I remember getting frustrated with my oldest son, because he couldn’t tell me what the word was that we had just read a couple pages back. He looked at it and clearly guessed. I, as a former classroom teacher turned homeschooling mom, was beyond frustrated. I’d researched curriculum, pulled out every trick I knew to help him learn to read and still…he couldn’t. I felt like a failure as a homeschooler, a teacher, and as a mom. And I knew my sweet seven year old boy felt worse.
Then in my research I started to hear more about dyslexia. The more I read, the more I suspected that he might be dyslexic. My husband’s family had clear signs of it and, since it’s hereditary, I was even more certain that that’s what we were dealing with in our son. And, if you’re a parent, you probably know that that suspicion that it might be dyslexia is pretty darn terrifying.
We were so, so blessed at that point, because my husband’s good friend from college, Kelli Sandman-Hurley, had just gotten her doctorate studying can you guess what? Yep, dyslexia. In fact, she and her friend, Tracy Block-Zaretsky, had started the Dyslexia Training Institute in San Diego, CA. I was able to jump on a phone call with Kelli and explain the things I was seeing and describe the family history. She agreed that it sounded an awful like dyslexia and recommended that we get an independent evaluation done. She also suggested that I read Dr. Sally Shaywitz’s book, Overcoming Dyslexia.
Long story just a little bit longer, we had an independent evaluation done where he was indeed diagnosed with severe dyslexia. He had five years of Wilson Reading Tutoring that was 3-4 days each week and he graduated from the program in 2015. He’s now in his second semester of 9th grade and has learned to advocate for himself, use his accommodations, and make Honor Roll at the online charter school that he attends. He worked so, so hard and I am so proud of his efforts.
But you know what? I still beat myself up when I think too long about how frustrated I used to get with him all of those years ago.
All of this to say that if you’re a parent who suspects dyslexia in your child or who has a child with a dyslexia diagnosis, you have to educate yourself. Here are the four books that I would recommend reading first:
Books About Dyslexia for Parents of Dyslexic Children
Overcoming Dyslexia by Dr. Sally Shaywitz
The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning by Ben Foss
Dyslexia Advocate: How to Advocate for a Child with Dyslexia in the Public School System by Dr. Kelli Sandman-Hurley
Fish In a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
I’d also highly recommend that you watch the following videos:
- What is Dyslexia? by Dr. Kelli Sandman-Hurley
- Dyslexia Explained: What’s It Like Being Dyslexic? by Nessy
- Overcoming Dyslexia, Finding Passion: Piper Otterbein at TEDExYouth
- ALL of the Dyslexia for a Day Videos by Dyslexia Training Institute
A dyslexia diagnosis can be scary, but know that you are not alone. Your child can develop coping skills, he can learn to read, and, above all else, know that it is not your fault. Have questions or just need an ear of someone who understands? Leave a comment below! Thanks for being here, friends!
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