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Talking to Children About Dyslexia

One of the most important ways to support a child with learning differences is to communicate openly and often.  Choose times and places where you are both relaxed.  You can start a discussion by asking questions about the child’s experience at school, your own experiences, or observations about the child’s strengths and challenges.  Use clear, accurate language to explain dyslexia and how it may affect learning.  Be honest if you don’t know something, and use it as an opportunity to investigate together.  Acknowledge challenges and difficult feelings, while keeping the overall tone and message positive.  Most importantly, make sure the child knows they have your unconditional love and support. 


Here are excellent articles and scripts for talking about dyslexia:

Understood: 8 tips for introducing dyslexia to your child

PDF article with short tips on what to say and why

Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity: Talking with your child about dyslexia

PDF article written for parents with anecdotes and examples

Dyslexia Scotland: Explaining dyslexia to children

PDF handout listing talking points, with additional books and resources What to do when your child says “I can’t”

PDF article What to do when your child says “I’m Dumb”

PDF article

Australian Public Broadcast: Dyslexia by Eliza

Link to three-minute YouTube video with brain-based explanation of dyslexia created by and for school-age children

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