Whether or not to ‘label’ a child diagnosed with dyslexia is a common concern among parents. As the parent of 7 kids with dyslexia and a passionate dyslexia advocate, I strongly believe that labeling kids with dyslexia is a good thing.
Why Saying Dyslexia is SO Important
First, there should be no SHAME in a dyslexia diagnosis – for anyone! When moms pull me aside at park day and practically whisper to me that they suspect dyslexia in their child, they are under the misguided belief in one of the many myths surrounding dyslexia.
For years I thought that my kids’ dyslexia was caused by poor nutrition or lax parenting or that maybe my kids were just not very smart. It was a terrible time as child after child of ours was diagnosed with dyslexia.
Dyslexia is not an intelligence issue.
Dyslexia is not caused by poor parenting.
Dyslexia is genetic – a difference in brain wiring – not a disease.
Dyslexia is a learning difference! When parents (and their dyslexic kids) get educated about dyslexia they can begin to be a source of accurate information for other families not so far along on their dyslexia journeys.
Why a Dyslexia Label is So Scary
Many parents fear saying dyslexia to their kids and others for a few reasons. They fear that their kids will be misjudged by teachers, family, and friends or that their kids will use it for an excuse not to work hard.
Acknowledging your child’s dyslexia is incredibly important for several reasons:
1. Kids with dyslexia eventually realize that they are different than many of their peers. Whether they read slower (or not at all for a time) or have trouble memorizing math facts, can’t spell or can’t pay attention and sit still – your kids are eventually going to recognize that they are different. By acknowledging their dyslexia you are helping them to understand why they are the way they are.
2. For many people with dyslexia, especially those that have gone undiagnosed until adulthood, knowing that there is a reason for their learning struggles, and that there is a solution for them, is incredibly freeing. These people have spent years of their lives believing that they are stupid which takes a huge toll on confidence.
Statistics show that 85% of prison inmates are illiterate and that a significant number of these are dyslexic. Statistics also show that 40% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic. Since dyslexia affects about 20% of the population, this is a significant statistic. Studies also show that the single most impacting factor in a successful adult dyslexic’s life is having a caring adult that stood up and advocated for them. How parents handle a diagnosis of dyslexia is of vital importance.
Telling our kids about their dyslexia can actually helps kids be more motivated. If we don’t help our dyslexic kids to understand themselves and, in doing so, help others to understand dyslexia, dyslexics are going to continue to be misunderstood.
Is Dyslexia a Learning Difference or a Disability?
Dyslexia is considered a learning disability by educators. As the homeschooling mom of 7 kids with dyslexia, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that dyslexia looks like a disability when you are teaching language arts to a young dyslexic child. However, with the right methods, all kids with dyslexia can learn to read. They just learn differently, therefore they need to be taught differently.
Educators need to get educated on dyslexia. Parents need to get educated on dyslexia. We need to do this so that we can help our dyslexic kids be understood and educated in the way that they learn. Being open about our kids dyslexia and stepping up to advocate, no matter how difficult at times, is our responsibility as the parent of kids with dyslexia.
Labeling a child with dyslexia has a bad rap. What you are doing when you bravely say dyslexia is acknowledging that dyslexia exists and that it is nothing to be afraid of. You begin to bring knowledge and understanding which not only helps your kids but all dyslexic kids.
How about you? Have you acknowledged your child’s dyslexia? Why or why not?
The Importance of Parent/Teacher 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.
Stay in Touch
You can also subscribe to receive blog updates via email below.
Join the newsletter
Subscribe to get our latest content by email.