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So your child has dyslexia. We know just how tense it is around your home when it comes to schoolwork. You’re wondering if everything is going to pan out for your child. How will they make it through middle school. Survive high school. Is college even an option?

In a word, yes. Will it be as easy as for other kids? No. No it won’t.
It will take a lot of hard work. But being dyslexic can also have creative, dynamic consequences.

Own it

Your child is not the only one who must come to grips with this diagnosis. You do too.

It’s a hard bit of parenting to slide from the version of your child you wish to have to the real one standing before you. But slide you must, quickly and decisively.

Become that clear-eyed cheerleader your child needs. Practice patience. Notice their achievements. Help them discover their strengths. Keep their lives balanced between the grind of homework and tutoring and the joy of doing whatever it is that they love.

And above all else, know empirically and share wholeheartedly that a dyslexic child will work hard but can succeed.

for parents

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Talking it Through

There are some silver linings with a definitive dyslexia diagnosis. Your child will probably be relieved to learn the condition that explains why they have such a tough time reading. Before this they’ve been thinking they are dumb or slow or perhaps that something is wrong with their brain, and this couldn’t be further from the truth.

A dyslexic brain is normal and healthy. It just works differently.

Let them know that one in five kids has dyslexia, so they are not alone. One in five kids means one in five adults, so assure them that wildly successful people have learned to cope with this condition. And indeed, dyslexics as a group seem to often have:

Amazing creativity Deep
Thirst for knowledge Critical thinking

Assure them that they will learn to read. That it will get easier. Tell them that special tutors and teaching methods that have helped thousands upon thousands of kids just like them will provide a clear path to success.

We cannot stress enough how important it is to work with your child to identify something that they love (dancing, music, art, gardening, whatever) where they can have positive experiences. For a student always studying and struggling, they need things that make them feel victorious, that develop their confidence, and that bring joy.

And lastly, let them know you will be right there with them every step of the way.

Need more info?
Talking to your child »    (From YCDC)
Steering A Child’s Behavior in a Positive Direction »    (From NCLD)

The best advice comes from parents just like yourself. The words that fill us up and give us hope come from parents just like yourself. The triumphs and the traps, we want to hear them all. Come and share what you know with others just like you. Visit our Facebook pageand join the crowd.Visit page »
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Advice From Parents

“Have confidence that your child is going
to discover their underlying strengths.”

– Kyle Redford

Read article »

You are your child’s first teacher, and as such, you stand in an important place to help them navigate through conquering their dyslexia. Here are some priceless pieces of advice from parents just like you.

1 Read to your kids.
Even if they can’t read themselves, read to them. Your reading out loud will improve their vocabulary.
2 Books on tape
Available for free from your library, books on tape (or more likely now on CD) work well because a newly diagnosed dyslexic’s reading level is so much lower than their education or vocabulary levels. After hearing the story, they can then read the book and understand far more.
3 Learn alongside them
If the class is studying the Founding Fathers, go to your local library and get videos and books about the topic. Then dig in and learn along with them. You will most likely be enabling them to learn something other kids in the class won’t.
4 Praise the effort
When a child has truly put in effort, praise them. Acknowledge when the efforts have paid off and even, when, sometimes, even after studying, a test came out poorly. If a child is encouraged to keep working even when the pay off isn’t immediate, that is a wonderful life-long lesson that will stand her in good stead.
5 Be strong
There is no way around the truth that dyslexic kids have to work harder. It takes more effort and time to read, and you just have to help them develop a muscle to get through that. Which, in turn, means you need to be strong too.
6 Communicate with teachers
Every year there is something new we’ve learned, to provide teachers with information because sometimes they just don’t know and they need to be educated and also to support your child because sometimes the feedback might not be perfectly correct and you have to help your child advocate, express, I need more time, really show what their potential is and most of all just understand your child too so that you can relay to teachers and administration what your child’s needs are.
7 Consider summer
Dyslexic kids, more than most, are hungry for a break from the tension of school. Not only do they deserve but they need time to enjoy those passions that bring them true joy. But dyslexic kids need extra unstructured time to address their school issues.Please read this excellent article, “Summer Fun?” from a mother and teacher that will help you consider many of the issues inherent with making a good summer plan for your child. Here’s a link to a listing of ongoing summer programs around the country. It is by no means exhaustive.
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Get Support

When you need someone to lean on, know that many many have walked in your shoes. There are wonderful national and international organizations as well as local parent groups to help you find your way. Here are a few great organizations to start with.

The Economist is touting the importance of dyslexics in the workplace. Do you agree with
“In Praise of Misfits”?Read article »
Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity (YCDC)
YCDC’s mission is to uncover and illuminate the strengths of those with dyslexia, disseminate information, practical advice, and the latest innovations from scientific research, and transform the lives of children and adults with dyslexia. Doctors Bennett and Sally Shaywitz, scientific advisors to The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, were instrumental in the development of the film. Dr. Sally Shaywitz has devoted her career to helping children and adults with dyslexia; her research provides the basis for understanding the disorder. Together, they originated a widely accepted model of dyslexia that emphasizes the strengths seen in people with dyslexia.
Decoding Dyslexia This is a grassroots movement driven by families concerned with the limited access to educational interventions for dyslexia within our public schools. They aim to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support their children and inform policy-makers on best practices to identify, remediate and support students with dyslexia in public schools.
Visit other state sites: Pennsylvania »
Dyslexia Help
The University Center for the Development of Language and Literacy (UCLL) at the University of Michigan is behind Dyslexia Help. A wonderful resource.
The International Dyslexia Association
Serves individuals with dyslexia, their families, and professionals in the field with approximately 8,500 members – 60% in the field of education and 30% are individuals with dyslexia or parents of children who are dyslexic. They operate 44 Branches throughout the U.S. and Canada, and have 21 Global Partners in 18 countries.
LD Online 
LD is the world’s leading website on learning disabilities and ADHD, serving more than 200,000 parents, teachers, and other professionals each month. The site features hundreds of helpful articles, multimedia, monthly columns by noted experts, first person essays, children’s writing and artwork, a comprehensive resource guide, very active forums, and a Yellow Pages referral directory of professionals, schools, and products.
Learning Ally Learning Ally
Learning Ally has a collection of more than 70,000 digitally recorded textbooks and literature titles – downloadable and accessible on mainstream as well as specialized assistive technology devices.
  Mentis Foundation
The Mentis Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to educating the public about dyslexia, enfranchising young people with this learning difference, and supporting their efforts to shape our world. Scholarships given.
Parents Education Network
San Francisco-based Parents Education Network is a coalition of parents collaborating with educators, students and the community to empower and bring academic success to students with learning and attention difficulties.
Project Eye to Eye Eye To Eye
Dyslexic adults mentor dyslexic students as a means of empowerment. Mentors work with students to become positive and informed self-advocates for their needs as learners.
National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is committed to ensuring that all students with learning disabilities graduate from high school with a standard diploma—prepared for college and the workplace.
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