing, lots of drawing and arts and crafts, and something as simple as a sensory pillow which we all find tremendously relaxing.
- Research and explore options until you find the right path that fits the needs of your family. My dyslexic child has experienced different types of academic settings such as a Montessori school and public school. What works best for one child that may prefer structure, could be the exact opposite for another child that needs more independence. Between alternative learning options, homeschooling, tutoring, and public and private schools, there are more choices than ever. There are also a lot of products that are available for purchase and can be excellent learning resources for dyslexia. You can check them out at https://www.educents.com/specialty/special-needs/dyslexia.
Our reality as a family? There are days when we all struggle, and we make adjustments if we can, and there are days when I acquire a new perspective as a parent and have to be forgiving to myself when it is overwhelming.
What I’ve learned most as a mom and a nurse, is that a dyslexia diagnosis can cause frustration and confusion, but a game plan can be a big help. Our game plan may just be a 2-minute morning meeting before school or a quick recap of our homework schedule to set expectations. The truth about dyslexia is that it is a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity to get creative and develop new plans.
I’ve often been asked to share how I’ve approached a discussion about dyslexia with my child. While it’s a personal decision on how to handle any parenting matter, what works for my family is our own little mantra that I often repeat as needed. I explain that our brains are all wired differently, and it would be boring if we were all the same in this big, beautiful, colorful world. I mention that we all have strengths and weaknesses depending on our wiring, and we all have to learn how to use our strengths and work on our weaknesses.
There isn’t one way to be wired thankfully, and that allows us to be unique and creative. Having a child with dyslexia has helped me remember that we all have to learn how we are wired to become the best version of ourselves.
Thank you to Educents for encouraging an open discussion about dyslexia and learning styles. As mentioned at the beginning, this post was sponsored. All opinions and words are 100% my own and honest.