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Homework Strategies for Parents and Students who have Dyslexia

Categories : Disability Type , Learning Disabilities , Parenting


For answers, I sat down with  Learning Ally's    parent support specialists  -  Meriah Houser, Sally Pistilli, Diane Taranto, Norma Francullo and Deborah Lynam. They have helped me many times in the past, and they are always available for one-on-one free parent consultations by calling 800.635-1403 or by logging onto your membership dashboard.

Learning Together,  Jules Johnson


For a student who has dyslexia, do you advise starting homework right away or allow a break after school?


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Robert Langston

7 Ways to help dyslexic children succeed

Posted February 7, 2010

how to help a dyslexic child with homework

1. Full discloser is the order of the day

It has been my experience that children want straight answers to what is happening with them and why. Educate yourself on dyslexia, and then share what you have learned with the child. If a child is left to his or her own devices to figure out what is wrong, the chances are what he or she comes up with will be worse than what is actually happening (i.e. 'I'm just stupid' or 'my brain is broken'). Educate yourself and your child to demystify the situation.

2. Reinforce strengths

The average child spends a tremendous amount of time mastering how to read and write. If a child has learning challenges, this time can become associated with struggle and defeat. It is critical that you find alternative ways for this child to experience success. Be attentive and aware; seek out the child's strengths and magnify them. Keep in mind that a child may look to you as a barometer of their overall worth. Remember that a child's strength may not always be a traditional strength like sports. It may be more unique, such as Lego construction or being a good friend to others.

3. Reading is hard work-- at least make it interesting

Dyslexic children might not like the reading process but they can really like the content. Finding passages that relate to the child's interests can make the experience more enjoyable. For example: If a child has an affinity for All Terrain Vehicles (ATV's) then take pages from ATV magazines and watch the motivation levels rise.

4. Provide current role models

Everyone has seen the black and white picture of Albert Einstein with his hair standing on end that has been associated with dyslexia. I feel it is harder for children today to draw self-confidence from someone who died in the 1950's, even though he is a great role model. Give them modern-day dyslexic role models: Orlando Bloom, Jackie Chan, McDreamy himself, Patrick Dempsey, and don't forget some ladies too: Selma Hayek, Jewel, Whoopi Goldberg. Keeping it current can keep it real for children.

5. Assistive technology

Buying a child with dyslexia a computer is not giving them assistive technology. Adding Dragon Naturally Speaking or Kurzweil 3000 and working with them until they master using the voice recognition software is a step in the right direction. Let's face it. For dyslexics, the ability to have your computer read an email aloud and transcribe your response is an assistive technology home run. I'm not saying to stop trying to teach your child to read. A good balance of hard work and help can ensure better productivity in school and life.

6. Multi-sensory approach to learning at school or home

There are schools which I refer to in The Power of Dyslexic Thinking as 'pockets of greatness.' These are schools around the country that use a multi-sensory approach to teach children with learning challenges. If you cannot afford to send a child to schools such as Churchill Center & School in Missouri or Currey Ingram Academy in Tennessee then maybe you can find local tutors trained in the same methods that these schools use. Some of these methods include the Orton-Gillingham, Slingerland Approach or Wilson Reading System. Look online for local tutor-locating search engines.

7. Provide accommodations

Early intervention provides the greatest chance of success in reading fluency. Remember that preserving a child's self esteem intact is the most important factor in his or her surviving and thriving in the classroom and life. For this, I offer the accommodation list I used myself: Oral test-taking, classroom note-takers, people reading written assignments onto a recorder, audio books and un-timed test-taking. Focus on what it will take for a child to learn in his or her class tomorrow and you both will live to read another day.

In service to children,


The article you just read was a contribution I made to SheKnows.com. To see the article on SheKnows.com click this link 7 Ways to help dyslexic children succeed

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Robert Langston

Robert Langston is the founder of the For the Children Foundation and author of The Power of Dyslexic Thinking .

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Supporting Dyslexic Children: Tips for Parents

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what parents can do to help the dyslexic child

Dyslexia is a learning difference that affects the way children process language, making it challenging for them to read, write, and spell. As a parent, it's crucial to understand how to support your dyslexic child effectively. By creating a supportive environment, developing tailored learning strategies, collaborating with teachers, utilizing assistive technology, promoting self-esteem, seeking professional help when needed, and building a support network, you can empower your child to thrive despite their dyslexia.

Key Takeaways

  • Create a supportive environment at home to foster your child's self-esteem and love for learning.
  • Develop personalized learning strategies that cater to your child's strengths and address their specific challenges.
  • Collaborate with teachers and schools to ensure your child receives appropriate accommodations and support in the classroom.
  • Utilize assistive technology tools and resources to enhance your child's reading, writing, and organizational skills.

Take a look at this Youtube video:

Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects a person's ability to read, spell, write, and even speak. It is not a result of laziness or lack of intelligence, but rather a neurological condition that affects the way the brain processes language. While dyslexia cannot be cured, there are various strategies and techniques that can assist dyslexic children in overcoming challenges and reaching their full potential.

As a parent, you play a vital role in supporting and advocating for your dyslexic child. Here are some practical tips to help you navigate this journey:

  • Early Identification: Early detection is crucial in providing timely interventions and support. Keep an eye out for signs of dyslexia, such as difficulty with letter recognition, rhyming, and phonemic awareness.
  • Open Communication: Establish open lines of communication with your child's teachers and school staff. Share information about your child's diagnosis and collaborate on strategies to support their learning needs.
  • Multisensory Approach: Utilize a multisensory approach to learning, incorporating visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements. This can involve activities like using colored overlays for reading, engaging in hands-on learning experiences, and incorporating music or rhythmic patterns into studying.
  • Assistive Technology: Explore the use of assistive technology tools that can help your child overcome reading and writing challenges. Speech-to-text software, audiobooks, and text-to-speech programs can all be valuable resources.
  • Encourage Reading: Foster a love for reading by providing dyslexia-friendly books and materials. Look for books with larger fonts, shorter sentences, and increased spacing between lines to make reading less daunting.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Celebrate your child's achievements, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can boost their confidence and motivation to keep trying.
  • Emotional Support: Dyslexia can be frustrating and emotionally challenging for children. Be supportive and empathetic, creating a safe space for them to express their feelings and concerns.

Every dyslexic child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. experiment with different strategies and approaches to find what best suits your child's needs. with your unwavering support, they can thrive and succeed in their educational journey.

→   When to Test for Dyslexia: Best Age and Practices

Identifying Dyslexic Children

Dyslexia can sometimes be challenging to identify in children, as its symptoms can vary from person to person. However, there are certain signs that parents can look out for to help identify dyslexic children. These signs may include difficulty in reading and writing, trouble recognizing letters and numbers, poor spelling skills, and a slow pace of learning compared to their peers.

