All children learn at different rates and the developmental range of what “normal” looks like is huge. But what should you do if your child is struggling with learning to read despite everyone’s best efforts?
#1 Learn the signs
Up to one in five people have dyslexia, so it is important to know the signs. Here are two great resources to find out more information:
#2 Check your child’s eyesight
Go to the actual eye doctor, not just the pediatrician. Really investigate your child’s vision. When I was a K-4 teacher I knew of a child who struggled learning to read who turned out to be blind in one eye.
#3 Seek out professional assessment for dyslexia
If parental intuition tells you that your child might indeed have dyslexia, research your child’s rights to receive assessment through your local school district. However, understand that the IEP process is long and involved. If your child is performing close to grade level–even though they exhibit a multitude of dyslexia symptoms–the school district might not feel assessment is warranted. In that case, you might consider having your child privately assessed. Decoding Dyslexia will have more information about practitioners in your state who can assess your child. Expect to pay anywhere from $2,00-$5,000 for private assessment.
#4 Start immediate at-home intervention, just in case
On my blog, Teaching My Baby to Read, I talk a lot about “Afterschooling.”
Afterschooling is when parents introduce a core academic pursuit that is in support of, or in addition to, what their child is already learning in school, and when the parents organize this instruction in a meaningful way.
You might feel ill-equipped to Afterschool for dyslexia, but the truth is that parents can help their child make tremendous progress with time, encouragement, and patience. I have a whole list of multisensory activities that teach reading right here, but they are not specifically designed for children with dyslexia. I think a better approach would be to sign your child up for a Nessy.com subscription, which only costs $10 a month.
Nessy is a reading program from England specifically designed for kids with dyslexia. It’s a phonics-based approach full of fun games and videos. If it turns out that your child does not have dyslexia after all, Nessy still would have been beneficial. Think of it like “reading insurance.”
#5 Read. Read. Read!
Read to your child every day, no matter what. Make books fun. Make they enjoyable! Convey to your child a true love of literature. Be clear that “ear reading” is every bit as acceptable as traditional reading.
#6 Stay positive.
Finding out more information about your child does not change how smart they are, how much you love them, or forecast anything about their future. Information is only that: information. When you find out more details about how your child’s brain works, you’ll be able to better help your son or daughter learn to read.