Dyslexia is very overwhelming - especially if this is your first or only child to be assessed as having this. It is also important to understand that dyslexia is an umbrella term for a number of issues, some of which your child will have whilst others they won't. To add a layer of complication into the mix, many dyslexic children also have co-existing issues such as problems with coordination or maybe ADHD. This article looks at the best things you can do for your child.
Try and pinpoint the areas of difficulty and the areas of strengths.
Dyslexia is tricky because it doesn't define all the specific issues your child will have - not all dyslexics experience the same difficulties or have the same strengths. Therefore a good approach is to make a list of things your child is good at and a list of struggles. The areas of struggle may go outside of what is 'dyslexic' , but the important thing is to have a good understanding of your child. Many parents have then found that it is ideal to find a tutor who can help your child with these areas of difficulty, by, for example, giving them strategies to help with the weaknesses. Understanding your child's strengths will also provide valuable information for how they can learn more effectively, the right tutor will harness this.
Make a plan of action.
Once you have pinpointed what the areas of difficulty and strengths are, you can start to make a plan of action. You can acknowledge the difficulties your child has, but your plan should focus on their strengths and start to steer them towards things they will succeed at. If they are creative, make sure they are doing as many activities outside of school which play to these strengths. Ideally, find a school which can also steer your child towards these activities. Finding a tutor who can help out with the difficulties can also be a key part to your plan, so that your child isn't left to struggle with their areas of weakness.
Your plan of action can also cover areas they need to develop.
Many dyslexic children have some difficulties with fine or gross motor movements. If this is your child then you could arrange for your child to take part in sports clubs to develop gross motor skills or for them to learn a musical instrument to develop fine motor skills. A lot of dyslexic children also lack an understanding of rhythm, which may be helped by learning to play drums - if you can stand it!
Many areas of difficulty can be helped by playing games.
Everyone enjoys playing games and you can be helping your child develop other skills in this way. There are many games which develop short term memory or visual attention skills. Once you have pinpointed the areas of difficulty, you can start researching the best games to help your child. Game playing can also alleviate issues whilst being different to 'being in school' - some children don't want to seem like they are doing 'more of the same thing' once they are at home.
Make sure they do a lot of what they enjoy too.
Self esteem and confidence issues can be as debilitating for your child as any of the academic issues they face. Keeping your child 'buoyed up' by doing lots of what they enjoy, keeping homework time to the limits that the school expects homework to take can all help keep your child's self esteem and confidence on track. Many parents have said that as long as your child remains confident and happy, they are able to tackle their difficulties better.
To sum up, the best way you can help your child is to pinpoint their strengths and difficulties;make an action plan for how to help with their difficulties and how you're going to steer them towards subjects and activities which play to their strengths;decide what other types of activities and games will enable them to develop skills that they need to and above all, make sure their self esteem and confidence is nurtured.
I run a 6 week programme called ' Smashing Dyslexia' which helps your child identify their strengths and then explores how they can use these to help them with their challenges. You can find out more here.
If you would like tips and ideas for how to help your dyslexic child, you can join my Free Facebook Group here.
I have written some related posts which you might like to read:
What is positive dyslexia? Click here to read.
5 Ways to Minimise Your Child's School Anxiety. Click here to read.