If you suspect that your child may be dyslexic, there are several ways you can support them in their learning journey. Here are some helpful tips for parents:

  • Early Intervention: It is crucial to identify dyslexia as early as possible to provide timely support. If you notice signs of dyslexia, consult with a healthcare professional or educational specialist for an evaluation.
  • Create a Supportive Environment: Foster a positive and supportive environment at home. Encourage your child to explore their interests and provide opportunities for reading and writing in a relaxed setting.
  • Use Multisensory Techniques: Dyslexic children often benefit from multisensory learning approaches. Incorporate activities that engage multiple senses, such as using tactile materials, visual aids, and auditory cues.
  • Break Tasks into Smaller Steps: Help your child tackle complex tasks by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps. This approach can improve their confidence and reduce feelings of overwhelm.
  • Provide Regular Practice: Encourage regular practice of reading and writing skills. Make it enjoyable by incorporating games, puzzles, and interactive activities.
  • Utilize Assistive Technology: Assistive technology tools and apps can be valuable resources for dyslexic children. These tools offer features like text-to-speech, speech recognition, and word prediction, which can support their learning and enhance independence.
  • Advocate for Support at School: Collaborate with your child's school to ensure they receive appropriate support. Work with teachers, special educators, and administrators to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) tailored to your child's needs.

By recognizing the signs of dyslexia and implementing these tips, parents can help their dyslexic children thrive academically and emotionally. Remember, each child is unique, so it's important to adapt these strategies to suit your child's individual strengths and challenges.

💡 It is important for parents to be aware of the signs of dyslexia in children, such as difficulties with reading, spelling, and writing. Early identification and intervention can greatly support the child's learning and development. Seeking professional guidance and support can make a significant difference in the child's educational journey.

→   Typography and Dyslexia: Is Times New Roman Friendly?

Creating a Supportive Environment

Supporting dyslexic children requires creating a supportive environment that nurtures their unique learning needs. As parents, there are several practical tips you can implement to create a positive and empowering atmosphere for your child.

  • Open Communication: Encourage open dialogue with your child about their struggles and successes. Listening attentively and empathizing with their experiences will help them feel understood and supported.
  • Celebrate Strengths: Dyslexic children often possess exceptional strengths in areas such as creativity, problem-solving, and spatial awareness. Recognize and celebrate these strengths to boost their self-esteem and confidence.
  • Provide Multisensory Learning: Engage your child in multisensory activities that combine different senses (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) to enhance their learning experience. For example, using colorful manipulatives for math or incorporating music and movement into language exercises.
  • Break Tasks into Manageable Chunks: Complex tasks can be overwhelming for dyslexic children. Break them down into smaller, more manageable steps to alleviate stress and enhance their sense of accomplishment.
  • Establish Routines: Consistency and predictability are essential for dyslexic children. Establishing daily routines and clearly communicating expectations will provide a sense of stability and reduce anxiety.
  • Utilize Assistive Technology: Explore the use of assistive technology tools that can support your child's learning. Text-to-speech software, speech recognition programs, and electronic spell-checkers can all enhance their independence and learning experience.
  • Foster a Growth Mindset: Encourage your child to embrace a growth mindset, emphasizing that intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort and perseverance. This mindset helps them view challenges as opportunities for growth rather than setbacks.
  • Collaborate with Educators: Foster a collaborative relationship with your child's teachers and school staff. Share information about their strengths and challenges, and work together to create personalized learning plans that meet their individual needs.

By implementing these tips, you can create an environment that supports and empowers your dyslexic child. Remember, each child is unique, so it may be necessary to adapt these strategies to suit their specific needs and preferences.

💡 Tip: Creating a supportive environment for dyslexic children is crucial. Provide them with a quiet and organized space for studying and reading. Avoid distractions and ensure good lighting. Encourage their interests and hobbies, as this can boost their confidence and motivation. Remember to be patient and understanding, and celebrate their achievements no matter how small. Your support and understanding can make a world of difference for a dyslexic child.

→   Dyslexia and Anger: Managing Emotional Challenges in Education

Developing Effective Learning Strategies

One of the most important aspects of supporting dyslexic children is developing effective learning strategies. By implementing these strategies, parents can help their children overcome challenges and thrive academically.

  • Multisensory Learning: Dyslexic children often benefit from using multiple senses while learning. Encourage your child to engage in hands-on activities, such as tracing letters in sand or using magnetic letters to form words. This approach helps reinforce learning through different sensory experiences.
  • Breaking Tasks into Smaller Steps: Complex tasks can be overwhelming for dyslexic children. Break down assignments or projects into smaller, manageable steps. This not only makes the task more approachable but also helps your child stay organized and focused.
  • Visual Aids and Graphic Organizers: Visual aids, such as charts, diagrams, and graphic organizers, can assist dyslexic children in understanding and organizing information. These tools provide visual representations that enhance comprehension and memory retention.
  • Providing Structured Support: Establish a structured routine for your child's study time. Set aside specific times for homework and provide a quiet and distraction-free environment. This routine helps dyslexic children feel more secure and focused.
  • Encouraging Reading and Writing: Encourage your child to read and write regularly. Start with materials that match their reading level and gradually increase the complexity. Provide opportunities for them to express their thoughts through writing, such as keeping a journal or writing stories. This practice helps improve reading fluency and writing skills.
  • Using Assistive Technology: Assistive technology can be a valuable tool for dyslexic children. Explore options such as text-to-speech software, speech recognition apps, or dyslexia-friendly fonts. These technologies can enhance accessibility and support independent learning.
  • Building Confidence and Self-Esteem: Dyslexic children may face challenges that affect their confidence and self-esteem. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small, and provide positive reinforcement. Help them focus on their strengths and talents, fostering a sense of self-worth.

By implementing these strategies, parents can make a significant impact on their dyslexic child's learning journey. Remember, each child is unique, so it may be helpful to experiment with different approaches and tailor them to your child's specific needs and preferences.

Collaborating with Teachers and Schools

When it comes to supporting dyslexic children, collaborating with teachers and schools is of critical importance. By working together, parents and educators can create an environment that nurtures the unique needs of these children and helps them thrive academically and emotionally.

Here are some valuable tips for parents on how to collaborate effectively with teachers and schools:

  • Establish open lines of communication: Start by building a good relationship with your child's teacher. Share information about your child's strengths, weaknesses, and any strategies that have proven successful in the past. Regularly communicate with the teacher to stay updated on your child's progress and address any concerns promptly.
  • Advocate for your child: Be an advocate for your child's needs. Stay informed about dyslexia and the accommodations and support available in the school system. If necessary, request meetings with teachers and school administrators to discuss specific accommodations or modifications that can benefit your child.
  • Provide resources and support: Offer resources and materials to teachers that can assist in the education of dyslexic children. This might include books, websites, or apps that can help improve reading and writing skills. Collaborate with the teacher to find the best methods and tools for your child's learning style.
  • Attend parent-teacher meetings: Make it a priority to attend parent-teacher meetings and be an active participant in your child's education. Use these meetings as an opportunity to discuss your child's progress, ask questions, and brainstorm strategies for further support.
  • Foster a positive home-school connection: Encourage a positive relationship between your child's school and home life. This can involve engaging in activities and events organized by the school, volunteering in the classroom, or supporting school initiatives. By actively participating, you show your child the importance of education and create a supportive network for their learning journey.

