by Andrew Roberts
Does your child have dyslexia? Do you think they might? I know mine does. How about dysgraphia, does your child have that? Mine has that, too. What about dyscalculia? Thankfully no, but he does have midline issues. It’s a confusing time when your child begins to have issues with reading and writing. It’s frustrating for them and for parents.
The best advice I can give to any parent who thinks their child is struggling is to have them tested, and do it early! Most schools wait until third grade or later to address potential concern with parents. The longer you wait to address the issue, the more frustrated your child will become.
The second piece of advice I would give parents is to attack the problem as aggressively as possible. Tuition for interventions is expensive, but worth it. The tools your child will acquire will replace fear and frustration with excitement over their developing ability to read or write or do math.
Another piece of advice I can give is to throw yourself into learning as much as you can about advocacy. If your child is enrolled in public school, you will be in for a fight for accommodations and tutoring resources. You are ENTITLED to it. Research the community, talk to other parents, find advocates, and learn the law (federal, state, and local). Arm yourself with knowledge.
If you're just starting out on this journey, and it IS a journey, let me put your mind at ease about one thing: your child is INTELLIGENT! More intelligent than anyone (including themselves if they are struggling) will ever give them credit for.
And your child isn’t lazy either. They’ll work harder than any other “normal” student in their class. Their brains are just wired a little differently, and that’s okay. Some of the most intelligent, creative, and productive people in the world have some of these same issues.
Finally, the last piece of advice I have is you should prepare yourself to be astonished by this journey and all the things you’ll learn:
· How much you didn’t know about language and how we learn.
· How many tools and resources are available to help our children.
· How much RESISTANCE you’re going to face from educators and administrators.
· How hard advocacy is: The fighting and the emotional investment you’ll have put into it.
· How AMAZING your child is!
As my wife and I continue on this journey with our son, what I’m left with is how proud I am of my son. No matter how hard he has to work or how many sacrifices he has to make, he’s still happy and an extremely smart kid. Yours will be too!
Andrew is the father and #ParentAdvocate of a dyslexic son. He and his family live in the Houston metroplex. We are honored to share his story with you.