“Unlocking Potential” for your dyslexic child requires finding the keys to both literacy and self-esteem. For many, early literacy struggles cause lasting negative impacts on self-esteem and confidence. Through structured literacy instruction these students can overcome their literacy challenges, however it is equally important to address the social-emotional impacts of dyslexia.
Supporting your child emotionally
Understanding dyslexia can help your child know that their struggles with reading and writing are not their fault. It is important for children to know that dyslexia is not related to intelligence and that people with dyslexia can be very successful in life. There are many successful dyslexic adults who speak openly about how their early struggles with literacy made them feel. Hearing these stories can help your child know that they are are not alone. Learning about what these individuals have accomplished in life can help your child understand that dyslexia does not limit their potential. It is also important to help your child find success. Support them in their activities or pursuits that bring them joy and make them feel proud of their accomplishments. Building your child’s confidence and self-understanding can help them feel comfortable when advocating for themselves down the road.
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Helping your child understand dyslexia
There are many videos and books that can help you talk to your child about dyslexia in an age-appropriate way.
Finding positive role models
There are many books, videos, and websites where you can find stories of successful dyslexic adults. Understood.org, The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity and the British organization Made By Dyslexia are good places to start.
Looking for Heroes is the true story of dyslexic high school student Aidan Colvin. Over the course of one year, he writes 100 letters to successful dyslexics asking them to share the secrets of their success. He doesn’t expect anyone to write back and is genuinely surprised when people do. This book features letters and interviews with successful dyslexic adults along with Aidan’s own tips for success in the classroom.
Listen to Steven Spielberg talk about his childhood struggles and being identified with dyslexia as an adult.
Dean Bragonier, founder of the non-profit organization Notice Ability will be the keynote speaker at our next conference!
- Celebrate and support your child’s strengths and abilities.
- Praise effort and celebrate progress.
- Encourage their participation in sports, music, arts or other activities that the student enjoys.
Supporting your child’s literacy
Learning about the science of reading and structured literacy can help you understand how to help your child and to become a savvy consumer of educational materials, programs, and services.
ONBIDA has produced two webinars with Kingston Reading Clinic founder Jan MacLean to help parents understand how to help their children learn to read at home. Click here to download the presentation resources.
- Encourage your child to read out loud every day for 10-20 minutes. Use text that is appropriate for their reading level. If a child is in an intervention program, appropriate reading material may be provided.
- If your child is a beginning reader provide them with decodable books and text passages to allow them to practice using the phonics skills they have learned.
- Read to your child every day or encourage them to listen to age-appropriate or grade-level audio-books. This will ensure vocabulary and comprehension development, and keep them interested and excited about books. These books may be at a significantly higher level than their current reading ability. Check your local library for audiobooks or purchase them at sites such as audible.com.
- If your child has a diagnosed reading (print) disability, apply for free access to downloadable audio and e-textbooks through the Centre for Equitable Library Access. In Ontario, sign up online with a library card at signup.celalibrary.ca or contact your public library for assistance. In Quebec, you must apply through the Service québécois du livre adapté (SQLA) using this form (specify on the form that you want CELA service). With a CELA account, you can also apply for free access to Bookshare, an American online library of over 200,000 titles, including New York Times bestsellers, novels, children’s books, mysteries, science fiction, nonfiction, foreign-language books. These books are read using text to speech software (ie. computer voice).