Collaborating with teachers and schools is essential in supporting dyslexic children. By working together, parents and educators can ensure that these children receive the necessary support, accommodations, and resources to reach their full potential.

Utilizing Assistive Technology

Assistive technology can be a valuable tool for supporting dyslexic children, providing them with the assistance they need to succeed in their education. Here are some tips for parents on how to effectively utilize assistive technology in helping their dyslexic children:

  • Text-to-speech software: This type of software can read aloud text from books, websites, or documents, helping dyslexic children comprehend the content more easily. It can also help them improve their reading skills by following along with the audio.
  • Speech-to-text software: Dyslexic children often struggle with writing, but speech-to-text software can help them express their thoughts more easily. By speaking into a microphone, their words are transcribed into written text, allowing them to participate in written assignments without the frustration of handwriting or spelling difficulties.
  • Dyslexia-friendly fonts: Certain fonts, such as OpenDyslexic, are designed specifically to make reading easier for dyslexic individuals. These fonts incorporate features like heavier bottoms and unique letter shapes to minimize confusion between similar letters, making it easier for dyslexic children to read and comprehend written text.
  • Mind-mapping tools: Dyslexic children often excel in visual thinking, and mind-mapping tools can help them organize their thoughts and ideas more effectively. These tools allow them to visually represent their ideas in a non-linear format, aiding in brainstorming, planning, and understanding complex concepts.
  • Time management apps: Dyslexic children may struggle with time management and organization skills. Utilizing apps designed for task management, scheduling, and reminders can help them stay on top of assignments, deadlines, and daily routines.
  • Audiobooks: Listening to audiobooks can provide dyslexic children with an alternative way to access literature and enhance their reading skills. Audiobooks allow them to enjoy stories and improve their vocabulary and comprehension without the challenges posed by traditional reading methods.

By incorporating assistive technology into their child's learning environment, parents can empower dyslexic children to overcome their challenges and thrive academically. It is important to remember that assistive technology should be used in conjunction with other supportive strategies and interventions, as it is not a substitute for targeted instruction and individualized support.

Promoting Self-Esteem and Confidence

Supporting dyslexic children in developing self-esteem and confidence is crucial for their overall well-being and success. As parents, there are several strategies you can implement to promote a positive self-image and boost your child's confidence.

Celebrate Their Strengths

Encourage your child to focus on their strengths and celebrate their achievements, no matter how small. Dyslexic children often face academic challenges, but they excel in other areas such as creativity, problem-solving, or sports. By highlighting their strengths, you help them recognize their unique talents and build confidence in their abilities.

Provide a Supportive Environment

Create a nurturing and supportive environment where your child feels safe to express themselves and make mistakes. Dyslexic children may experience frustration or embarrassment due to their struggles with reading or writing. Show patience and provide reassurance that mistakes are a part of learning. Encourage open communication and actively listen to their concerns.

Encourage Independence and Resilience

Promote independence by allowing your child to take ownership of their learning process. Encourage them to set goals, make decisions, and find their own solutions to challenges. Teach them resilience by emphasizing that setbacks are temporary and provide opportunities for growth. Help them understand that perseverance and effort are more important than immediate success.

Foster a Growth Mindset

Instill a growth mindset in your child by teaching them that their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Encourage them to view mistakes and setbacks as opportunities for learning and improvement. Praise their efforts rather than focusing solely on outcomes. By fostering a growth mindset, you help your child develop resilience, perseverance, and a positive attitude towards learning.

Seek Professional Support

You are not alone in supporting your dyslexic child. seek professional help from educators, psychologists, or dyslexia specialists who can provide valuable guidance and interventions tailored to your child's needs. collaborate with their teachers to ensure appropriate accommodations and support are in place at school.

By implementing these strategies, you can actively promote self-esteem and confidence in your dyslexic child. Remember to be patient, supportive, and celebratory of their strengths, as they navigate their individual learning journey.

Seeking Professional Help

When it comes to supporting dyslexic children, seeking professional help can play a crucial role in ensuring their success and well-being. Professional assistance provides specialized guidance and strategies tailored to address the unique challenges faced by dyslexic children.

  • Accurate Diagnosis: Professionals, such as educational psychologists or specialized teachers, have the expertise to accurately diagnose dyslexia. They conduct comprehensive assessments that consider various aspects of a child's learning difficulties, including reading, writing, and phonological skills. An accurate diagnosis is important for developing effective intervention plans.
  • Individualized Intervention: Professionals can develop individualized intervention plans based on a child's specific needs. These plans may include specialized techniques and strategies to improve reading and writing skills, such as multisensory instruction or assistive technology. Individualized interventions are essential to target the specific challenges faced by dyslexic children.
  • Emotional Support: Dyslexia can have a significant impact on a child's self-esteem and emotional well-being. Professionals can provide emotional support and counseling to help dyslexic children cope with their challenges. They can also assist parents in understanding and managing their child's emotional needs, ensuring a supportive environment.
  • Collaboration with Schools: Professionals can collaborate with schools to create a supportive learning environment for dyslexic children. They can work with teachers to implement appropriate teaching strategies, accommodations, and modifications to the curriculum. Collaboration between professionals, parents, and schools is crucial for ensuring consistency in support across different settings.

Supporting dyslexic children can be a complex journey, but seeking professional help can make a significant difference. Professionals offer expertise, individualized intervention plans, emotional support, and collaboration with schools. By accessing professional assistance, parents can provide their children with the necessary tools and support to thrive academically and emotionally. Remember, seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a proactive step towards empowering dyslexic children.

Building a Support Network

When it comes to supporting dyslexic children, building a strong support network is crucial. Dyslexia can present unique challenges for children, but with the right resources and support, they can thrive academically and emotionally.

  • Connect with other parents: Reach out to other parents who have children with dyslexia. They can provide valuable insights, share experiences, and offer support. Look for local support groups or online communities where you can connect with like-minded parents.
  • Collaborate with teachers: Establish open lines of communication with your child's teachers. Share information about your child's dyslexia diagnosis and work together to develop strategies that can support their learning needs. Regular meetings with teachers can help monitor progress and address any concerns that may arise.
  • Seek professional guidance: Consult with experts in the field of dyslexia, such as educational psychologists or dyslexia specialists. They can provide you with guidance on interventions, accommodations, and resources that can benefit your child. These professionals can also help you navigate the education system and advocate for your child's needs.
  • Build a supportive home environment: Create a nurturing environment at home that supports your child's learning and emotional well-being. Encourage reading for pleasure, provide access to audiobooks or assistive technology, and celebrate their achievements. Remember to be patient and understanding, as dyslexic children may take longer to develop certain skills.
  • Access community resources: Investigate local resources that offer support for dyslexic children and their families. This could include tutoring programs, after-school clubs, or community centers that provide specialized dyslexia services. These resources can provide additional learning opportunities and social interaction for your child.

