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I would love to say that my home is always spotless.
The truth is there are usually books laying around, about 10 cups sitting on the counter that have just been left by… everyone, and always piles of LEGO bricks cover the floor. Ironically, the mess that bothers me the least is the LEGO invasion. The reason why is because they are a reminder of how bright my youngest son, Zane, actually is. One day as he played with a friend he created a device that used gears to move a lever. The friend that Zane was playing with looked and said, “I don’t know how to make gears like that work.” But Zane did!
The thing is, in spite of his engineering savvy, Zane has trouble reading… and spelling… and remembering math facts…Because Zane has dyslexia.
Unfortunately, when a person struggles with reading many people automatically assume it is because they are not very smart or they just aren’t motivated to try. The way people view a struggling reader and the things they say to them can make a terrible and lasting impact on that person’s life. As a mother of several children with dyslexia I would like to set the record straight about a couple of things.
Here are two myths about children with dyslexia that are absolutely NOT TRUE.
Myth #1. These people can’t read because they are stupid.
NEVER call my child stupid! He is brilliant!
I remember being at a puppet show once and the puppet called someone in their skit stupid. Suddenly, a kid in the audience cried out, “He used the “S” word. I loved it. “There are other people who teach their children to guard their words,” I thought to myself.
I have heard from so many parents that their children have been called stupid. I am well aware that children can be cruel, but what excuse do adults have? Like in the story above, in our home, the word stupid is treated like a curse word. It is considered foul language.
I have a friend who was told that he was stupid by a teacher when he was a little boy and for a long time in his life he believed her. Today he is paid very well to mentor people in business so that they don’t make stupid decisions. Okay, sometimes the “S” word is appropriate, but not when describing people.
There is a story about a young boy in the mid-1800’s who was sent home from school by his teacher. This teacher informed the boy’s mother that he couldn’t learn. So his mother kept him home and worked with the boy herself. That little boy grew up to hold hundreds of patents for inventions that changed the world. He invented the first light bulb and movie camera (back then it was called a vita-scope). What American child hasn’t heard of Thomas Edison?
It is heartbreaking to hear my children call themselves stupid, but sometimes when something they are learning has them stumped, they do. I have to work hard enough to keep my children encouraged. I don’t want my efforts undermined by the comments of ignorant people.
Myth #2. Children with dyslexia are really just lazy!
I watch my kids have to review more, practice harder, and take longer to complete a lesson. And in spite of getting frustrated and discouraged they stick with it. My children are not lazy. In fact, they are resilient, determined and hard-working. Were you aware that 40% of all successful entrepreneurs are dyslexic? That is an incredibly high percentage when you realize that 10 -20 % of people are considered to have some level of dyslexia. Don’t buy-in to the misconception that people who lose a little focus when something is taking longer to process are lazy.
There is an interesting article about people who got bad grades in school. They were often considered stupid and lazy, but they went on to do amazing things. The article is titled: Bad Grades: The Shocking List of the Biggest Losers in the World , it is worth checking out. If you have a child who struggles with self-esteem because good grades do not come easy, share this article with them.
So, once you dismiss the myths that your dyslexic child is stupid and lazy, build them up in all things they are: brilliant, creative, insightful, clever, fun, ingenious, etc. Basically, concentrate on all the things that are true, not on the the things that aren’t.
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Are you needing help teaching your dyslexic child at home? Below is an affiliate link to some programs I use with my son. These are easy to use and come with everything you need for a multi-sensory approach to learning.
Robin Liner is a wife, and veteran homeschool mom with over twenty years experience. She has written two picture books and actively blogs about homeschooling with an emphasis on teaching dyslexic children at crazygoodreaders.wordpress.com. and athomewithdyslexia.com Feel free to contact her at email@example.com
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