Updated: Jan 6
This was the answer I gave when I was recently asked to share my best bit of advice for parents of dyslexic students, especially those who are just learning their child is identiﬁed as dyslexic.
I gave this bit of advice for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is true! Over the years, I have seen hundreds of instances in which a child whom I met because they were struggling with language tasks due to dyslexia put in the work of remediation. By high school the same child wonders why Mom makes such a big deal by worrying about them and reading. I want parents to know that the educational journey of extra tutoring and work they are about to embark on, while expensive and time-consuming, is going to help their child, and that they as parents will be so glad they went to the trouble to do this for their child.
The second reason for my blue sky advice is that I want parents to know now is the time to act. My husband and I are blessed to live on some acreage. After several years of clearing brush, vines, and junk trees, we are at the stage of planting selected trees in planned locations based on their mature size and fall leaf color. It is unlikely we will live to see these skinny saplings in their majestic size, but that does not stop us from planting them. We frequently quote the aphorism to one another, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.” The same holds true for getting a dyslexic child help as soon as the problem becomes apparent. Act now.
The ﬁnal aspect of my advice is getting the right kind of help for your child. Orton-Gillingham approach to remediation is what you are looking for. This is simply the gold standard approach for helping dyslexic individuals learn to read and spell. You can use the Orton-Gillingham Academy tutor ﬁnder feature https://www.ortonacademy.org/for-parents/ﬁnd-a-teacher-tutor/ to look for tutors in your area, or The Literacy Nest has a tutor ﬁnder feature on the home page https://www.theliteracynest.com/ which you can scroll down to use. If there is a school in your area for dyslexic students, they may have a tutor service. Word of mouth is always a good way to ﬁnd services that another parent has been pleased with, just be sure the tutoring is dyslexia-speciﬁc and Orton-Gillingham based.
Individuals with dyslexia will always be dyslexic since dyslexia is a characteristic, not an illness. Being dyslexic does not mean a lifetime of struggle and ultimate academic failure if the right type of help is secured as quickly as possible. That is a message of hope I have seen played out so many times that I know it to be true!