Q: Our 10 year old son has just been diagnosed with Dyslexia. It wasn’t huge surprise- his father also has Dyslexia. Now that we have this information, we want to make sure our son has a better school experience than my husband did. Any suggestions?
A: There are many learning challenges that run in the family. Building on one generation’s experiences (positive or negative) helps the next generation have more successful experiences. In the case of your son, he will benefit from your husband’s less than stellar school experience.
Working towards a positive school experience, here are three suggestions for you to consider:
Set up an IEP or 504 Plan: Depending on where you live (and the full diagnosis), your son may qualify for either an IEP or a 504 Plan. Investigate these options by speaking with your son’s school. Do not be shy about asking for assistance. These programs were established to help children, like your son, who learn differently, have their needs effectively met.
Hire a Learning Tutor: Having a learning challenge does not mean your son is not intelligent (actually he is probably more intelligent than you know). It means he learns differently. A Learning Tutor can help your son (and maybe you) develop some strategies, techniques, and systems that make learning come more easily. Your son’s school may have a Learning Tutor on staff or at least the name of a quality one. Another option is to contact the School of Education at your local University. They may have grad students who are eager to gain practical experience.
Introduce your son to Percy Jackson: Percy is the main character in Rick Riordan’s fantastic series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. And guess what- Percy has ADHD and Dyslexia! He explains why he was “gifted” with these challenges and how they enable him to save the world. This book series is wonderful and Percy Jackson is a great model of how learning challenges might actually be useful and maybe even considered cool. Read the series together (the audiobookis great too), but avoid the movies based on the books, they do not even come close to the awesomeness of the books!
You are a wise parent to put things in place to help your son’s school experience be a positive one. Sadly, your husband knows first hand what he doesn’t want his son to experience.