10 Important steps to take after your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia.

We understand that when your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, in some cases this may include other co-occuring conditions, it can be particularly overwhelming for all involved.
You may have or are experiencing feelings of worry, denial or a wanting to not tackle the problem head on but that is exactly what you must do. Give yourself a little time to get your head around it but after that you must be pro-active, you are your child’s voice! Early Intervention is essential to helping your child cope.
Don’t feel guilty. You did not cause your child to have dyslexia and you could not have prevented it. Don’t blame anyone else – the child, the teacher, the other parent. Dyslexia is a fact of life – accept it and think of positive things you can do.
Having dyslexia is tough but it does not define a person. Dyslexia is often referred to as a neurological brain based disability but in disability is the word ABILITY! People with dyslexia are amazingly talented and gifted. They are extremely able but just need a guiding and supportive hand along the way. Dyslexics are blessed with seeing things in a different way to others.
So many successful people cope with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia etc. in their everyday lives. You must look beyond the label and say to your self o.k. so my child is dyslexic, now what can I do to help? Dyslexic brains just learn differently. It certainly does not mean they are stupid or lazy! Lets work together and find out the best way for your child to experience success with their learning and tailor methods that best suit their individual learning style.

The road will have many challenges along the way but the future is very very bright! Please be reassured that here at Holy Family we are here to support you and your child every step of the way. 

Mr. Madden (Reading Class Teacher) and The Holy Family Team

If you’ve just learned that your child has dyslexia, it can be reassuring to know two things. First, dyslexia is a common learning issue that many successful people have. Second, there are proven teaching strategies and accommodations that can help. Learn what you can do next to get your child the support s/he needs at school and at home.

1. Learn all you can about dyslexia.
Understanding his/her challenges is key to getting your child the best help. Learn what dyslexia is and isn’t. Discover how the dyslexic brain works differently. Get an idea of what your child may be experiencing. Speak about it to them openly at home. The Dyslexia Association of Ireland (D.A.I.) is a good place to start.
If your child has been diagnosed with a co-occurring condition(s) look up information on those too, here and below.

Watch out for possible…
Visual Difficulties: School medicals may not be enough. Has vision been checked by an optometrist? Does your child lose their place when reading or make many reversals? Are they light sensitive or does the print blur or appear to move?
Children with dyslexia can have particular difficulties with their vision. This can be referred to as Visual Stress. Some of these difficulties may not show up in a regular eye test and a referral to an optometrist or orthoptist may be needed. There is a short piece on this on the British Dyslexia Association’s website to help you understand if your child may benefit from an examination. Visit this information here.
Glasses with tinted lenses, printing on pastel coloured paper and turning down the brightness of the computer screen can help. For more information you should talk to your G.P. or optician.
You can also visit this website for more information on glasses with tinted lenses.
Hearing Difficulties: Has hearing been checked? In younger years or even now your child may have or had ‘glue ear’ which could have hindered auditory perception of sounds in words? Again your normal hearing test may not be enough. Speak with your G.P. or audiologist for more information.

