Dyslexia is one of the most common types of learning disorders that affects millions all over the world. Individuals struggle to read and write because they have problems identifying speech sounds and how they relate to letters and words. It is a condition with symptoms which vary from individual to individual, and can cause a significant amount of trauma.
One of the major problems associated with dyslexia is that those who suffer from it begin to lose confidence in themselves. The reality of the matter is, dyslexia doesn’t in any way affect your intelligence. In fact, many people who suffer from this disorder are extremely smart. Dyslexia is generally linguistic in nature and includes difficulties with various reading and non-reading functions.
Although there is currently no “cure” for dyslexia, it is a condition which can be managed with certain targeted interventions that address reading and writing difficulties. With directed effort and perseverance, this disorder can be managed. Success however, is solely dependent on the individual.
In order to empower those who suffer from dyslexia, especially children, parents need to play an active role in helping them see their ‘setbacks’ in a different light. By teaching your child to build upon their setbacks, you can empower them to make the best of their learning disorder, and also gain valuable life lessons as a result of it.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disorder which can be described as cognitive as opposed to an intellectual one. This means that it poses certain function related difficulties, such as reading or writing.
Dyslexia is also a condition which is self-compensating. That is, for improvements to be seen, an individual has to put in effort to persevere through their own set of circumstances.
How to Help Your Child See Possibilities
One of the hardest parts about suffering from dyslexia is the dejection and loss of confidence one feels in regards to their own capabilities. Positive reinforcement however, can go a long way in reshaping the way an individual deals with their dyslexia.This is where the parents come in.
Below, we’ve outlined certain approaches you can take that will help you to encourage your child to see any ‘setbacks’ they face as stepping stones to success. After all, there is no blue-print, or ‘one-size-fits-all’ road map to success. Children need to know that; they need to know that it’s alright to take a different way to the top. And this way will be one which is unique to them.
The first step involves helping your child understand that these so called ‘setbacks’ they’re encountering aren’t really setbacks at all: they’re stepping stones. It has been shown that dyslexics have vivid imaginations, and minds which are constantly working to innovate. If you change the imagery with which they view their circumstances from negative to positive, your child will soon begin seeing opportunities instead of barriers.
There’s No Road Map for Success
Success isn’t a destination; it’s a process. The fact that your child can’t read or write or concentrate as effortlessly as their peers, shouldn’t give them cause to doubt their own capabilities. If someone is taking a different route to the top, that’s alright. A child with dyslexia needs to know that it’s okay to forge their own way.
You don’t need to be walking on a well-worn trail to feel like you’re headed in the right direction.
Highlight their strengths
Don’t highlight their flaws; shine a spotlight on their strengths. After all, anyone with a learning disorder is constantly reminded of what they can’t do, or what they’re not good at.
Shift the focus. Instead of concentrating on their problem areas, point out their strengths, and encourage them. Make them feel capable.
Uncovering Latent Talents
For those individuals who have to forge their own way, the path to success is often full of personal discoveries and growth. It’s in that unchartered ‘no-mans-land’ where an individual discovers their true strength, and the multitude of unique skills and abilities they possess which are unique to them.
Furthermore, it has been shown that when there is a problem in one area of the brain, as in the case of those who suffer from dyslexia, other parts of the brain attempt to compensate for this, resulting in additional sharpened abilities.
Believe in Yourself
As a parent, one of the most important things you can do for your child is helping them to foster a positive attitude towards themselves. Too often kids are bombarded with messages which make them feel like they are inadequate. Those notions should effectively be wiped from your child’s belief system.
Instead, dyslexic children need to be shown how important it is for them to believe in themselves. If a child believes in their own abilities and has enough confidence, they can achieve wonders.
You’re Stronger than You Think
It has been proven time and time again: adversity builds character. Remind your child that everything that they are experiencing, albeit incredibly frustrating, will one day be an asset to them. They need to be reminded that they will come out on the other side stronger, and more resilient. As a result, they’ll be less likely to let anything, or anyone hold them back. And that is a powerful asset to have.
A Fertile Ground for Opportunities
In addition to positive reinforcement, you can help your child identify strategies to deal with their learning difficulties. As mentioned earlier, this is an excellent opportunity for your child to discover things about themselves that they may have not been aware of before.
- Ask your child how they confront and solve problems that they face with dyslexia.
- Can this method be improved upon?
- Is there a new-approach that can be taken?
- Point out to them that one of the many unique features of a dyslexic brain is its latent ability and desire to find new ways to adapt to situations and search for solutions. They may not even be aware that their brain has been developing new strategies to deal with learning difficulties.
- Encourage them to think outside the box – the conventional way is overrated; help them learn how to find their own way.
You’re Not Alone
Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that has affected countless people throughout the ages. Many of these individuals, as the following examples will illustrate, were brilliant, and didn’t let themselves be held back. Instead, they found their own, unique ways to succeed, and in turn, made tremendous contributions in a variety of different fields.
Did you know that one of the most accomplished and prolific directors of our time is dyslexic? In school, he often struggled to keep up with his peers and struggled terribly with math. Instead, he caught himself daydreaming throughout class and was convinced he would never be successful.
Eventually, he decided to use his vivid imagination to his advantage and made peace with his dyslexia. Instead of letting it hold him back, he used it to his advantage and has made enormous contributions to the world of film.
Sir Richard Branson is an extremely successful English entrepreneur who owns the Virgin brand of over 360 companies. This is despite the fact that he struggled in school and many of his teachers thought he was lazy and stupid.
Today, this is what he has to say about dyslexia:
“I see my condition as a gift, not a disability. It has helped me learn the art of delegation, focus my skills, and work with incredible people.”
She nevertheless went on to become an incredibly successful actress and really made her mark in the entertainment industry with her role in Friends.
The American actress, comedian, radio host, TV personality, game show host, and author has a number of accolades under her belt. Did you know that she is one of the very few individuals to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award? She was also the first woman to be honored with the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Her school years were rough, often having to hear that she was ‘dumb’ by teachers. It was her mother who encouraged her and told her that she could achieve anything she set her sights on. And that’s exactly what she did.
Arguably one of the smartest individuals to ever have lived, Einstein’s contributions to physics was not only instrumental, but also exceptional.
He also suffered from dyslexia and was unable to memorize simple things like the months of the year. That didn’t seem to hold him back though! Today, the use of his name ‘Einstein’ is synonymous with being a genius.
Each one of these incredibly successful people struggled to make sense of how to effectively cope with dyslexia. At the end of the day, it was their perseverance; their commitment to finding a way to succeed on their own terms that helped them overcome their difficulties.
All of these individuals started out as regular Joes. Remind your children that these examples illustrate that it was their desire to break through and triumph over their learning difficulties that resulted in them making a mark in their own respective industries.
As a parent of a child with dyslexia, it is vitally important that you help your child understand how to cope with and overcome difficulties this condition poses. As with most things in life, good things come to people who put in the effort to realize their goals and dreams. Your child needs to be reminded that there are ways for them to build upon the setbacks in their life and persevere. All it takes is dedication and the determination to not let themselves be held back.