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How to see dyslexia differently and develop your child’s confidence

It can be hard to see dyslexia as the positive learning difference that it is when you see your child struggling with their learning. So here’s a few ways that you can rethink how you see dyslexia for the benefit of your child.

Three ways to change your mindset to benefit your dyslexic child’s self-belief

  1. Explore the limiting beliefs you have around how you see dyslexia.

Firstly, you need to think about how you view dyslexia? Maybe you have personal experience of the challenges of it can encompass, perhaps you have struggled in school. Alternatively, you may have simply been conditioned, like thousands of others, to believe that dyslexia is a disadvantage that makes the individual less able, as though something is wrong with them and you are struggling to see dyslexia differently.

Well then now it’s time to confront those limiting beliefs, look at the evidence, educate yourself about what dyslexia is and celebrate the positive traits of dyslexia when you see them in your child. This will not only solidify your own new, clearer understanding of dyslexia but it will empower your child to see themselves and their learning difference in a far more positive light and see dyslexia differently.

2. Understand what dyslexia is

In brief, dyslexia is a genetic learning difference that affects at least 1 in 10 people all over the world.  It is caused by a difference in the way the brain is wired and produces some tremendous strengths and skills such as communicating, imagining, exploring, influencing, reasoning, to name but a few.

It also produces certain challenges with traditional learning specifically reading and writing skills. Dyslexic people may also have difficulty processing and remembering information which can affect acquiring academic knowledge, mathematical understanding and developing organisational skills.

{N.B. I recently hosted a webinar all about what dyslexia is and how the challenges and strengths relate to one and another.  Go over to my Facebook community – Raising Confident Dyslexic Children to watch.}

Chances are you are more familiar with these challenges than the strengths but without the strengths of dyslexia, society would not be where it is today. 

A huge amount of scientific discoveries, technological advances are owed to dyslexic thinking not to mention world-changing inventors, accomplished authors, directors, actors, musicians, singers, influential politicians and well-known artists.

In addition, plenty of lesser-known ordinary people who have been successful in their own field because of not in spite of their dyslexia. Just so you know – 40% of all self-made millionaires are dyslexic!

Just a few familiar faces of people with dyslexia.  Taken from ‘Positive Dyslexia, by Ron Nicolson

Ok so that’s all well and good for them but how does it apply to my child who is struggling and refusing to read and write?

3. Applying your knowledge to help your child

Explain to your child all the positive aspects of dyslexia that I have mentioned above. Talk to them about the celebrities, scientists and entrepreneurs who they will be familiar with, you can google these but as with all internet, searches make sure they are reliable sources.

Familiarise yourself with this list, notice when your child applies these dyslexic thinking skills and point it out to them.  This will reinforce the positive connotation you both have with dyslexia. 

  • Communicating: Crafting and conveying clear and engaging messages
  • Imagining: Creating an original piece of work, or giving ideas a new spin
  • Visualising: Interacting with space, coming up with physical ideas and new concepts through exploring possibilities, making connections and inventing.
  • Exploring: Being especially curious and exploring ideas in a persistent and energetic way.
  • Connecting: Demonstrating an understanding of themselves and people around them, emphasising with and influencing others.
  • Reasoning: Understanding patterns, simplifying complex issues, analysing and evaluating possibilities, solving problems and making decisions. In general – seeing the big picture.

Take it to the next level:

Once you and your child have begun to see dyslexia differently, to really help your child benefit from your dyslexia awareness apply some Growth Mindset strategies to help your child understand they can improve and increase their skills and abilities.

1. Talking to them about the brain:

  •  “Your brain is a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets.”

When children learn how their brains work and grow, they take the first steps of developing a growth mindset.

2. Praising for effort and strategy rather than achievement

Focusing more on the processes of what children do rather than their results can develop a growth mindset. For example:

  •  “That was a clever idea to tackle the hardest task first”

This type of praise helps children to develop the belief that success has more to do with what they do and the effort they put in than any innate skills and talents.

3. Showing them the power of yet

Encouraging them to add the word ‘yet’ to their complaints. For example:

  • “I can’t do this…….yet.”

This reframes their mindset and teaches them that effort and persistence, will enable them to achieve what they had previously thought was beyond them. 

4. Celebrate their mistakes

Get excited when opportunities for growth occur! In a challenging moment, say things like:

  •  “You can learn from this” or “Mistakes help you improve”

Create an environment where setbacks are expected and even celebrated.

5. Discuss feelings, good and bad

Discuss how positive feelings such as satisfaction, enjoyment, and happiness come from persisting through challenges and not giving up when things get difficult.

Sometimes it can be difficult to talk about negative emotions. These suggestions can make it easier:

  • Share how you sometimes feel sad, anxious, or even hopeless.
  • Explain that negative feelings happen to everyone and are perfectly normal.
  • Discuss how these feelings may serve as clues that you need to shift your thinking and attitude. For instance, fear means it’s time to be brave, anxiety means it’s time to ask for help, sadness means it’s time to talk, etc.

Now you need to put this into action, address how you feel about dyslexia, understand this that this learning difference provides your child with some terrific advantages and point out to them when they demonstrate these dyslexic strengths so hey can see dyslexia differently.  Once you are familiar with this process start applying the growth mindset strategies to really ingrain these positive messages.

For more information, support and ideas join my Facebook community – https://www.facebook.com/groups/283932256081521/

or contact me direct:

Zoë Brown MSc, ADG, APC, APS BDA
Dyslexia Specialist
E-mail: zoeb@mancroftlearning.co.uk
Tel: 01986 788011 or 07738 867005
Address: Globe House, Denton, Harleston, Norfolk,IP20 0BD

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