This post was first published November 21, 2016.
Your bright, verbal child (or your niece or nephew or neighbor) has been diagnosed with dyslexia. What do you do now, or what advice can you give to parents you know? Explore all the resources you can and learn as much as possible about dyslexia. You are your child’s best, and most passionate, advocate. When you understand the rewards and challenges ahead, you will be best prepared to ask for the help your child will need.
You might begin your dyslexia tutorial by reading some of the wonderful resources that have been written about the topic. Excellent reads include Overcoming Dyslexia, by Dr. Sally Shaywitz, Straight Talk About Reading, by Susan Hall and Louisa Moats, and Basic Facts About Dyslexia, by Louisa Moats and Karen Dakin.
Where can you turn for help? The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators and The International Dyslexia Association offer wonderful resources for parents. You should also speak with the psychologist who conducted your child’s psychoeducational evaluation for suggestions of resources near you. Be sure that you understand the recommendations that your psychologist included in his/her evaluation. For example, does the psychologist recommend placement in a school that specializes in dyslexia remediation, or does he/she feel that your child may remain in his/her present environment with support?
If a specialized school is recommended, summer is a good time to begin researching your options. Call the schools in which you are interested and learn as much as you can about their admissions process. Find out how to sign up for a tour, keeping in mind that tours may fill quickly. Determine whether the school has an admissions deadline, or if the admissions process is rolling (i.e., spaces are filled as students apply, rather than by a pre-determined.) If the school maintains a rolling admissions process, make sure to complete your application as quickly as possible.
Remember that there is no “cure” for dyslexia. However, with proper remediation, your child can make progress and become a successful learner. Left unremediated, dyslexia can present a seemingly insurmountable barrier to your child’s academic success. Students with unremediated dyslexia often feel tremendous academic stress, experience intense frustration and suffer from low self-esteem. Advocate for your child, provide the resources they need, and your child will likely feel excited about learning again!