Understanding Your Child with Dyslexia

As a parent, guardian or educator, you know that children with dyslexia struggle to read and that their struggle often leads to educational, social and behavioral problems. You have great sympathy with that struggle but you also have your own frustrations in handling the situation.

Sometimes, though, it helps to see a situation from the inside--to briefly experience dyslexia to understand it better. One way to do that is to read the stories of individuals who grew up with dyslexia. Ben Foss is dyslexic; he is the founder of Headstrong Nature, an organization for adults with dyslexia and parents of children with dyslexia, and has written a book, The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan. His blog includes stories from his own childhood and often includes a sample of his writing before he has spoken into a computer and then edited and proofread several times. The contrast between the starting product and the finished confirms that dyslexia is not about the ability to think; it is about the ability to read and write. And there are techniques to help with reading and writing.

Another way to briefly experience dyslexia is with a recently developed typeface that mimics what many children with dyslexia see when they try to read. The problem revealed by the typeface is more profound than reversing letters or confusing similar letters (like lower case g and q); entire parts of letters are "invisible," turning a page of writing into nonsense. The typeface was developed by Daniel Britton, who still read at the level of a 10-year-old when he was 18. His motivation for developing the typeface is clear: If people have a greater empathy for dyslexia, the learning disorder can be identified faster and treated more effectively, allowing students to learn at the same pace as their peers.

Just as it is difficult for someone with color blindness to describe how they see colors, so it is difficult for someone with dyslexia to describe their exact experience when trying to read and write. Autobiographical stories and illustrations help us to walk briefly in the shoes of a dyslexic child.

At Windy Row in Peterborough, New Hampshire, we aim to give every child with dyslexia techniques that allow them to enjoy the gift of reading. Please contact us today.