My 12-year-old daughter has a pretty kick-ass attitude about dyslexia. It’s more of a footnote¹ to her life, rather than something that defines or limits her.
Her success is a testament to her hard work and perseverance in the face of adversity–not caused by her learning differences, but by the lack of understanding and support she experienced early on at school. In particular, how the “wait and see” approach (also known as the “failure model“) made school harder than it needed to be for her in the long run.
Given her experience with the education system, what would she like you to know?
5 things a 12-year-old wants you to know about dyslexia:
In our new series, “Ask an expert,” we talk to the professionals who devote their lives to making the world a better place for children and adults with dyslexia: the educators, tutors, occupational therapists, psychologists, academics, writers, scientists and more, who inform, educate and advocate.
Our first expert is Nancy Young, a Canadian author and educator who specializes in reading, writing and spelling.
“…the alphabetic code is a secret to many people (including many educators), and … not knowing this code prevents many children from learning to read and spell proficiently.” ~Nancy Young, educator and author
I have spent most of my life wondering how to break the code.
I learned to read and spell by memorizing words and just plain old guessing. It was hit and miss, try and try again. Today I’m a good reader, and I work with words for a living, but I still don’t come by it naturally.
Two years ago, my daughter started a structured literacy reading program (Orton Gillingham-based). I heard words like “phenomes” and “sounds and symbols.” I saw her learn how to decode words in a systematic way — not by guessing.