When your child goes through a formal assessment for dyslexia, they can end up feeling that there is a lot wrong with them. You may also be left feeling anxious and worried because the assessment process is looking at all the areas your child struggles with.
Here are 5 ways you can overcome both you and your child’s negative feelings from this process.
1. Understand what your child is really good at.
If the process doesn’t look at your child as a whole person, then you must. All children have things they are very good at and have real strengths as a person. Just like every other person in this world, their strengths vary considerably from being extremely empathic towards others, having talents in drama and sport and being extremely creative both in their story ideas as well as in art.
2. Make sure that your child does more of what they are good at.
The school curriculum is becoming biased towards academic subjects and the creative ones are being squeezed out. This is a major concern because a lot of our dyslexic children are good at the arts and this can provide a good outlet for their talents and also a way of releasing their frustrations from other subjects.
Therefore, it is up to us as parents to ensure our children keep doing what they are good at when they are out of school. This can be achieved from school clubs to local organised activities and clubs away from the school setting. If your child is getting switched off from the school environment, then finding interests outside of school is even more important.
3. Make the home environment a positive place.
Many dyslexic children associate school and school work with negativity – numerous adult dyslexics describe their school life as unhappy. Therefore, it is important not to let school negativity seep into home through activities like homework, learning spellings and fighting to get your child to read.
I’m not saying don’t do these things, just do them in a different way to how the work is done at school. For example, with spellings, take a thinking approach to this. Has the school teacher asked your child to learn an unreasonable number of spellings? How many do you think your child can actually learn in the time available? Can you think of creative ways for your child to learn them – using finger paints, sand in a tray, jumping on letters or visualisation techniques.
If your child is relaxed when learning then they can use the correct part of their brain which will actually let them learn, rather than being hijacked by the emotional brain, which prevents this.
Be brave when you go against what the teacher wants you to do at home , explain your reasons and get them on board. They may have suggestions as well which you can try out.
4. Use technology so that your child doesn’t feel overwhelmed.
Schools are quite bad at using technology on the whole, ( unless your child is at a specialist dyslexia school) so make good use of it at home. Pretty much all computers now have text to speech software on them, so if your child has to research on the internet for homework, they can get the text from websites and articles read out to them.
Audio books have become mainstream, thanks in part to Amazon having their Audible books. If your child hates reading, or perhaps can’t read at the moment, then audio books are a good way in to reading for them. It will also have the added benefit of increasing their vocabulary.
All children associate technology with positivity, so moving away from what is seen as ‘traditional school’ type activities by using it can really help your child feel a lot more positive about doing activities which they struggle with.
5. Take time to acknowledge your own feelings.
You will have to take some time out to come to terms with your feelings about the assessment. You may experience feelings of worry for your child’s future, anger at school and perhaps yourself for not realising what was happening, guilt for not believing your child with how much they were struggling.
Well, you will have lots of things to beat yourself up about before ( and after) your child reaches adult hood so you need to acknowledge these feelings but ultimately put them away and move on.
Your most important job now is to advocate for your child so that they can stay positive and teach them how to advocate for themselves so that as they move through education and work settings they can help others understand their difficulties.
The key ideas that I want you to take away from this are:
· Your child has strengths and it is important to focus on these
· Make sure your child has plenty of time doing things they are good at
· Use technology to help them
· Be creative with how you help them
· Acknowledge your feelings and move on
If you would like tips and help to make learning less frustrating for your child, then please join my Free Facebook group here.
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