Encouraging parents to understand their kids with dyslexia is something that I love to do.
I recently had the following exchange with a parent looking for hope teaching her daughter with dyslexia. The question seems like one that many people could likely relate to so I am sharing parts of it here.
From a reader:
I am looking for some hope or encouragement.
Today I feel like a failure, and I hurt for how hard everything is for my 7-year old daughter. Please tell me that there is hope. I have been reading your posts and I’ve ordered the All About Reading and Spelling curriculum for the coming year. I also have a special education degree (which on my good days makes me feel like I can tackle this and on my bad days only compounds my own feelings of failure).
I just would so appreciate any encouragement, wisdom, or advice you might be able to share with me.
Thank you so much for your website and Facebook page.
Did you know that we have 8 kids and that 7 of them are dyslexic? We have 3 high school graduates now and one that will graduate next year. Our 2 oldest kids had very little of the knowledge that I have now – or more like none of it!
Both of them took a year off of school during their junior year of high school (we have always homeschooled) to sail around the world. Our son is the youngest American to sail alone around the world and our daughter (who did not make it all the way around) is the youngest person ever to sail alone around Cape Horn. She even wrote a book about her journey!
I say this not so much to brag about their sailing accomplishments (although I am very proud of them) but to illustrate how they were gifted in that arena and because homeschooling them and letting them learn the way they needed to learn allowed them the freedom to pursue that gift.
Did they go to college? No.
Do their lives look anything like what I thought they would early on? No.
A lot of raising happy kids with dyslexia is learning about dyslexia and learning to appreciate that it really is a learning difference not a disability. I am the first to agree that it LOOKS like a disability when you are trying to teach them to read and spell and do math. However, they learn with the right methods, are very bright and often have unique giftings.
If you can press on each day, working at their reading, writing and math while allowing them to explore things that they are good at and interested in, they will grow into confident and happy young people full of life and the ability to do amazing things.
The fact that you caught this so early is AWESOME! Many people don’t catch it until much later. (Although it is never too late!)
The fact that you are willing and able to homeschool her is FANTASTIC!
Your education in how kids learn is a HUGE asset.
It isn’t easy teaching and parenting kids with dyslexia but it is so worth it.
Our next graduate is profoundly dyslexic. He has had years of tutoring and is a decent reader and speller. Because he has had freedom to explore his interests and lots of real life experience, he already knows what he wants to do with his life. He knows that he can get accommodations in college if he needs to go to college to achieve his goals. He has a very healthy outlook on his future for sure. This is something that is sorely lacking in his public school counterparts these days.
It is a unique path that you are on. Don’t be too concerned about what everyone else is doing. Just do what you believe is right for your child and be faithful with it.
Will you mess up? Yes. Will it be the end of the world? No way.
Just talk it though with your daughter. Help her to know herself, how she learns, what she is good at and where she needs extra help. You are on a journey together!
Hope this helps! Yes, there is hope!
Very encouraging! Thank you!
I loved this post. I needed the encouragement knowing another year is upon us. Especially about letting them pursue what they are good at. Looking at flying lessons right now for my 13 year old who is passionate about being a pilot. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in all he has to learn I forget about what can lift him up and give him confidence.
Mommy of the 7-year-old daughter…you can do this! I waited until the 5th grade to start homeschooling and wish I would have started earlier. You are doing the best and it is overwhelming, challenging, difficult…but is also rewarding, confidence building (for them and for us), and a privilege. Try to embrace it and enjoy it. Some days will be long but you will have days that will surprise you and bring joy to your heart.
Thank you so much for your website, it’s a life saver, I don’t know why I didn’t google “Dyslexia and homeschooling” together when I first realised my son was dyslexic. We’ve always been homeschooling, and at first I attributed the fact that my son was a “slow-learner” to the fact that we are bilingual, and learn both languages at the same time.
Anyhow. You talk about “years of tutoring” for your son. Do you mean your own tutoring or are/were your children also followed by specialists? Do you recommend to have them officially diagnosed by professionals? If so, or if not, why? Thank you so much in advance if you have the time to reply.
Thank you again for the time and effort you put into this website, you’re an inspiration.
