Have you ever wondered what your dyslexic child may be dealing with? Take a Dyslexia Simulation and experience what it is like to be dyslexic.

I was asked recently to write about how to motivate a dyslexic student.  If you have been teaching dyslexic students for any amount of time you are familiar with at least a certain amount of resistance to reading, writing and spelling lessons.  This resistance can range from distractibility or lack of focus (which often results in lessons taking an extraordinary amount of time to finish), to crying or outright refusal to do coursework.

Before I can answer that question, you need to understand a bit better what it is actually like to be dyslexic.

Dyslexia is not an emotional disorder.  Kids with dyslexia are as happy as the next kid.  So why all of the fuss?

Continual Frustration Leads to Discouragement

If you are not dyslexic yourself, you may not realize the impact of the continual frustration of being dyslexic.  Kids with dyslexia struggle incredibly with understanding the written word and therefore are often falling below the expectations of their teachers, whether they or not are schooled at home or not.  If they are learning alongside other kids their age, comparison, leading to embarrassment, is added to the mix.

Dyslexics do not just have trouble with reading.  Dyslexic kids can also struggle with:

  • difficulty with handwriting
  • poor spelling
  • memory, forgetting what was said or how to perform certain tasks
  • difficulty expressing self
  • slow auditory processing
  • following directions

What is it Like to be Dyslexic

Before you can begin to motivate your dyslexic student you need to understand better what he or she is dealing with every. single. day.

If you’ve been around Homeschooling With Dyslexia for long, you know that 7 of our 8 kids have dyslexia.  I, however, am not dyslexic.  Makes for an interesting homeschool, for sure!  It wasn’t until last week that I experienced a tiny bit of the agony that a dyslexic person feels when reading.  I experienced what it was like to be dyslexic by participating in the following three simulations.

Note:  If you don’t have time to watch these simulations now, please bookmark this post.  Experiencing, even a to a small degree, what it is like to be dyslexic is so important!

Simulation 1 – Read like a dyslexic

The first simulation is from the PBS web site and simulates what it is like for a dyslexic to read.  Click {here} to try the reading simulation.

How did that make you feel?  Could you feel the frustration of figuring out the words?  How was your reading comprehension?  I know for me that I was trying so hard to decode the words, that I couldn’t remember what I had just read.  Sound familiar?  How eager were you to read after this experience?  I know that I, an avid reader, didn’t feel it was worth the effort to read the passage.  If you thought that was eye opening, try this next simulation.

Simulation 2 – Write like a dyslexic

Writing for dyslexic students can be difficult.  Try writing quickly with your opposite hand.  I found the comments of the people participating in the simulation very telling.  This simulation illustrates how important having accommodations are in helping a dyslexic student to achieve success.


This short video clip is from the documentary How Difficult Can This Be? by Rick Lavoie (may be available from your library) and shows how an auditory processing lag can affect a child, especially in a classroom.  Basically an auditory processing problem is just what is sounds like.  Auditory information is not processed efficiently so understanding from hearing is delayed.   I know that in our home, before we understood what an auditory processing disorder was, it was typical to become frustrated with that child, just as the video clip illustrates, because the child appears to not be paying attention or taking the lesson seriously.  NOTE:  This video clip has been removed from YouTube but I am leaving this section up to encourage you to look for this video Fat City How Difficult Can it Be? at your local library or purchase via Amazon.

Simulation 3 – Reading in front of people

One of the greatest fears a dyslexic has is being asked to read out loud in front of people.  After watching simulation 2 you know how hard it is for a dyslexic to read.  Imagine reading in front of others, especially in a room full of people who misunderstand dyslexia.

Understanding Leads to Compassion

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what it is like to be dyslexic now.  Understanding leads to compassion and our dyslexic students need that.

Dyslexics learn differently.  We as parents and teachers need to educate ourselves about how dyslexics learn and how to motivate these bright, creative kids to push past their daily difficulties and access their substantial higher order thinking skills.

Take some time to think about what you have experienced here today by participating in the dyslexia simulations.  Talk about them with your dyslexic students.  I know that when I shared the utter frustration I experienced during these simulations with my dyslexic kids, there were some tears at our newfound understanding.


The Importance of Parent Education

This site exists to educate and encourage families with dyslexia.  Dyslexia does not need to be a disability if the the teacher understands how dyslexics learn and the right teaching methods are used.  For more in depth understanding about teaching kids with dyslexia, consider taking one of my parent dyslexia courses.

parent dyslexia courses


Stay in Touch

We have quite an active Facebook community where I frequently post articles of interest and encouragement.  I also have a growing Pinterest Page with a wide variety of teaching tips for all subjects.

Have you ever wondered what your dyslexic child may be dealing with? Take a Dyslexia Simulation and experience what it is like to be dyslexic.