This post was first posted August 3, 2016.
I work with hundreds of parents in my role as admissions director for a school specializing in dyslexia remediation. Many parents are understandably upset and concerned about their children’s futures. They don’t know what to expect and are fearful about what impact dyslexia will have on their children’s futures. Often parents have been very successful academically and they can’t understand why their children struggle so.
But there is another group of parents who are painfully aware of the challenges their children will face, because they faced the same difficulties in school. These parents may not always realize it, but they are dyslexic themselves. Oh, they may have never been diagnosed, but they carry the scars of years of underachievement, being labeled as “stupid” or “lazy,” failing to keep up academically, working harder than all their classmates with little to show for their efforts. These parents are often especially worried because they know how very difficult school may be for their children. They had to suffer through school without remediation and their memories of school are incredibly painful.
I have often sat in my office talking with parents who have tears in their eyes because being in a school again is so traumatic. Many survived years of humiliation to rise above their challenges and become well-respected in their chosen careers. They were fortunate enough to find their way to fields that require visual-spatial or kinesthetic talents, such as engineering, architecture, music, entrepreneurship, medicine, art, acting and athletics. Once they made their way through school, they were very successful at life.
What are some indicators that you yourself may be dyslexic? If you have a dyslexic child, odds are pretty good that either you or your spouse is dyslexic as well. Are you a poor speller or did you struggle with reading as a child? Do you feel that you are a slow reader who rarely/never reads for pleasure? Do you leave out words when reading or do you write in a disorganized way? Do you ever read a passage and realize that you have no idea what you just read? Do you have to read passages several times in order to understand what the author is saying?
If you answered yes to some of the questions above, you should consider the possibility that you are dyslexic. In order to determine with certainty, you would need to obtain a complete psychoeducational evaluation. If you learn that you indeed have dyslexia and you feel that your personal or professional life would be improved by remediation, there are many resources that offer help. The International Dyslexia Association, or IDA, has branches throughout the country that can give you information about dyslexia and dyslexia remediation. The Orton Gillingham Academy can help you find a tutor in your area that can help. It is never too late to seek remediation. Through remediation, your reading, spelling and writing skills will improve. This can of course be of great benefit to you both professionally and personally. You won’t have to worry about being able to read to your children, or draft an email or write a report.
Remember, there is help out there. A dyslexia diagnosis is just the beginning.