How Parents Can Help Their Child with Dyslexia at Home

Children with dyslexia often have to work hard to keep up with reading and other schoolwork. So as their parent or caregiver, your support can go a long way–not only in improving your child’s reading abilities, but in building their confidence to tackle challenging tasks.

Read on to learn what you can do to support your child with dyslexia at home.

8 ways to help your child with dyslexia at home

1 Read together

Just because a child has dyslexia doesn’t mean they should avoid reading. In fact, families should read together often! This will help normalize reading and create positive memories and feelings toward it. 

Parents and caregivers can help their child sound out words, practice sight words, and discuss what they read together. Kids may feel more comfortable attempting challenging tasks when they’re at home with family rather than at school.

2 Use audiobooks

Children with dyslexia often find audiobooks helpful. This doesn’t mean that audiobooks should replace reading. But when there is assigned book reading for school, it’s OK to let your child use audiobooks as needed. This can lower their stress and help them more easily understand the material. 

Encourage your child to listen to audiobooks for fun, too. Find some topics and stories that interest them. Anything that engages them in the world of books and reading is a good thing!

3 Help with homework and studying 

Some aspects of school can be difficult for kids with dyslexia. That’s why it’s so important to support your child with their homework and studying. Try to be available to help them with school tasks whenever you can. Schedule homework time for when you’ll be at home and distraction free.

Also, make sure your child has an organized, dedicated work space. This can be as simple as having a clutter-free kitchen table with a notebook and pencil handy.

4 Find a tutor

Don’t be afraid to seek extra support for your child through a tutor. Tutors can provide individualized support in a way that's most helpful for your child. Plus, when working one-on-one with a tutor, your child may feel more comfortable asking questions and expressing concerns than they do in the classroom.

5 Help your child sleep and eat well

Kids learn best when they’re well rested and have their nutritional needs met. Children with dyslexia are at a higher risk for developing sleep disorders. Parents can help their child get enough rest by sticking to a set bedtime and nighttime routine. Limiting electronics, such as tablets and phones, before bed also helps set the stage for good sleep.

As much as possible, make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast in the morning. Research has shown that eating breakfast leads to better school performance. Kids who have a meal before school have better concentration and more energy, score higher on tests, and deal better with frustration. 

Breakfasts high in carbohydrates and protein are a good way to fuel the day. Here are some foods to think about including:

  • Oatmeal

  • Whole wheat bread, pita, or tortilla

  • Fresh or frozen fruit

  • Whole grain cereals (low in sugar)

  • Peanut butter

  • Eggs/egg whites

  • Beans

  • Almonds or other nuts

  • Avocado 

  • Low-fat plain yogurt, or low-sugar fruit yogurt

  • Reduced-fat cheese

Be creative and think beyond the cereal bowl! Peanut butter on a tortilla with some fruit on the side can make a great breakfast. Leftovers from dinner the night before are fine, too.

6 Give your child lots of encouragement

Let your child know you see the effort they’re making. When they make progress, tell them! Even if they’re struggling with a task, tell them you’re impressed with how hard they’re working. Praise the process and their progress. Kids need encouragement, and your support can make a big difference.

7 Talk about your child’s strengths

It’s important for kids with dyslexia to be told what they do well. It can be easy for them to focus too much on what’s hard for them. So make sure to remind your child of their talents, whether it’s music, art, telling jokes, being a good friend–it doesn’t matter what it is, just talk it up!

8 Talk about your own weaknesses

Tell your child about things that you find difficult. Maybe math doesn’t come easily for you, or it’s hard for you to stay organized. Explain how you’ve learned to compensate and push through. Your hard-working example will show them that everyone has challenges, and that there are ways to build resiliency!

Getting professional support for your child with dyslexia

There are many ways you can help your child at home, but it’s important to know how to get your child support in school and from professionals, such as a dyslexia specialist or speech therapist.

Stay in regular touch with your child’s teachers. Talk about accommodations that can help your child at school. This might include having extra time on assignments, or taking tests in a quiet space. Your child’s teachers are there to give your child the most support possible. 

Children with dyslexia often qualify for an IEP, or Individual Education Program. This is a legal document in the United States that is developed for children with special educational needs to ensure they receive the right supports in school. The IEP is created by a team of teachers, specialists, therapists, and parents or guardians to document the goals of the child and how they will be met in school.

An IEP might include one-on-one help from specialists and classroom accommodations, or changes to the child’s learning environment. Ask questions and stay in contact with these professionals. You can learn more about advocating for your child’s needs here.

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