I read recently that many people don’t know what their strengths are which is quite surprising really as I’m sure most people can tell you what they’re weaknesses are. This is a problem when it comes to your child who has been assessed as having dyslexia, mainly because as I posted in last week’s blog, they are painfully aware of their weaknesses – the school system shows it up every day for them. So, here are 5 reasons why you must help them identify their strengths.
1. They can identify how they can learn successfully from their strengths.
All dyslexic children have strengths, which can range from being incredibly resilient in the face of adversity through to being artistic and creative. Maybe their strength is talking about things – so it would seem obvious to suggest that they incorporate this verbal strength to learning (keep saying and recording facts, keep repeating spellings verbally as examples).
Many of the dyslexics I teach have a unique perspective so you should see if they have an interesting way of learning – be open minded to ways they want to try out. For example, some can learn spellings by running a video through their head with each character being a letter in a word they’re learning. I couldn’t learn that way, but if your child has a video memory as a strength, then they will be able to.
2. Knowing their strengths will help them choose their future career.
This one is really important because choosing the right career for their strengths will also mean success in life. Another way of thinking about strengths is thinking about talent. One of the earlier researchers into dyslexia, a neuroscientist called Norman Geshwind, said that people with dyslexia had ‘ superior talents in other areas’.
If your child is creative then they may be suited to a career in innovation or one of the creative industries – Google has a high level of dyslexic employees. In a study by Julie Logan, it was found that 35% of US entrepreneurs had some dyslexic tendencies. Maybe your child is a good team worker, in which case anything requiring them to work alone is probably not for them.
3. Your child needs some positivity after the negativity of their assessment.
Dyslexia is officially viewed as a disability (it comes under the Disability Act as a hidden disability). In my opinion, it only becomes a problem when it’s not identified early and school’s don’t put the right support in place. But whether you see it as a disability or believe that it is our systems which make it a disability, your child needs to see the positive sides. The best way to do this is to identify their talents and strengths – show them the flip side of dyslexia.
There is a lot more positive information out there now, with this positive movement being spearheaded by Richard Branson with his ‘Made by Dyslexia’ charity.
4. When your child knows their strengths, they can spend more of their time playing to these.
Once your child realises what they are good at, they can spend much more of their time doing these activities. In turn, this will help to boost their self -esteem and resilience for when things do get tough.
Not all dyslexics are creative, although this is probably the one strength that most people will come up with. They may enjoy doing things which are not ‘run of the mill’, for example I read recently about a young man who had taken up bee keeping!
5. Finally, your child will get to know themselves better and be able to educate others about dyslexia.
The more your child knows about themselves, the more they will be able to advocate for themselves at school, college, university and work when they need to. They will also be in a better position to help others understand them, after all there is a lot of ignorance about dyslexia out there, even in schools and colleges.
Our programme, Smashing Dyslexia, explains what dyslexia is to children themselves and helps them explore their strengths. The next start date is the 12th January 2018. If you would like to find out more about it, please either contact me or click here.
If you would like more tips and ideas on how to help your dyslexic child, please join my Free Facebook group here.