As many as one in five children are estimated to have dyslexia. Navigating this learning difficulty can be challenging, so parents must step up to be the core supporters and guides for their children. This means understanding the implications of dyslexia and becoming comfortable with all areas in which your child may need support.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Be their social and emotional supporter
Understand that dyslexia does not define the limits of your child’s intelligence and communicate this to your child. Besides academic challenges, low self-esteem is a common trait within children with dyslexia because they struggle with expressing themselves and blame themselves for their difficulties. That’s why parents must become their child’s number one supporter to help build up their confidence. This means praising hard-work, explaining the challenges of dyslexia, and helping them realize their strengths.
2. Intervene early on
While many schools recommend dyslexia-based interventions starting from the third-grade, as that’s when gaps between reading fluency between students often become apparent, stepping in as soon as signs of dyslexia begin to appear can help your child in the future. The earlier a child can be supported, the better chance a child has to catch up and boost their self-esteem.
3. Make them comfortable with reading
Many dyslexic students shy away from reading because of their lack of confidence in the area. While forcing your child through tutoring sessions they don’t enjoy can backfire on their studying motivations, encouraging reading times with rewards as well as celebrating small achievements, rather than focusing on their mistakes, will go a long way.
4. Encourage other activities
Low confidence is an unfortunate common consequence for children with dyslexia. As such, encourage activities other than reading that your child enjoys, whether it be sports, arts, or anything they want to try. These activities will help prevent your child from simply fixating on their learning difficulty and boost their self-esteem.
5. Get accommodations at school and beyond
Most students with dyslexia are eligible for school accommodations, including but not limited to extra time on tests, access to recorded lectures, and not having to read out loud in class. Make sure school is always a safe space for your child to study!
Moreover, there are many programs specializing in assisting dyslexic children For instance, the Wilson Reading System (WRS) is an intensive program for grades 2 to 12 designed to help dyslexic students learn seamless decoding and encoding skills. Your child will be placed into a small group where they will receive personalized instructions covering word structure and recognition, vocabulary, comprehension, and more. WRS is also unique in that unlike other programs, it uses fewer pictures so students can recognize terms without the visual assistance. Additionally, WRS’s sound-tapping system has proven to help students break down words by tapping out the sounds.
6. Get at-home study help
Make sure your child feels comfortable learning both at school and at home. You can try a variety of methods to see what works best for your child. Here are some suggestions to start with: breaking up work into smaller chunks, engaging with their reading with guiding questions, having your child teach the material they learned to you, and making a reference binder to establish good study habits.