Dyslexia

My Child Has Just Been Diagnosed With Dyslexia. Now What Should I Do?

Dyslexia FAQs

10 Important steps to take after your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia.

We understand that when your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, this can be overwhelming for all involved.  In some cases this dyslexia diagnosis may be accompanied by one or more co-occurring conditions, which can only add to the initial shock of how to proceed from here.

It is normal to feel worried and even to be in denial about this but it is important that you tackle the issue head on.  Give yourself a little time to get your head around it but after that it is important that you try to be pro-active, as all research has shown that early intervention is essential for your child to have the best long term outcome of managing and overcoming this.

Some parents can feel guilty about the diagnosis that their child has just received.  It is important to know that nothing you did or didn’t do caused your child to have dyslexia and you could not have prevented it.  It is not productive to blame anyone for what has happened: the child, the teacher, the other parent.  Dyslexia is a fact of life; in our experience it is more helpful to accept it and to research and then plan a list of positive things you can do.

It is worth remembering that while having dyslexia is tough, it does not define a person.  Dyslexia is often referred to as a neurological brain based disability but this does not mean it is insurmountable or that people with dyslexia cannot go on to achieve wonderful things in their lives.  History has shown us that people with dyslexia are amazingly talented and gifted.  People such as Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Tom Cruise, Keira Knightley, Whoopi Goldberg, John F. Kennedy, Holly Willoughby, Jamie Oliver, Pablo Picasso and Steven Spielberg are just some of the talented and successful people who have lived with dyslexia and have gone on to achieve a great deal in their lives.  We need to remember that children who have been diagnosed with dyslexia are extremely able but just need a guidance and support along the way.  Of greater importance is that the children themselves believe this to be true.

So many successful people cope with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia etc. in their everyday lives.  We must all look beyond the label and find out the best way for your child to experience success with their learning and tailor methods that best suit their individual learning style.  By working together with your child’s class teacher and learning support (SET) teacher, we believe that we can achieve this outcome.

The following is a list of ten things that have proven useful for parents of children with dyslexia in the past in coming to terms with the issue and then planning successful strategies to overcome any difficulties.

  1. Learn all you can about dyslexia.

Understanding his/her challenges is key to getting your child the best help.  Learn what dyslexia is and isn’t.  Discover how the dyslexic brain works differently.  Get an idea of what your child may be experiencing.  Speak about it to them openly at home.  The Dyslexia Association of Ireland (D.A.I.) is a good place to start.

If your child has been diagnosed with a co-occurring condition(s) look up information on those too, here (link to co-occurring conditions on the DAI website) and below.

Watch out for possible…

Visual Difficulties: School medicals may not be enough.  Has vision been checked by an optometrist?  Does your child lose their place when reading or make many reversals?  Are they light sensitive or does the print blur or appear to move?

Children with dyslexia can have particular difficulties with their vision.  This can be referred to as Visual Stress.  Some of these difficulties may not show up in a regular eye test and a referral to an optometrist or orthoptist may be needed.  There is a short piece on this on the British Dyslexia Association’s website to help you understand if your child may benefit from an examination.  Visit this information here.

Glasses with tinted lenses, printing on pastel coloured paper and turning down the brightness of the computer screen can help.  For more information, you should talk to your G.P. or optician.

You can also visit this website for more information on glasses with tinted lenses.

Hearing Difficulties:   Has hearing been checked?  In younger years or even now your child may have or had ‘glue ear’ which could have hindered auditory perception of sounds in words?  Again your normal hearing test may not be enough.  Speak with your G.P. or audiologist for more information.

  1. Investigate dyslexia treatments and therapies.

Refer to your child’s report for a list of recommendations.   This is very important.   The psychologist’s report can often appear very wordy and difficult to understand.  Ask them to go through it and explain it to you, take notes.  Arrange an appointment with us here in school and we can also help you to understand.

Once you get the report and you have a full understanding of it, file it away safely.  You will need it again whether it’s to pass on to us here in school or to other agencies relevant to your child’s needs.   Refer to the recommendations section regularly.

If your child’s report suggests intervention from outside agencies such as an Occupational Therapist or Speech and Language Therapist you must act on it.  Sitting and leaving the difficulty on its own will not make it go away.   Action is needed!   There is no problem should you need to take an appointment during the child’s school working day.  If any are taken after school make sure and let us know.  We are all in this together and being on the same page is incredibly important.