By building a strong support network, parents can help their dyslexic children navigate the challenges of dyslexia. Remember, each child is unique, so it's important to customize support strategies based on their individual needs. With the right support, dyslexic children can achieve their full potential and thrive in all areas of life.

Supporting dyslexic children requires a multifaceted approach that combines understanding, empathy, and practical strategies. By implementing the tips provided in this blog, parents can play a crucial role in helping their dyslexic children succeed academically and emotionally. Remember, every child is unique, so it's essential to tailor the support to their individual needs and strengths. With the right tools and support, dyslexic children can overcome challenges and reach their full potential.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can i identify if my child is dyslexic.

Look for signs such as difficulty with reading, writing, spelling, and phonological awareness. Consult with a professional for a comprehensive assessment.

What can I do to create a supportive environment for my dyslexic child?

Provide positive reinforcement, establish a consistent routine, offer assistive tools, and encourage a growth mindset.

Should I inform my child's teacher about their dyslexia?

Yes, it's crucial to communicate with your child's teacher and discuss appropriate accommodations and support to ensure their academic success.

Are there any assistive technology tools that can help my dyslexic child?

Yes, there are various assistive technology tools available, such as text-to-speech software, speech recognition software, and dyslexia-friendly fonts.

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A father is helping his child with homework

Being an Efficient Homework Helper: Turning a Chore into a Challenge

This article will help your child succeed doing homework. Read tips that can help kids with learning disabilities, ADHD, and dyslexia work faster and with focus. Set up a place for your child to work and give them the supplies they need. Teach them strategies, get them organized, and encourage them to succeed.

“The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer)

Homework is a constant for most children — it is always there. And for many children, it is often a chore. Just the concept of “homework” can cause multiple anxieties and negative feelings. To assist parents and students, this article presents some tools to help turn this chore into an enjoyable challenge. It focuses on some general preliminaries, basic strategies, and motivation.

To begin, we must keep in mind the characteristics of our own children, because each child has his or her unique strengths, weaknesses, and needs.

When embarking on any project, there are first some questions we need to ask ourselves. These apply whether the project is a page of math facts or a full report.

  • We need to make sure we understand the project: what are we trying to do?
  • We need to assemble our tools: what materials will we need for this project?

Working successfully with our children on schoolwork requires respect, and respect begins with understanding. If a child struggles with and/or resists homework, ask yourself, “why?” As you discover the reasons, share them with your child so he or she better understands the issues. Doing so takes the mystery out of struggles or frustrations. Pediatrician Mel Levine calls this “demystification,” which he describes as eliminating mystery by explaining the child’s strengths and weaknesses and guiding him to develop more accurate personal insight.

Students may struggle with and/or resist homework for a variety of reasons. These may include any of the following:

  • Your child is experiencing some aspect of a learning disability or learning difference.
  • Your child is inefficient in a skill needed to establish a solid foundation related to the concept.
  • Your child struggles to process one or more components of the task.
  • Your child lacks or is not using the appropriate strategies or tools.
  • Your child is experiencing fatigue, either processing fatigue or general fatigue.

As a parent, we should attend to how our student approaches the task. Help him identify and sort through the different components and determine the needed sub-steps. You can delineate these using a concrete chart or graphic organizer.

Many students express the idea that homework is “stupid” or a “waste of time.” Even if you do wonder about the value of the given task, it is critical to communicate an optimistic, important belief that homework positively affects achievement in school and teaches many valuable skills critical for success throughout life. For example:

  • Following directions
  • Independent work habits
  • Time management
  • Use of strategies
  • Follow-through
  • Responsibility

Keep in mind that you and your child are laying an important foundation that will guide his routines for years to come. Starting in early elementary school years, each child begins to establish habits for time management and task completion.


Establishing a consistent workspace is a critical beginning. The precise location for doing homework does not matter as long as it is free from distractions. For example, trying to read a chapter in the middle of the kitchen while a parent makes dinner and siblings run in and out creates a recipe for failure. In the early grades, you and your child should select the homework location together, identifying a place where you can be close by and available for help. As the child matures, he can be more independent in selecting his own workspace.

At the beginning of each school year, help your child create his own Homework Survival Kit with the necessary supplies. If the child receives accommodations for their learning disabilities at school — such as a particular pencil grip, a type of paper, or a Frankin speller — try to let them use them at home too. Children should learn to take care of the supplies in their Homework Survival Kit, therefore sharing is not advisable. Your child, even at age five, should have a large calendar with enough space to note their assignments. This is a critical habit that students will need to use through high school and college.

Lighting and posture

Use of an appropriate writing posture should be encouraged. Therefore, a desk and chair of appropriate size are necessary. The desk should have adequate lighting. Some children enjoy reading in a different position, while in a beanbag chair, for example. Ensure that there is also adequate lighting by the location.

General environment

Keeping in mind that each student may have different needs and preferences, following are some ideas to help students enhance their ability to focus while doing homework:

  • Quiet or soft background music
  • Small crunchy snacks, sour candy, or chewing gum
  • Carbonated beverages (preferably without sugar)

Basic strategies

One of the best gifts that we can give to our students is an appreciation of and ability to use strategies. Strategies enable us to pre-plan and organize activities and tasks. We use strategies to pull in our processing strengths while compensating for processing weaknesses. This ability is very beneficial in a wide range of situations throughout our lives.

Some strategies are obvious, such as mnemonic phrases. Students learning music use the mnemonic “Every Good Boy Does Fine.” The first letter of each word in this phrase stands for the notes on a music staff: E; G; B; D; F. The mnemonic “Never Eat Shredded Wheat” can help students remember directions in sequence: N for North; E for East; S the South; and W for West.

Other strategies are less obvious. For example, if you have dinner plans for 6 p.m., you need to determine how long it will take you to get to the restaurant so you know when to begin your travel. You also need to determine how long it will take you to get ready so you know when to start preparing. This time-orientation strategy helps us pre-plan an activity backward from the goal and is valuable for determining how much time we’ll need. It can be used in planning any project.

As we help our students use strategies, we may initially need to model how to use the strategy and provide practice. The end goal is for students to develop independence in automatically using strategies. No two people have the same learning style and every individual is a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, a strategy that is extremely beneficial for one student may not be useful for another. In developing a toolbox of strategies, parents can help their students learn when and how to select the appropriate tool. Some valuable resources for tools can be found in the books noted in the References section at the end of this article.