2. Investigate dyslexia treatments and therapies.
Refer to your child’s report for a list of recommendations. This is very important. The psychologists report can often appear very wordy and difficult to understand. Ask them to go through it and explain it to you, take notes. Arrange an appointment with us here in school and we can also help you to understand.
Once you get the report and you have a full understanding of it, file it away safely. You will need it again whether its to pass on to us here in school or to other agencies relevant to your child’s needs. Refer to the recommendations section regularly.
If your child’s report suggests intervention from outside agencies such as an Occupational Therapist or Speech and Language Therapist you must act on it. Sitting and leaving the difficulty on its own will not make it go away. Action is needed! There is no problem should you need to take an appointment during the child’s school working day. If any are taken after school make sure and let us know. We are all in this together and being on the same page is incredibly important.
Become a member of the D.A.I. They will have a list of workshops and qualified tutors in your area. To give your child the best possible chance you really need to be doing extra work on a regular basis outside of school. This can be costly at times, always inquire if there may be discounts or support funding available.
Remember you are your child’s voice.
3. Discuss dyslexia supports and services with us here at school.
Make sure copies of any reports from doctors or specialists have been given to us here at school. About a month or so into the school year we will schedule a meeting, once the children have settled and we have begun to get an idea of their personality and learning style. We will talk with you about how you are getting on and about your child. We will discuss any supports and services that might be helpful, such as accommodations and assistive technology like text-to-speech software.
4. Talk with your child about dyslexia.
Consider what to say (and what to avoid saying) when introducing him/her to the concept. Help your child understand how dyslexia might affect them in certain areas, including their social life. Visit this link from the D.A.I. for some tips.
Arrange a visit before September to take a tour of Holy Family and our Reading Classes. It is a huge relief for a child to learn that they are not stupid or lazy and that many other children are also like them. Letting them know about all the famous people who are dyslexic always impresses them!
For children starting for the first time in The Reading Classes an open afternoon will be arranged giving them to chance to meet up as a group and get a feel for what is ahead. You will be notified of this around mid June. It will also be a chance for you as a parent/ guardian to ask any unanswered questions you may have.
5. Teach your child to self-advocate (Speaking up for themselves).
Talk through some of the ways s/he can ask for help when their dyslexia makes it clear they need it. Learning how to self-advocate is a skill that can offer benefits throughout their life.
Here in the Reading Class I will regularly ask the children questions so they can try to explain to me exactly what they are experiencing. This gives a personal insight into how they learn and helps to formulate their learning plan. Like us all, they will have good days when the struggle is less and others when they really find things tough during the day. It is interesting to try and find out exactly what is going on in their heads. Keep in check and ask them yourself at home. Help them to express themselves.
6. Know the signs of mental health issues.
Kids confidence with learning and attention issues can really take a bruising knock. Some children can cope better than others. Every child is different but it can take some children a long time to pick themselves up and dust themselves down again. Building confidence is Number 1 here at Holy Family. Really focus on their gifts and talents whatever that may be. Help them experience success outside of ‘school work’.
7. Learn what you can do at home.
Look into fun ways to encourage reading and writing outside of school. Visit the local library, become a member. Audio Books are fantastic and are the key to unlocking the wonder of reading for even the most struggling student. Visit museums and interactive family days out. Tap into their interests and use their strengths. Create a homework space that works for your child. Learn ways to build self-esteem and help your child stay motivated.
Research information on dyslexia and if your child has a co-occurring condition(s) look up stuff on the internet about those too! Social media sites such as Facebook has so much more to it than just cat videos, photos of the most amazing night ever and pics of last nights dinner!
Liking pages related to dyslexia and co-occurring conditions can be very useful as the articles or information published can be short and you won’t have to wade through pages and pages of a book. Although, that is good too! Different groups also use this platform to let you know of useful workshops or handy courses available. Don’t be left out of the loop!
Not a fan of a Facebook? Sign up anyway with an account that is just for dyslexia and other relevant info. You don’t have to get sucked into the whole social media thing.
Do your computer/ tablet skills need brushing up? This is crucially important. Assistive technology plays a vital role into helping your child cope. Look out for courses run by the D.A.I. or local workshops. In the autumn/ winter time many secondary schools run night classes on developing computer/ tablet skills. Keep an eye out and enroll! Perfect if you have a child starting here in September.
8. Find support.
This is a HUGELY important one…FOR YOU! Connect with other parents of children with dyslexia in your community. It can be tough going at times. Having people around you who know exactly what you are going through is immensely important for your own mental health. Get to know the location of some good workshops. Go together! Share experiences and information.
Meet up, go for coffee, arrange a walk, meet up for the match, chat in the pub over a pint or a glass of wine, call round for a cuppa and a choccy biccy! Sharing knowledge and expertise is crucial and will ease the bumps along the way.  No better place to start then meeting the parents and guardians of the children in your child’s Reading Class! Arrange a play date. Get talking : ) Your child will receive the positive knock on affects of it too.
9. Keep in touch with us!
It is very important for you to know what we are experiencing in the classroom when working with your child. Staying in contact with us can keep you on the same page about whether the supports and services are working as well as how your child is getting on.
10. Remind your child that dyslexia doesn’t define him/ her.
Sit together and chat together about dyslexia. Explore dyslexia success stories. Encourage them to read books or watch movies that feature characters with dyslexia. Let them know that his/ her reading and writing issues don’t define who s/he is or limit what they can do.
Explain to them that they certainly are not stupid or lazy. Their brains just learn differently. Remind them to never let dyslexia be an excuse to get out of pushing themselves. Dyslexic people are very talented but just need to work harder than others to get there. The road has many twists and turns but the future is so bright.

Strive to be the best that you can be!

Looking for more tips? Have a look here.