Should you tell kids about their diagnosis
Dyslexia: Should you tell them?

In the documentary called “Embracing Dyslexia,” a father asked the principal of his child’s school if he should tell his child that the child has dyslexia.  The principal says, “No!”

Should you tell children with dyslexia, who are aware of their struggles that they have dyslexia or other language-based learning disabilities? Children know when they are struggling. Whether they have difficulty reading, following directions or expressing their ideas they are often aware that they are not performing like their peers. Every day in class, they are faced with their problem.  A loving parent help and acceptance helps them learn to accept themselves. They may think they are “not smart”, or “not good at school.” These thoughts and attitudes lead to poor self-esteem, negative attitudes about school and a variety of anxieties.  Without the help of their parents’, children do not have the ability to understand that they are more than their learning disability.

Language-based learning disabilities like dyslexia impact language, not intellect. There are many tools at our disposal that can help children improve their skills, as well as, aid them in reducing the demands on their weaker skills, but it is imperative that as parents we explain to our kids in a way they can understand that they are still perfect to us, in spite of needing additional help.  For some anxious children this path if not easy, but the truth is that they are already dealing with the impact of their negative feelings. Do they need to know they have dyslexia, not necessarily, but acknowledging the fact that you know that sounding out the words or reading out loud is hard for them goes a long way in fostering acceptance and nurturing their self-esteem.  Sometimes it is a relief for the whole family to have a label for the difficulty.  Not every child is the same, but for many children knowing why learning is hard is an important step in acceptance and understanding and it will allow them to acquire the tools they need to succeed. As a parent it is your job to let them know that they are more than their disability.

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Published by Kai Long

Kai currently lives in MA and is interested in collaborating with others to develop a deeper understanding of our speech and language needs.