The Ultimate Guide To Dyslexia For Parents

Dyslexia Awareness Week is from the 2nd October to 8th October. It’s a celebration of people of all backgrounds who have dyslexia. This week is all about the individual journey that each person has, and how it shapes the person to become uniquely themselves. It’s a time to appreciate them.

As a parent, dyslexia might make you a little nervous when thinking about how it will affect your child, and how you can help them. This guide might help you answer some of the questions you have.


dyslexia guide


What Is Dyslexia?


Dyslexia essentially is a difficulty that affects the ability to read and decode words. It results in a discrepancy between ability and achievement.

While a child or adult has the intelligence to be able to read, write, or spell, the dyslexia means that this is challenging for them. It can mean that the individual can’t easily recognise or retrieve words. Spelling, reading and writing can all be problematic.


How Common Is Dyslexia?


It’s estimated that around 10% of the population have dyslexia. Unfortunately, many children are undiagnosed.


Signs Of Dyslexia


There are some common signs that can indicate your child could have dyslexia.


Young Children


  • Delayed speech
  • Difficulty following directions.
  • Trouble with learning simple rhymes
  • Difficulty with short words
  • Leave out words such as ‘the’, ‘and’ or ‘but’
  • Difficulty telling left from right.


School Age Children


  • Difficulty learning to read.
  • Difficulty sounding words out or counting syllables.
  • Reverse letters and numbers when reading.
  • Difficulty spelling.
  • Reading slowly.
  • Becoming fatigued when reading.
  • Difficulty associating sounds with letters.
  • Difficulty understanding logos or signs.
  • Difficulty telling time.
  • Difficulty following long or multi-step instructions.
  • Emotional outbursts and frustration


How Is Dyslexia Diagnosed?


Dyslexia can be diagnosed after a dyslexia diagnostic assessment. The test examines the following:

  • Reading and writing abilities
  • Logical reasoning
  • Memory
  • Language development and vocabulary
  • The speed at which your child can process visual and auditory information
  • Organisational skills
  • Approaches to learning


You can speak to your child’s teachers if you are concerned first, and they may be able to provide additional teaching or support for your child.

If you are still concerned about your child’s progress, a dyslexia assessment can be carried out by an educational psychologist or a qualified specialist dyslexia teacher.

After the assessment, you will receive a report that allows you to understand their strengths and weaknesses. This will provide you with recommendations to help improve the areas they are struggling with.


How To Help Your Child


There are some things that you can do to support your child’s learning.


SEN Support


You can contact your child’s school.  The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) can discuss your worries and help put support in place.


Educational Health and Care Plans


If your child has more complex and severe needs, they may require an Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This outlines your child’s needs and support required within a legal document.


Supporting Your Child At Home


If you want to understand how to help your child with their dyslexia yourself, then the British Dyslexia Association has helpful advice around supporting them with spelling, handwriting, homework and reading.

You can learn more here.

You can also ask your child’s school if they use any dyslexia specific reading programs, and if so, which ones do they use. You can ask for resources that you can use at home as well, so that everyone is on the same page.

You can also look into things like audio books. Your child can listen to the audio and follow along in a physical book.

You can ask your child’s school about what support and arrangements they can put in place for your child. They may be able to provide things like a quiet area, or extra time on tests.

You should also be aware that there can be emotional frustration for your child. Even what can seem like small everyday things for other students can be highly emotionally triggering for a child with dyslexia. Things such as reading out loud in class, or playing board games can cause feelings of self-consciousness, or avoidant behaviour.

Remember to talk to your child and be specific that it is not their abilities that cause the issues, it’s the dyslexia. Praise their efforts and let them know that you know that things have been hard for them. Identify the strengths that they have, perhaps drawing or creativity. Don’t ignore if your child has negative self-talk, redirect it into positive statements. Remind your child that dyslexia has no bearing on intelligence. It really just means that they learn in a different way.