Some ideas for helping your student organize his book bag or backpack follow. To help increase your child’s follow-through, initially you may want to check the bag every few days, providing comments and suggestions to help maintain the organization.

  • Use different colored folders for different subjects.
  • Have a special place for papers that need to come home.
  • Have a special place for papers that will be returned to the teacher.
  • Develop a consistent routine for your child to replace homework in the appropriate spot in the book bag immediately upon completing it.
  • Have a specific place for your child to place the book bag when it is ready to return to school and encourage your child to use this location consistently.
  • Praise your child for following through with the routine.

Understanding the task

Review the basic assignment with your child to ensure that she understands what is required. Many children miss the overall message or global concept. Visual organizers, also called mind maps, are very efficient in presenting the global view in a concrete visual manner. Below is an example of a visual organizer comparing frogs and toads. It identifies some characteristics of each, as well as characteristics similar to both.

Figure 1: A comparison mind map provides a global view in a visual format

In previewing the assignment with your child, be alert to his understanding of vocabulary used. Misinterpreting vocabulary words is a frequent source of frustration for students. Many books describe various forms and use of graphic organizers , including those listed in the References section, below.

Fatigue issues

Students may often interpret feelings of fatigue as boredom or a desire to escape the situation. There are many different types of fatigue and, consequently, many reasons for it. Exploring the reasons is beyond the scope of this article. However, it is helpful to have some basic strategies in a “Parent Tool Kit.” Then you may select a tool to help your student manage her feelings of fatigue during homework time.

  • Provide a break that requires hard pressure (called proprioceptive pressure), such as chair push-ups, stretching, lifting a pile books.
  • Allow for a controlled movement break such as walking to another table to sharpen a pencil.
  • Provide a visual break to help relax eye muscles (which may fatigue with excessive bookwork) by asking your child to look out the window at a distant target, count to five, and return to task.
  • Allow your child time for “vegging out” between tasks, perhaps with a short snack. It is helpful to use a timer that rings to indicate the end of the break.
  • Prioritize areas of emphasis: some students perform better doing the harder tasks first; other students perform better starting with simpler tasks.

Some children experience substantial fatigue with the process of writing. One suggestion from The Source for Dyslexia and Dysgraphia is to include exercising and stretching the fingers for a few minutes before and during the task. Use of technology can compensate for fatigue as well as many other writing issues. Some options include: using keyboarding/word processing rather than handwriting; using a spell checker with an auditory component (such as Franklin Language Master 6000b); and/or using a graphics program such as Inspiration® or Kidspiraition® .

Monitor the amount of time your child spends on homework. If you feel your child is requiring an excessively long time, keep track of the time and discuss it with your child’s teacher. In some cases, you may wish to suggest that you limit homework to a certain amount of time and that the teacher give your child credit for what was actually completed. In other situations, it may be advisable to decrease the amount of homework, such as having your child complete only the odd problems on a math page.


One of the most valuable tools for parents is the tool of encouragement . Encouragement can help provide demystification for your child and it can help reduce your child’s frustration when the task becomes difficult or he becomes fatigued.

An important component of encouragement is to support your child’s efforts to work independently and build her confidence in doing homework successfully. Some suggestions follow.

  • Example: “I know this is hard, but I’m sure you can do it with just a little help. Let’s just start with one small part. “
  • Example: “Let’s start with this part. Let’s go over the directions.” Then, after child reads the directions, say, “What is the next step?”
  • Example: “It’s great that you did X. Now, let’s go on to Y.”
  • As your child gains confidence, have him do a small part on his own.
  • Prioritize areas of emphasis.
  • Provide occasional short nonverbal reinforces, such as a kiss on the cheek, a pat on the shoulder, a smile, or bringing a beverage or piece of gum.

If your child continues to ask you for help even though you are confident that the task is within his skill level, you can play a game with him. Begin by placing 10 pieces of candy in a bowl. Tell him that every time he asks you for help, he will give you one piece of candy. When the candy is gone, you will not help any more. Assure him that he will keep whatever pieces of candy remain in the bowl at the end of the homework time. When playing this game with your child, be sure that the task is within his ability to work on his own. You may vary the number of pieces of candy, depending on the task.

Another important component of encouragement is to provide statements of demystification. These help remove the mystery of why one task is difficult while another is easier while increasing your child’s understanding of his processing strengths and weaknesses.

Use concrete statements to emphasize strengths, such as:

  • “I saw that drawing you did; you are really great at that kind of artwork.”
  • “Very few kids your age can draw like this; you have great talent.”

Use concrete statements relevant to your child’s struggles, such as:

  • “Many kids struggle because they do things to quickly without thinking enough. This may get them into trouble or cause them to do schoolwork too fast and carelessly. Sometimes you are like these kids because you do things too quickly.”

Use concrete statements relevant to your child’s efforts to overcome their specific difficulties, such as:

  • “I like the way you have continued to work at this when the other kids have already learned it. It’s particularly hard to do something when you’re the last to get it done, but you have persisted — and you are almost there.”
  • “I can see its hard to keep working on that letter, and you are continuing to persist. Thank you.”

In the book, Eli, The Boy Who Hated to Write , Eli describes multiple benefits he experienced due to the impact he felt from encouragement. As parents and teachers, we need to listen to our children about this very critical point.

Some children need external motivators to help maintain focus on the task. Some useful suggestions include homework contracts, devices to help monitor time on task, or rewards. It is important that you are setting realistic goals for your child and that they are not overly stressed in their area of learning disability. Some children, for example, take longer to write by hand or to calculate sums so you need to be realistic about time allowed.

Homework contracts may take many forms. Write the contract with your child, making sure it is within your child’s ability level. Focus on one goal at a time. Examples follow.

  • “I, Johnny, will complete my homework without argument for five nights in a row. When I accomplish this, I can watch 30 extra minutes of TV.”
  • “I, Susie, will mark off a square on my chart each night that I complete all my homework assignments. When I have marked off five squares, I will select a reward from my list.”

The criteria in your contract should change as the child’s skills change. Furthermore, it is important to be specific regarding your expectations regarding homework completion. Indicate definite starting and stopping points as well as minimum requirements.

Monitoring time on task

A timer is a useful device for monitoring time on task. It makes the passage of time more concrete for your child. Identify a reasonable time for your child to complete an assignment (or a given part) and set the timer to ring after that time. It is useful for your child to be able to observe the passage of time, on either the timer or hourglass. Example statements follow:

  • “You have agreed to practice typing for five minutes every night. This means five minutes with good focus. I will set the timer and if you focus and practice appropriately the whole time, you will be done. Remember, I will have to restart the timer if you fool around in the middle.”
  • “You have a half-hour to complete this part of the assignment. I’m setting this timer for 30 minutes. If you finish your homework correctly by the time the bell goes off, then you will get X reward (or sticker).”

