Your child will be painfully aware of the difficulties they experience at school but knowing exactly why they have these problems can be a complete game changer for them. This post outlines 5 reasons why your child really needs to understand the nature of their problems.
1. It is the key to success!
When your child knows why they are having these issues, they are less likely to give up. Dyslexia is a term used to describe a range of difficulties from reading problems to having trouble getting ideas down on paper. If your child has a good understanding of what their difficulties are and why they are experiencing them and, importantly, how they can overcome them using their learning strengths, this knowledge will set them off on their road to self discovery and learning. Research by the Frostig Centre in California has shown that self awareness and self knowledge is a factor in dyslexic students being successful.
2. They will develop their own learning strategies.
A recurring theme amongst successful, dyslexic students is that they taught themselves strategies that worked for them. The reason they could do this is because they understood why they were having the difficulties and they also understood where their strengths lay. This will also be a key factor in your child's learning.
3. It will increase their self esteem and confidence.
The key thing you want to avoid is for your child to feel that they are stupid - this is a really destructive thought for your child to have and extremely prevalent among those assessed as having dyslexia.
It is more likely to occur when they don't understand their own difficulties and have yet to recognise the strengths that they do possess. According to the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, ' He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened'.
Once your child knows their strengths, they will be able to make better decisions about their future - studying subjects they will enjoy and be successful in and choosing careers which play to their strengths. A friend's child made a change in her career recently because she felt that her strengths would shine through in running a catering company rather than trying to climb the ladder as an analyst.
4. When they understand their difficulties, they can advocate for themselves effectively.
Another key problem I hear all the time from my dyslexic students is that they are treated like an idiot by a teacher because they are having difficulty with something that is viewed as basic ( like not putting in punctuation or not reading fluently when they are in secondary school).
When your child really understands why they do things in certain ways, they can explain their difficulties better to the teacher or the teaching assistant and hopefully get them on board with helping them. " They shouldn't have to do this" , I can hear you shouting! I would agree - but the reality is that most teachers and teaching staff do not fully understand dyslexia.
Helping your child is the part you have control over - teacher training and qualifications are the part you do not.
5. Understanding their difficulties will help with their motivation.
When your child really understands that they are as capable of learning as everyone else in their class and that this isn't beyond their control, they will stay motivated in their learning. I recently ran into a former student of mine who I had helped to understand his difficulties. It turned out that not only was he just finishing a degree but that he had signed up for a Masters degree too. He felt that understanding himself better was they key to motivating him to get a degree and not to let his difficulties hold him back.
I have also taught a lot of children who didn't really know why they struggled with aspects of school and the one factor that they all had in common was that they didn't think they were capable of achieving success in their exams ensuring that they were gradually switching off from their schooling - I am sure this is not a situation you want to find your child in.
It is really important for your child to ,not only, understand what dyslexia means but what it means for them. This means understanding their strengths as well as their weaknesses. Once your child understands themselves better, they will be on the road to success which is what we all want for our children.
If you would like to help your child understand what dyslexia is and what their strengths are, you can sign up to my programme ' Smashing Dyslexia' - you can find out more about it here or by emailing me.
If you would like more tips and strategies for how to help your dyslexic child, you can join my Free Facebook group by clicking here.