Lessons in Life: Parenting Dyslexia

Photo Credit: Ren-s Flickr via Compfight cc

 “I hate reading!” a response that I heard regularly from my young daughter through her years at primary school.  We would have lovely times reading books together, but I missed the fact that she would get me to do all the reading!

At the age of 11, a good friend of the family asked my daughter if she would read something out for a service at our local church.  That reading never happened because my daughter had an emotional meltdown.  She wanted to help but couldn’t bring herself to stand up in public and read. 

It was at this point that my wife and I realised that our daughter may have been dyslexic because her refusal and the emotions that went with it were uncharacteristic of our daughter.

As this chapter of our family life opened up, we sought support from our daughter’s secondary school who required proof of dyslexia before support could be put in place.  That meant paying a lot of money for an assessment, which we did gladly.  Eventually, we had the right support plan in place that enabled our daughter to thrive at school and eventually get great GCSEs.

Getting support for a dyslexic child is hard work even if it is now a requirement of schools to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to support dyslexic children through education.  What I hadn’t appreciated was how much I would learn about the condition and some insights about myself. 

Reading my daughter’s assessment report, reminded me a lot about myself at school and whilst I am undiagnosed for dyslexia, I now can recognise issues with working memory and processing information which made education difficult for me when I was a child some thirty plus years ago. On my personal dyslexia learning curve, I have since found out that having a special educational need is highly likely to be hereditary.

Having your child diagnosed with dyslexia presses emotional buttons, it reminds us as parents of what school was like for us and that can be emotional.

It can be so emotional that it can get in the way of supporting our own children as we are trying to come to terms with how we are feeling about ourselves as well as our children.

It is important that as a parent, whilst you are supporting your child, that you get emotional support too so that you can the best that you can be in supporting your child.

In the UK there are various ways to find that support for example the local British Dyslexia Association branch for your area where you can meet other parents and share experiences and get advice.


About John Hicks

John Hicks is a Cambridge based life coach with a special interest in the emotional effects of having dyslexia for adults and young people.

John facilitates an online parenting support group on Facebook called “Parenting Dyslexia”.