My Child is Dyslexic... Now what?

By Denise Stacey, Publisher of Macaroni Kid NE Edmonton, AB, Canada November 26, 2018

Your child has just received a diagnosis of dyslexia (or Specified Learning Disorder) ... now what? Learning that your child has a learning disability sets you on a path that you may never have thought you would be walking. So what do you do? Here are some tips and tricks, but remember that every child is different and what works for one child may not work for another.

1. Make sure your child's school has a copy of their assessments. This will help the school create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for your child.

2. You are your child's best advocate until they, depending on their age, can advocate for themselves about what they need to be successful. Keep the lines of communication open with your child's teacher, special education coordinator, etc. 

3. Audiobooks will be your child's new friend. Listening to stories will still help with your child's literacy. It will help enhance their understanding of story voice, comprehension, and interest in reading! As I have learned, there are numerous apps that provide audiobooks, such as OverDrive and Hoopla, both of which connect to your community library card.

4. Read what you can about dyslexia and the various aspects of it. As I said earlier, dyslexia looks different in each person. I read a variety of articles so that I could gain a better understanding of my child. 

5. Consider other supports outside of school. There are programs and tutors to help dyslexic students overcome their struggles.

6. Give them time and lots of praise. This is something they may not get a lot of at school. Celebrate the little successes, because they are HUGE. A task that may take one child 5-10 minutes to complete may take a child with dyslexia twice as long. Reading, and then comprehending what you are reading, takes a lot of focus and energy for someone who is dyslexic. 

7. Connect with other parents who are in the same boat. I recently found a couple of Facebook groups for Parents/Educators of dyslexic children. What a lifesaver this has been! Knowing that you are not alone and meeting others who have had the same, or similar struggles, has been so helpful!