Become a member of the D.A.I.  They will have a list of workshops and qualified tutors in your area.  To give your child the best possible chance you really need to be doing extra work on a regular basis outside of school.  This can be costly at times, always inquire if there may be discounts or support funding available.

Remember you are your child’s voice.

  1. Discuss dyslexia supports and services with us here at school.

Make sure copies of any reports from doctors or specialists have been given to us here at school.  About a month or so into the school year we will schedule a meeting, once the children have settled and we have begun to get an idea of their personality and learning style.  We will talk with you about how you are getting on and about your child.  We will discuss any supports and services that might be helpful, such as accommodations and assistive technology like text-to-speech software.

  1. Talk with your child about dyslexia.

Consider what to say (and what to avoid saying) when introducing him/her to the concept.  Help your child understand how dyslexia might affect them in certain areas, including their social life.   Visit this link from the D.A.I. for some tips.

[Arrange a visit before September to take a tour of our school.  It is a huge relief for a child to learn that they are not stupid or lazy and that many other children are also like them.  Letting them know about all the famous people who are dyslexic always impresses them!

  1. Teach your child to speak up for themselves (self-advocate)

Talk through some of the ways s/he can ask for help when their dyslexia makes it clear they need it.  Learning how to self-advocate is a skill that can offer benefits throughout their life.

It is very important to ask the children questions so they can try to explain exactly what they are experiencing.  This gives a personal insight into how they learn and helps to formulate their learning plan.  Like us all, they will have good days when the struggle is less and others when they really find things tough during the day.  It is interesting to try and find out exactly what is going on in their heads.  Keep in check and ask them yourself at home.  Help them to express themselves.

  1. Know the signs of mental health issues.

Children’s confidence with learning can really take a bruising knock with a diagnosis of dyslexia.  Every child is different but it can take some children a long time to pick themselves up and dust themselves down again.   Building confidence is hugely important to help them in this process and we all need to do what we can to ensure that this happens as quickly as possible.   By focusing on their gifts and talents in other areas and ensuring that they experience success in some shape or form outside of school work, can all assist with this.

  1. Learn what you can do at home.

Look into fun ways to encourage reading and writing outside of school. Visit the local library, become a member.  Audio Books are fantastic and are the key to unlocking the wonder of reading for even the most struggling student. Visit museums and interactive family days out.  Tap into their interests and use their strengths. Create a homework space that works for your child.  Learn ways to build self-esteem and help your child stay motivated.

Research information on dyslexia and if your child has a co-occurring condition(s) then do your research about those too, so that you are as informed as possible.   Facebook and other social media platforms can be useful to keep in the loop on recent research and articles about dyslexia.  Liking pages related to dyslexia and co-occurring conditions can be very useful as the articles or information published can be short and you won’t have to wade through pages and pages of a book.  Although, that is good too!  Different groups also use the DAI website which can provide useful up-to-date information.

Do your computer/ tablet skills need brushing up?

This is crucially important. Assistive technology plays a vital role into helping your child cope.  Look out for courses run by the D.A.I. or local workshops.  In the autumn/ winter time many secondary schools run night classes on developing computer/ tablet skills.  Keep an eye out and enrol!

  1. Find support.

This is a HUGELY important one…FOR YOU!

Connect with other parents of children with dyslexia in your community.  It can be tough going at times.  Having people around you who know exactly what you are going through is immensely important for your own mental health.  Get to know the location of some good workshops.  Go together!  Sharing experiences and information is crucial and will ease the bumps along the way.

 

  1. Keep in touch with school!

It is very important for you to know what we are experiencing in the classroom when working with your child.  Staying in contact with us can keep you on the same page about whether the supports and services are working as well as how your child is getting on.

  1. Remind your child that dyslexia doesnt define him/ her.

Sit together and chat together about dyslexia.  Explore dyslexia success stories.  Encourage them to read books or watch movies that feature characters with dyslexia.  Let them know that his/her reading and writing issues don’t define who s/he is or limit what they can do.

Explain to them that they certainly are not stupid or lazy.  Their brains just learn differently.  Remind them to never let dyslexia be an excuse to get out of pushing themselves.  Dyslexic people are very talented but just need to work harder than others to get there.  The road has many twists and turns but the future is so bright.