My son, 8 just received an official evaluation and diagnosis. Although expensive I too, as a special education teacher was goin to just treat the suspected dyslexia without an eval or diagnosis but learned that if they do choose college getting accommodations and modifications even for testing like SAT/ACT will require official documentation and not a “mom’s intuition and requests.” So although expensive the diagnosis will keep doors open for your child. Also many people, even educators still don’t completely understand dyslexia. So they just treat it the same as any other learning disability. It’s not the same. The needs and program needs for a dyslexic are very specific (ie., Orton-Gillingham based reading program). Do your research and find an evaluator (neuropsychologist) who understands dyslexia and will test for it and not just tell you there’s a reading problem. 🙂
Thank you Colleen 😉
I had always expected that my son was dyslexic since it runs in my family. I had him tested right before he turned 9. I cried all the way home when I got the results. My son’s learning disabilities were so severe that I was basically told that I would need help in order to help him. I felt like a failure. I felt inadequate. I found a tutor trained in the Wilson Reading System. I changed up how I was going to homeschool. Many times curriculum that I purchased would never be completed or we moved on in a different direction. We read a lot about what interested in and did assignments and projects based on those interests. School looks totally different for him than it did for my other children. I enrolled him in tae kwon do. He excelled and grew confident and is now a black belt at 13. I encouraged him in his Lego creations. He has won several competitions. You need to find what your child is interested in and encourage them. Their confidence takes a hit and I spent a long time trying to bring his up. I just tested him in with the IOWA test and for the first time he tested at grade level and scored a 60 percent percentile overall. His tutor told me last week that she doesn’t think he needs her anymore. This fall he will be in the 8th grade. I had a lot of people tell me when he was first diagnosed to put him in public school and that they would handle it. I am so glad that I listened to my gut instinct that told me that his self esteem would plummet if I would have put him in.
Hello Sweet Mama, I totally understand how you’re feeling. We found out our adopted daughter had dyslexia and ADHD the summer after second grade. It was very confusing to figure out what teaching methods would work for her and I was really worried about her future. We ended up using an Orton-Gilingham based reading and spelling program and after 2 1/2 years of hard work, our daughter was reading at a 7th grade level while in 5th grade. I never that we would get that to place. Please know that there is hope for your daughter and that there are lots of curriculum, tips and resources out there that will work wonderfully for your daughter. I’d be happy to share any resources I’ve found along the way.
Marianne’s website was a beacon of light for me too!
Thank you…right on time!
I enjoyed reading your post. I have an eight year old with dyslexia and I am struggling with it. I am homeschooling her, but I still trying to find ways to relate to her style of learning. We are on a fixed income so buying expensive curriculums isn’t in the budget. She was in public school since 4 years old and it has damaged her because she missed the foundation that she needed and I am trying to teach it to her know. I know it’s not too late, but I need help.
I can relate to what you’re saying. When we pulled our daughter out of public school to homeschool for third grade, I realized that there were so many things she hadn’t mastered. She needed to know the days of the week in order, the months of the year in order, how to count money and lots of other things. The typical left-brained way the school taught this stuff didn’t work for her. Research has shown that those with dyslexia have processing problems in the left brain hemisphere. I found that if I could convey information using rhythm/song, story and pictures, which is a right brain strategy, that she could understand it and the information would finally stick into her long-term memory. There are often free things on the web that you can access that will help her learn. Feel free to email me and I can share some of the free resources I found. Finding strategies that worked for my daughter felt like trying to find a pearl in the bottom of the ocean. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I know Marianne has a good list of resources and a wealth of knowledge as well.
I discovered my daughter’s dyslexia when she was 7, almost 8. It seemed insurmountable then! We changed curricula, and plodded along through remedial & explicit phonics & spelling instruction for 2 years (still at it!). I often thought that she would never “catch up”, that the books her friends read would remain inaccessible to her. I was wrong! We audiobooked all the Magic Tree House books, and tons of others. She loves literature & is very “well-read”. Now she can read for herself, on grade-level, and enjoys novels & non-fiction on her own. Today she even stopped me before I told her how to spell a word, saying “Mom, I KNOW how to spell it.” She is gifted in dance & sciences, and is sure she can do anything. She even thinks that a dyslexic brain is “the cool kind of brain to have.” The people at http://www.dyslexicadvantage.org helped give us that outlook. And Marianne’s blog is invaluable. It was the first site I sent my SIL when she found her daughter’s dyslexia.
Wonderful story, full of hope! Thank you for sharing Shannon! And thank you for your kind words. 🙂