If your child is earning points or stickers for appropriate follow through, you may want to allow him to earn rewards for a given number of stickers. To phase out his dependence on the stickers, require a larger number of stickers for a reward as he becomes more responsible.

Young children respond well to games as motivational aids. You can develop a customized game spinner by using cardboard and brads, or you may purchase blank spinners from an educational supply store. Fill in each section of the spinner with a reward. Use tape so that you can occasionally change the awards. Be sure to vary the prizes on the spinner so that some are more desirable. You may want to have a space marked “no-win.”

Establish criteria with your child, such as completing a homework assignment appropriately or finishing all of the homework tasks for the evening. When your child meets the criteria (i.e. completes the task), allow her to spin the spinner and earn the reward indicated. Be sure to use an appropriate positive statement such as, “Great job tonight! You’ve earned a spin on the spinner.”

To phase out dependence on the spinner, change the rewards to points. These points will then accumulate towards a specific prize. Increase the number of points needed to earn the prize as your child becomes more responsible. An example of a spinner follows.

Learning from mistakes

Another critical tool for parents to have is the tool of helping their children learn from their mistakes . This is important because too many students are afraid to be wrong. We give our children a valuable gift by helping them understand that mistakes are valuable because they help us learn how to adjust and improve our approach as we move through a task.

Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein in their book, Raising Resilient Children: Fostering Strength Hope and Optimism in Your Child , devote a whole chapter to learning from mistakes. They discuss various obstacles that interfere as well as some valuable guiding principles for parents to keep in mind. Following is a summary of Brooks’ and Goldstein’s Obstacles and Guiding Principles:

Obstacles to a positive outlook about mistakes

  • Temperament and biological factors
  • Negative comments of parents
  • Parents setting the bar too high
  • Dealing with the fear of mistakes in ways that worsened the situation

Guiding principles to help children deal with mistakes

  • Serve as a model for dealing with mistakes and setbacks
  • Set and evaluate realistic expectations
  • In different ways, emphasize that mistakes are not only accepted but also expected
  • Loving our children should not be contingent on whether or not they make mistakes

Developing the concept of having a tool kit to use when working with our children can be a fun and rewarding process. Some key factors to keep in mind are:

  • Have fun with your tools and strategies
  • Encourage your child to have fun
  • Expand upon the suggestions given, using them as guidelines
  • Pay attention to your child’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Develop your own strategies
  • Continue to expand your Parents’ Tool Kit as your child matures

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Brooks, R. & Goldstein, S. (2002). Raising Resilient Children: Fostering Strength, Hope, and Optimism in Your Child . New York: McGraw-Hill. http://www.retctrpress.com

Canter, L. & Hauser, L. (1988). Homework Without Tears: A Parent's Guide for Motivating Children to do Homework and to Succeed in School . New York: HarperReference (Harper Collins).

Franklin Electronic Publishers, Inc., Speaking Language Master (model LM-6000B). Burlington, NJ: Author. http://www.franklin.com

Lavoie, R. How Difficult Can This Be? - FAT City. Steuben, ME: Eagle Hill Foundation. Distributed by PBS VIDEO in association with WTA. Available in the LD OnLine Store

Lavoie, R. (2007). The Motivation Breakthrough . New York: Touchstone (Simon & Schuster). Available in the LD OnLine Store

Levine, M.D. (2001). Educational Care: A System for Understanding Children with Learning Differences at Home and at School . Cambridge, MA: Educators Publishing Service, Inc. http://www.epsbooks.com

Levine, M.D. (1992). All Kinds of Minds: A Young Student's Book About Learning Abilities and Learning Disorders . Cambridge, MA: Educators Publishing Service http://www.epsbooks.com

Levine, M.D. (1990). Keeping a Head in School: A Student's Book About Learning Abilities and Learning Disorders . Cambridge, MA: Educators Publishing Service http://www.epsbooks.com

Levine, M.D. (2003). The Myth of Laziness . New York: Simon & Schuster. http://www.retctrpress.com

Richards, R.G. & Richards, E.I. (2000). Eli, the Boy Who Hated to Write: Understanding Dysgraphia . Riverside, CA: RET Center Press. http://www.retctrpress.com

Richards, R.G. (2001). LEARN: Playful Strategies for All Students . Riverside, CA: RET Center Press. http://www.retctrpress.com

Richards, R.G. (1997). Memory Foundations for Reading: Visual Mnemonics for Sound/Symbol Relationships . Riverside, CA: RET Center Press. http://www.retctrpress.com

Richards, R.G. (1999). The Source for Dyslexia and Dysgraphia . East Moline, IL: LinguiSystems. http://www.linguisystems.com

Richards, R.G. (2003). The Source for Learning and Memory Strategies . East Moline, IL: LinguiSystems. http://www.linguisystems.com

Richards, R.G. (2006). The Source for Reading Comprehension Strategies . East Moline, IL: LinguiSystems. http://www.linguisystems.com

Kidspiration (visual organizers for grades K-3) & Inspiration (visual organizers for grades 6 to adult). Available in the LD OnLine Store

Richards, R.G. (January, 2008). Being an Efficient Homework Helper: Turning a Chore into a Challenge. Written exclusively for LD OnLine.

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  • Finding a tutor

Homework can be a frustrating and upsetting experience for dyslexic students and their parents.

For a student with dyslexia it's not just the homework task itself that can be challenging, many dyslexic people can really struggle with organisation, concentration and short term memory. All of these things can make homework a daily source of confusion and frustration. This can result in a reluctance to try and poor self-confidence.

There are strategies that every parent can put in place to support their child's learning.

Establish a routine

Dyslexic learners may find it difficult to maintain concentration for long periods of time and may get tired quickly, so it's a good idea to create a routine which emphasises 'a little and often' rather than trying to squeeze too much work into a longer session.

Remember to take after-school activities into account when you develop your homework plan.

Encourage your child to write down what is needed for the next day and to check the list before they leave for school/college.

Support your child

Be encouraging. Praise your child when they are trying their best, and focus your praise 'It was really good when you..'.

Go over homework instructions together to make sure they understand what they are supposed to do. You can help your child to prepare for tasks and generate ideas together before they start work.

If your child has difficulty writing homework down at school or remembering tasks, talk to their teacher so that the homework is given to them on a worksheet or can be accessed via the school's website.

Checking work

Help your child learn to check their own work, so this becomes a natural part of the homework routine as they get older. Your child may find working on a computer easier than writing. Show them how to use the spellcheck facility and help them learn to touch type.

Other useful strategies include:

  • Reading work out loud or using text-to-speech software to read work back – this can help to identify errors that your child might miss when they read silently
  • Making a list of frequent spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes to check against. For example, if your child often misses capital letters, make sure that's on the list.


