Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Dyslexia: Should I label my child?

You are possibly on a journey to discover the cause behind your child’s reading difficulties. Along this path you may have seen quite a few specialists and possibly the word "Dyslexia" has been mentioned.

This can be quite confronting for some of us...I'll admit that I was very wary of labelling my own children with a learning disability. I came to realise that I needed to put my own insecurities aside and focus on their needs above all else. Therefore, often it is parents who have a difficulty with placing a label on their child. Usually, this involves our own school experiences and not our child's current situation.

Current research has shown that by correctly identifying learning difficulties and disabilities, students (be they children or adults) experience a great sense of relief in knowing that there is something different about their "learning style" and not them as individuals that separates them from their peers. Following are 5 reasons why it is important to get the correct diagnosis:

1. So your child can come to terms with their learning difference and begin to identify and use strategies to learn that best suit them. These are called "Metacognitive strategies". For your child to posses knowledge about how they learn best is very powerful. It provides them with a sense of ownership and accountability.

2. If you or your child are Dyslexic, you're in great company! Some of the greatest minds throughout history and the present day have been diagnosed as having Dyslexia. It's an exclusive club and one to be proud of. Take a look at this great youtube video to see the good company you are in!

3. As parents, you will need to be your child’s strongest ally and in most instances their voice. You need to know exactly what their areas of strength and weakness are and why. Having the correct diagnosis gives you credibility and provides evidence in "Black and white" that there is a problem with measurable outcomes.

4. So your child’s school has all the information required to provide your child with the support needed to succeed throughout their school career. This can take the form of specialist training for teachers and support staff, in-class support, scaffolded learning experiences, providing additional time for exams, allowing your child to use assistive technology in the classroom, providing a reader or a scribe for exams or negotiating adjusted assessment tasks.

5. Presently there is no additional funding to support children identified as having dyslexia in Australian schools. Therefore it is paramount that if you believe your child has Dyslexia or any form of learning difficulty that you have not been able to find an answer for, please preserve and get  the correct diagnosis. This information can then be used by schools to inform government bodies of the real need for assistance that exists within our schools. Click here to find out how to help make your Queensland school "Dyslexia friendly".

I encourage you to take a look at Liz Dunoon's book "Helping children with Dyslexia"
especially Chapter 1 as it lists Dyslexic indicators from pre-school through to senior school.
Liz's website is loaded with information and useful strategies to help your Dyslexic child.

Until next time, take care.

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