Parents of Dyslexic learners are faced with one struggle after the other.
The homework struggle.
The grade level expectation struggle.
The 504 vs IEP struggle.
The anxiety struggle.
The ” I don’t want to go to school” struggle.
The social struggle.
The list goes on and on…
When it seems like you have academic struggle conquered, the emotional struggle bubbles up. And so on, and so on.
Don’t you want to just stop having to watch your child struggle??
The overwhelm is palpable and where do you start?
Let me break it down.
First things first… take a breath ( Mama’s, I’m talking to you…). Parents often get overwhelmed with wanting to “fix” problems as they arise for children immediately. In the case of Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities, there is no quick fix. What your child needs from you is a parent who can be level headed, informed, and most of all able to come along side them on their journey.
Now that you are ready to dive in, if you haven’t had your child evaluated, this is the next step. It is in this step that you have to determine what your goal is in getting your child evaluated. (I am assuming that by the time you have reached this point, you have consulted with your child’s pediatrician to rule out any medical conditions )
The answer to this question will determine where you land.
- If your goal is to get a diagnosis and detailed information on how your child’s brain is processing information, you will want to contact a mental health professional in your area that conducts complete psychological evaluations and start the process. You can check Psychology today , talk to your pediatrician, or a trusted mental health professional to get recommendations.
- If your goal is to determine whether or not your child is eligible to receive special education services through their home school district, then you will want to request in writing to your child’s school that they do an evaluation. ( this is super duper simplified… here is where you want to go for more information on this!)
- If your goal is BOTH… I always recommend that you begin the process of finding a private evaluator AND writing the school a request to evaluate simultaneously. There is always going to be lengthy timelines to both processes ( at least it is here in our local area).
- Additionally, there are certified tutors that can perform an assessment. While they cannot provide a diagnosis if they are not a PhD, they can give you information on where your child is academically and educational strengths and weaknesses. If your goal is private tutoring and remediation, this may be a wonderful option for you! To find a certified professional, contact your local parent organization, Susan Barton’s website , or another certified tutoring organization in your area…
While you are working on the evaluation piece, you can begin to have dialogue with your child’s teacher about accommodations in the classroom. It is so great to have accommodations in place prior to creating a 504 or IEP plan as it allows for trial and error prior to putting it down formally. I mentioned 504 plan and IEP and I am sure your head started spinning! That is a little farther down the line… you’ve got this.
Lastly, and in my opinion most importantly, do not lose sight of your child’s emotional needs through this process. Remember that while you are digesting the realization that the struggles that he has been facing are more than just the “norm”, your child is digesting that too and most likely is beginning to really notice. You may even be realizing that the struggles that you had as an early learner were not only similar, but you may have Dyslexia too.
If your child is like most, they could be coping with feelings of shame, intense anxiety, self doubt and uncertainty as they face their peers day in and day out.
One step at a time, your child will become a resilient, self advocate who is proud and aware of all of the amazing talents and strengths that make them uniquely wonderful!
Here are some amazing websites!
I loved this TEDX Martha’s Vineyard Talk!