Dyslexic people can really struggle with organisation. For an older child technology such as a mobile phone will be a helpful tool. They can take photos of any important information, set reminders of important events or deadlines and record voice messages as a reminder.

Other useful strategies are to:

  • Help your child to make a written homework plan which includes tasks and deadlines, and revision plans.
  • Colour-code subjects and make sure all notes for a particular subject are kept together in folders.
  • Create visual reminders such as a prominent calendar or 'to do' list.

Study skills

Try to help your child build successful study skills for example, by creating a revision timetable, by using different techniques for revising and reviewing learning, e.g. using mindmaps, by talking through or recording what they've learned, or by thinking of different ways to complete a particular task.

Encourage them to think of coping strategies for when they get 'stuck'. For example, who would be the right person to ask for help if they are unable to tackle a problem on their own.

The British Dyslexia Association has created a series of videos for teachers called Teaching for Neurodiversity which cover a range of topics such as spelling, writing and homework. You may find them helpful to support learning at home.

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People stare, point, and laugh at boy with dyslexia who is trapped inside a letter.

Unlocking Dyslexia

Raising a child with dyslexia: 3 things parents can do.

Gabrielle Emanuel

Child hiding from reading

Part 3 of our series " Unlocking Dyslexia ."

A mother who spent years coaching and encouraging her dyslexic son recalls his childhood with one pervasive feeling: "It was really scary."

One father told me his home life was ruined. Trying to do homework with his struggling daughter, he says, felt like "a nightmare every night." Optimism and determination would inevitably descend into tears and anxiety. The culprit: dyslexia.

Yet another mom — whose son and daughter both have dyslexia — suggests changing the definition of dyslexia: "It's no longer a reading problem. It's a life crisis."

As the most common learning disability, dyslexia affects somewhere between 5 and 17 percent of the U.S. population. Its reach extends far beyond the classroom, causing stress, tension and confusion for families with a dyslexic child.

But experts and parents say there are three key things that can help.

1. The sooner you intervene, the better

When Megan Lordos' daughter was a toddler, there were hints.

Canela Jayne loved books, but hated letters. Halfway through reading a story, Lordos would often try to sneak in a quick lesson about which letter makes which sound. But Canela Jayne would have none of it. She'd jump off her mom's lap, effectively ending story time.

There were other hints, too: Canela Jayne hated wearing shirts with words on them. She didn't want to be that close to letters. Rhyming felt like an impossible task for her. And as she entered and progressed in school, she sat in frustration while her classmates sped ahead with their reading.

When Lordos worried, friends assured her that each child matures at a different pace.

But soon, her daughter began to dread going to school. "There were days when she could not get on the bus," says Lordos.

Sitting at the kitchen table in their Virginia home, Lordos recalls how Canela Jayne would refuse to get out of bed, then refuse to get dressed and, eventually, she'd refuse to get out of the car at school.

Lordos remembers looking at her daughter and seeing "this look of fear in her huge eyes." Then, she says, Canela Jayne would plead: "Mommy, I can't do this. I can't do this. Don't make me do this."

Canela Jayne's school didn't seem worried. Lordos says they kept telling her: "Well, let's wait six more months, and we'll see what happens."

When Canela Jayne was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia, it felt to Lordos like valuable time had slipped away. Experts worry that this happens a lot. The research suggests early and intensive reading help is most effective. And many say starting specific reading programs at a young age has been successful.

2. Find something else your child is really good at

With lime green walls and craft projects on every visible surface, Canela Jayne Lordos' bedroom is an artistic 10-year-old's dream.

As light spills in from the backyard, she picks up a little wax figurine she made. This one is a monkey, one of dozens of intricate animals she sculpted using only the red wax that wraps the cheese her parents buy at the grocery store.

"I take one half to make the body," she says, explaining the process carefully. Then, she turns to another favorite activity — embroidery. Here, her explanation is about her motivation: She likes embroidery because it lets her write with pictures — a mode far easier for Canela Jayne than writing with letters.

Besides her bedroom, she tells me, her other favorite room is the kitchen. She loves standing on her stool at the counter, cooking. Scones. Biscotti. Banana bread. She is even willing to read the recipe, if that's necessary.

Although Canela Jayne now spends much of her summer days with tutors at reading centers, her mother has carved out time each year for her daughter to trade books for a spatula and cooking camp. Canela Jayne looks forward to it all year.

For other kids, it's sports, computers, music — anything that takes skill and builds confidence and pride.

Experts say that children with dyslexia are at a higher risk for depression . And having another passion — where there's a more direct link between effort and success — is helpful.

3. Make a financial plan

Schools are supposed to help children with dyslexia, but many don't have the resources to do so. That means parents who can afford it often bear the cost of outside testing, specialized tutors, reading centers and, of course, private schools.

Some families estimate that they spend upwards of tens of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of dollars helping their kids learn to read before high school graduation.

Lordos and her husband say they were faced with what felt like an impossibly hard trade-off: college tuition or reading tutors. Eventually, they decided to "invest in the child that we have now."

"You know," she adds, "college won't be an option if they continue to hate school and reject everything that has to do with reading."

After more than 400 hours of intensive tutoring, Canela Jayne is doing much better. She no longer complains about going to school in the mornings. And, while she's still in the process of learning to read, she's making strides.

The biggest change, Lordos says, it's that her daughter is "much, much happier."

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How Parents Can Help Their Dyslexic Child Get Needed Support

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how to help a dyslexic child with homework

This is chapter four of the MindShift Guide to Understanding Dyslexia . You can find the remaining chapters and a complete printable PDF of the entire guide by clicking here .

Experts know that the only effective help for students with dyslexia is targeted, specific intervention that addresses each student’s issues. How students receive that intervention largely depends on where they live.

Federal law guarantees those with dyslexia a free and appropriate education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). However, the patchwork condition of state laws means there’s a lack of uniformity in defining dyslexia and how students are to be accommodated. As recently as a few years ago, some states had put ‘Say Dyslexia’ or ‘Dyslexia Awareness Week’ laws into effect in order to create consistency around dyslexia accountability in schools—but the laws didn’t have much impact.

That’s beginning to change, according to dyslexia expert Nancy Mather, as states update existing laws to include language for dyslexia specifically, instead of using more general terms like ‘learning disability,’ ‘reading deficit,’ etc.

how to help a dyslexic child with homework

Texas and Arkansas in particular have comprehensive laws, and recently California made headlines as it beefed up its universal screening and issued a high-quality, comprehensive guidance guidebook on dyslexia (Tennessee and a handful of other states have also issued dyslexia guidance).

A comprehensive list of dyslexia laws from state to state can be found here .

