My oldest son really struggled to read. And when I say struggled, I mean STRUGGLED.
Every night, we would do the homework the school had sent home. And every night it felt like we were starting from scratch.
When we sat down to read those beginner books, he had to sound out each and every word (if he could.) And then, if a word he had just sounded out would show up on the next page, it was like he had never seen it before.
The “reading specialist” kept telling me he just had to work harder. That we needed to do more at home.
This kid was killing himself trying to get it. Tears. Rage. Avoidance. Exhaustion. Every night it ended with some kind of emotional combo one-two punch for him.
My child did not need to work harder. He needed someone educated in learning disabilities to recognize that he had severe Dyslexia.
As a first-time mom, I was made to feel like I was failing by the reading educator. Can you imagine how they made him feel?
Thank goodness I finally said enough is enough and got an outside evaluation. And even then, we had to find our own resources outside of the school to get him the help and intervention he really needed.
Once I started really understanding what Dyslexia is, I was shocked at how obvious my son’s signs were! Why wouldn’t someone who is supposed to be educated in teaching kids how to read not know these? But you’d be surprise at how many educators are not educated themselves in understanding let alone recognizing Dyslexia in kids.My child did not need to work harder. He needed someone educated in learning disabilities to recognize that he had severe Dyslexia. Click To Tweet
October is Dyslexia Awareness Month… and so I thought it was high-time I start talking to you all about how we’ve been managing Dyslexia in our house.
But before we even get there, you need to understand the early warning signs of Dyslexia and what you can do as a parent.
What are the Early Warning Signs of Dyslexia
Research shows that one in five people in the United States have some sort of learning disability – yet for many children, the problem remains unidentified and undiagnosed far longer than it should. Experts agree that early detection and intervention is extremely beneficial for children who are showing signs of dyslexia or other learning differences.
It’s important to understand the early warning signs of Dyslexia so you’ll know, as a parent, if you need to take action. A child with Dyslexia may have difficulties:
- learning the alphabet, identifying letters, and/or processing letter-sound relationships
- learning nursery rhymes, preschool songs, the days of the week, the months of the year
- learning to count and recognizing numbers
- reading out loud (slow, “choppy” and error-prone)
- breaking word sounds apart, or blending them together
Several other warning signs of Dyslexia in children include:
- a history of challenges in speech and/or language development
- weak fine motor skills, messy handwriting and/or trouble learning to write letters, numbers or even their own name
- trouble with repetitive learning of facts, vocabulary, names of people and places
- trouble with math, especially learning math facts and computation
If a child is exhibiting some of these symptoms, parents should seek an evaluation by an expert in Dyslexia and reading impairments. School psychologists, pediatric neuropsychologists, educational therapists and speech language pathologists are among the different professionals who are qualified to provide a diagnosis.
Personally, we went to a pediatric neuropsychologist who was trained to evaluate for Dyslexia.
Don’t Wait to Get Your Child Help
Dyslexia advocate and Pediatric Neuropsychologist Nichole Dawson, Ph.D., who shared these tips, says that although many children with learning differences actually have above-average intelligence, parents should listen to their instincts instead of waiting it out.
“Studies show that a child’s reading skill level at the end of kindergarten is highly predictive of where their reading skills will be in third grade. The idea that it might just ‘click’ one day if you wait long enough is in fact not substantiated by research.” – Dr. Nichole Dawson
I certainly wish I had listened to my instincts sooner rather than relying on people who were supposed to be the experts. But know this… even if you have waited to get help for your child, it is NEVER too late.
The year we spent going to individual tutoring was torture. My son did not want to go — and he was not shy about letting me know. But rather than letting myself get frazzled, I reminded myself that this intervention was what he needed if he was going to be able to read and be able to do the things in life he wanted to do when he got older.
Now the kid’s a regular reading machine. He spends at least an hour a night reading chapter books. It’s a complete 180! There is joy in reading — even to the point that he has to come downstairs and share what he just read. How can I complain about that?
But imagine the consequences if we hadn’t done the tough work. I shudder to think.Lots of kids with #Dyslexia end up dropping out of school if they never receive help! Click To Tweet
Many individuals with learning differences suffer from low self-esteem as a byproduct of their reading challenges (I certainly saw that with my own kiddo), and large percentages end up dropping out of school if they never receive help. But the good news is that there are many resources that can help children with learning differences achieve reading success.
Dr. Dawson’s recommendation is twofold: “First, the child needs to receive good, highly explicit, evidenced-based instruction in a multi-sensory, structured language curriculum. Secondly, supports and accommodations are very important to minimize the negative impact of dyslexia on the child’s learning success.”
Talk about the Positive of Dyslexia with Your Child
While reading disabilities so often present enormous challenges to families, some parents look on their children’s difference as a gift. Dr. Dawson’s son recently said, “Mom, I don’t know why anyone would not want dyslexia. It makes me really good in building things and being creative and being good with computers, and I can use audiobooks when I need to read something.”
At home, we certainly talk about the benefits of Dyslexia… but we also talk about my son will have to work harder to in some areas to keep up.
To read more about Dyslexia for Dyslexia Awareness Month, consider the following affiliate links:
A special thanks to Pediatric Neuropsychologist Nichole Dawson, Ph.D., for these tips. Dr. Dawson helps families and children with reading and learning disorders through her private practice in Hinsdale, Ill. She also has a son of her own who has dyslexia. Dr. Dawson teamed up with national nonprofit Learning Ally to help inform the public about learning differences and their early “markers” or warning signs.