dyslexia deficit or difference

I’ve been talking over the past few posts about looking at our outside the box learners in a different way. Oftentimes, too often really, kids who are struggling to learn by traditional methods (reading to learn or writing to communicate) have been treated as if there was something wrong with them that needed to be fixed.

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Earlier on in my homeschool journey, I was faced with kids who were clearly very bright but just weren’t learning the way I was teaching them.

Because I could see their value, their intelligence, and their creativity, I resisted labeling them as disabled. I know, I know, teaching year 10-year-old the same phonics lesson for the fifth time does seem like a disability, but hear me out.

Research has shown that children with language-based learning difficulties have average to above average intelligence. These kids are smart!

Our kids are smart!

Further research carried out by people like Brock and Fernette Eides from The Dyslexic Advantage, shows that the weaknesses that our children have result in some pretty impressive strengths including big picture thinking, connected thinking, entrepreneurial skills, inventive skills and in my experience bold and adventurous thinking.

The Deficit Path and the Difference Path

My own homeschool journey has led me down both the deficit path and the difference path. During the deficit phase I was super focused on my kids’ weaknesses and how far behind grade level they were. This phase always ended with burnout and frustration.

Then like the proverbial pendulum, I would head down the path of teaching my kids in ways that they really learned and thrived. I allowed them to use their strengths to show what they knew and supported them in their areas of weakness. These phases always resulted in a sense of freedom and joy. They also often ended in fear because this way of teaching is so far out side my own comfort zone.

More and more research is coming out that links our kids’ longterm success to things like resilience, perseverance, and positive attitudes such as a growth mindset. Success is less linked to academic success than we have been led to believe.

It’s normal to doubt when our teaching looks so different from what we’re used to. It’s normal for that pendulum to swing.

We want to be responsible, I get it. I’m not suggesting that we don’t try to strengthen our kids’ weaknesses – just not to define our days or weeks or years with that task.

As homeschoolers we have the freedom to tailor our kids’ learning to meet their needs. Kids who learn differently thrive when they are taught differently.

Resources to Help you Walk on the Difference Path

Does the idea of teaching your outside the box kids who learn differently in a different way resonate with you like it does with me?

Would you like resources and support to help you walk down that path with confidence?

Have you been on the deficit or difference path? What’s working and what isn’t?