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The Do's and Don'ts of Handling Dyslexia

Do you have a child or student with dyslexia?

Children with dyslexia are often misunderstood. While they have certain limitations and struggles, they're more than capable of learning and thriving in a school environment. That said, dyslexic children often need special care. In school, dyslexic students may need bonus help, and parents are often responsible for the bulk of that.

We've compiled a list of "dos and don'ts" to help you take care of your child with dyslexia. Keep reading to learn more and reach out to Sage School for more info about how we can help your child grow.

Do: Read With Your Child

The most important thing that you can do to help your child with dyslexia thrive is to read with them (and teach them to read at home).

Many children learn to read in the classroom, but parents still have a responsibility to start that process at home. Your child needs to learn that reading can be fun, and your support will give them a head start.

Start by reading to your child often. Have them watch the words and pictures as you're reading so they can start connecting words to images. Every so often, point to a word for them to read out loud.

Soon, you can start having your child read entire sentences.

When they're more comfortable with sentences, start allowing them to choose their own simple books to read. Allowing a child to choose their books will make them feel more in control.

Keep up the at-home reading as your child ages. Eventually, they'll be reading without you, but always stay nearby to help. Have your child write down words that they're uncomfortable with so you can go over them later.

Do: Make Writing Fun

Writing is challenging for dyslexic children, so start making it fun at home.

Many children will be using computers for their schoolwork, but by teaching handwriting, you're getting your child more familiar with what letters and words look like. They'll start gaining muscle memory.

Your child doesn't want to do the same handwriting exercises that they do in school. Instead, try something interesting, like incorporating writing into arts and crafts.

You can work together to make DIY trading cards, or even picture books. This gives your child motivation to write outside of an academic environment.

Once your child has worked on handwriting for a while, start introducing them to word processors. You don't want the child to rely on autocorrect, but it's helpful when it comes to schoolwork.

Do: Encourage Organization

Children thrive on routines, so make sure that you and your child stay organized and have clear daily structures.

Your child should know what to expect when they get home from school. How much time are you giving them for homework? When will you practice reading and writing?

Make sure that you have everything that you need for the scheduled activities as soon as your child gets home, and keep the schedule in clear view.

It's a good idea to leave room for breaks. Children with dyslexia may have a hard time focusing on one thing for too long, so breaks will help get them back on track.

Do: Consider Specialized Schooling

Most schools do their best to help children with dyslexia, but a school that focuses on dyslexia may be more beneficial for your child.

Basic public schools often have supplementary classes and assistants that can help your child keep up with other children, but this is sometimes embarrassing for the child. Children like to fit in, so being "othered" in that way may damage their self-esteem or attract bullies.

If you put your child in a school that focuses on dyslexia or other learning difficulties, they'll be amongst children who are just like them. They won't have to feel self-conscious when it's their turn to read out loud and their teachers will know how to help them.

Don't: Patronize Your Child

It's easy to take on a patronizing attitude with your child, but this isn't helpful. Remember, your child may be struggling with something that you see as simple, but they're still aware of when you're infantilizing them.

Children need challenges. By patronizing them, you're telling them that you don't expect them to meet those challenges.

Also, make sure that you're not doing the work for them. We understand that you want your child to do well, but you aren't doing them any favors by doing their jobs.

Help your child with their work, but let them do it on their own.

Don't: "Wait" for Progress

Many parents make the mistake of assuming that children will grow out of dyslexia without outside influence. Dyslexia isn't a learning delay, and the signs of dyslexia are often clear.

When you start helping your child with their dyslexia early on, you're giving them the resources to do well in school for the foreseeable future. Dyslexic children can catch up to their peers as long as they're willing to put the work in.

Don't: Stress Your Child

To be clear, we don't mean that you shouldn't challenge your child. Children who are challenged will rise to the occasion as long as the challenge is appropriate.

What you want to avoid is stressing your child out to the point that they shut down.

You should treat your child with dyslexia as you would any other child, but keep in mind that they need extra time and help. By not giving them that time, you may cause them to give up entirely.

Let your child know that they're free to ask for help and take breaks when they need to.

Dyslexic Children Can Thrive

Your child with dyslexia can thrive both in and out of the classroom as long as you know how to handle them. Dyslexic children are often bright and willing to learn; they just need extra help.

Are you looking for a learning center that caters to dyslexic students? We're here to help your child.

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