Students with dyslexia can be incredibly clever at hiding their problems. While they may not be reading as well as their classmates, they tend to have a high degree of intellect that often overshadows the core issues at hand. In fact, some of the smartest people in history struggled with dyslexia and still reached a high level of achievement. From Leonardo da Vinci to Albert Einstein, Henry Winkler to Keanu Reeves, Richard Branson to Pablo Picasso, many famous people did not allow their dyslexia to define their lives or careers.
However, they are all too often the exception rather than the rule. Students with dyslexia are often end up in remedial learning programs that do not allow them to reach their potential. The key to reducing the struggles a child with dyslexia experiences is early identification and intervention.
The first step is to accurately identify the problem. This can be difficult in more seasoned students who continue to struggle but have learned to hide their challenges. Students with dyslexia often develop negative coping mechanisms to cover up their inability to read. These can include:
Getting Others to Read to Them
Children with dyslexia can often encourage adults, siblings and even their peers to read things for them, using charm to compliment and encourage. e.g. “It’s so much better, Dad, when you read it with your special voices.”
Misbehaving in Class
It is far easier and far cooler to be punished for being the class clown than to call attention to reading issues. Students with dyslexia may use deviant behavior to hide their academic struggles.
Appearing to be Lazy or Daydreaming a Lot
All kids can be lazy, but children with dyslexia are pros at avoiding homework. It is all too easy to dismiss it as lazy behavior and not see the underlying problem. If a child is disinterested in schoolwork and reading or claims to understand something without putting the effort forth to master the material, it's likely a sign that an academic issue like dyslexia is present.
When all else fails, a child who is not coping with their academic challenges may resort to aggressive behavior to distract from the core issue.
It's important to realize that these negative coping strategies for dyslexia can make the situation worse. If you suspect your child has reading difficulties, you can help your child develop more positive coping strategies by providing praise and positive reinforcement when children acknowledge and face his or her challenges head on. In addition, check with a teacher to get some feedback on how your child is doing at school. However, recognize that not all teachers have the time, or the training to competently diagnose and treat dyslexia. It is often best to consult with a professional.
We here at Brain Balance Achievement Centers, have worked with tens of thousands of children and their families to construct personal plans that meet the individual needs and challenges of each child. Get started with us today!