But parents of dyslexic students say that having the laws on the books is just the first step to getting help, according to Mather. Getting schools and districts to pay attention is more important. “Hopefully this increased spotlight on dyslexia will result in many more students getting the kind of help and support that they need to become avid, fluent readers,” she says.


After several years of advocating for her dyslexic daughter in school settings, Nashville, Tennessee, parent Anna Thorsen began to realize how crucial parents and caregivers were to helping students get the interventions they need.

A former lawyer, Thorsen now spends her days advocating for dyslexic students through the Dyslexia Advisory Council for the state of Tennessee and is a member of Decoding Dyslexia Tennessee. The parent role is complex, Thorsen says, and collaborating with the school requires both strength and understanding, knowing when to push and when to hold back.

As a parent advocate, you have to be fierce and tireless. Many parents of children with special needs say they feel so much stress because they are their child’s caregiver, IEP case manager, tutor, advocate and lawyer, all wrapped into one. With all of the other demands of work and family life, these roles can be overwhelming and many parents don’t have the luxury of time at the end of a busy work week to dedicate themselves to being the all-around expert on their child’s education. After years of playing all these roles, parents get worn out and really must struggle to work to build collaborative relationships with schools.

Thorson offers the following advice and tips for parents and caregivers of dyslexic children who may be facing the same issues.


By Anna Thorsen

Building a collaborative relationship takes a lot of work, and it is not easy. I certainly do not always do a good job at it myself, especially when I am tired, angry and stressed out. But what I always tell parents is that you are stuck working with your school, your teachers and your school administration for a year or many years. You do not need them to write you off as a crazy parent. Here are my tips to build a strong relationship.

1. When it comes to your dyslexic child, don’t be one-dimensional

It’s crucial to keep communication flowing with your child’s school, so don’t strain communications by only talking about your child’s problems or harass teachers about something that went wrong in class. If you are “that” parent, teachers and administrators will begin to avoid you. Instead, I advise parents to say hello to your child’s teacher when you see them, tell a funny story or ask how they are doing. If possible, try not to make every encounter about your child’s reading problems; it goes a long way in building a trusting relationship with your child’s teacher.

2. Make yourself invaluable

If possible, become a part of the school in some way, by donating your time. Volunteer, mentor, or do something to show teachers and administration that you want to be part of the school. If it’s not possible to spend more time at school, then ask teachers or administration how you can help. Forming relationships with your school will build trust and only help your student.

3. Don’t be a bull in a china shop

Instead of demanding action, connect with teachers and administrators on an emotional level. After all, they are humans, too, and many have kids of their own. Describe what’s really happening in your family and don’t be afraid to share your emotions–there’s nothing wrong with saying “I am scared for my child,” or “I have been losing sleep worrying.”

4. Bring conversations back to your child

In meetings, remind people that you are talking about a real, live child, and not a data point. Bring a picture or video of your child. Ask for your child to come by the meeting to tell the school group things are going well and things that are hard. Tell the school about your child’s dreams and abilities outside of school. Once the team connects with you and your child, you will be more successful. We, as humans, help people we know and have a harder time denying someone what we have a connection to.

5. When all else fails, don’t be afraid to be a bull in a china shop

If nothing is working, then you have to be willing to take it to the next level until you get what your child needs. I always advise parents to use force as an absolute last resort, and try to assume that schools will do the right thing.

Thorsen, along with Eileen Miller, founding member of Decoding Dyslexia, TN, and of Ignite Dyslexia, offer the following hard-won wisdom regarding Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings:

12 Tips to Remember in an IEP Meeting

1. Never sign the IEP document in the meeting. You may sign that you were present at the meeting, but don’t sign off on the IEP itself. Go home and read it. Make sure it is what you want before you sign.

2. Never go to an IEP meeting alone. Bring an advocate, a spouse or a friend.

3. If possible, record the meeting. It’s difficult to understand everyone at once.

4. Ask that people in the room at the IEP meeting introduce themselves and what their role is. Write down everyone’s name and position. You may need to follow up with them.

5. Take your time and have the IEP team meeting go at your pace. Don’t feel rushed.

6. Ask for clarification of acronyms and educational terms.

7. Get everything in writing. If it is not in writing — it never happened.

8. Be prepared and know what you want. Do your homework on your child’s disability, be familiar with the law and know your rights.

9. It helps to have a binder to keep all the information on your child.

10. Ask the team to go over documents with you.

11. Consider bringing your child to a portion of the meeting. It helps the team to hear from them.

12. Never give up. You are the parent and you know your child better than anyone.

More Parent Resources Can be Found Here:

• How You Can Help Your Child with Dyslexia, Understood.org • Support and Resources for Parents, Learning Disabilities Association of America • 10 Things Parents Need to Know to Help a Struggling Reader, Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity • Dyslexia: Three Strategies for Parents, NPR • Six Ways Parents Can Help, Nessy.com

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Understanding dyslexia.

Know the signs, and how to help kids with the most common learning disability

Writer: Katherine Martinelli

Clinical Expert: Matthew Cruger, PhD

What You'll Learn

  • What is dyslexia, and what are the signs?
  • How and when is dyslexia diagnosed?
  • How can schools and parents support a child with dyslexia?

The most common learning disorder is called dyslexia. Dyslexia makes it hard to recognize and use the sounds in language. Kids might reverse letters, like reading pot as top . Or they might have trouble sounding out new words and recognizing ones they know. Having dyslexia does not mean your child isn’t smart. With the right support, dyslexic kids can learn to read and do very well in school.

Kids with dyslexia often show signs before they start school. They often have trouble learning even simple rhymes. They might talk later than most kids. They may struggle to follow directions or learn left and right. Once they start school, they struggle with reading, writing and spelling.

If your child is in first grade or older and still struggling with reading, their school can give them a test for dyslexia. You can also get an outside evaluation from a psychologist, reading specialist, or speech and language therapist. Using the results from the tests, you can work with the school to get your child the right support.

There are lots of reading instruction programs that can help kids with dyslexia build skills and catch up with their classmates. They can also get other kinds of support at school . This could include extra time on tests, a quiet workspace, and options to listen rather than reading, or to type or speak rather than writing by hand.

Kids with dyslexia may feel frustrated or embarrassed, so it’s also important to give them plenty of emotional support. Make sure to praise their hard work, celebrate their strengths in other areas, and remind them that dyslexia has nothing to do with their intelligence.

Children each learn and develop at their own pace, and reading is no different from other skill building. It’s common for kids to find reading challenging at one point or another. But if learning to read becomes an ongoing struggle that leaves a child falling behind their peers, it’s possible that they have a learning disorder known as dyslexia .

What is dyslexia?                      

Dyslexia is most commonly associated with trouble learning to read. It affects a child’s ability to recognize and manipulate the sounds in language. Kids with dyslexia have a hard time decoding new words, or breaking them down into manageable chunks they can then sound out. This causes difficulty with reading, writing and spelling. They may compensate by memorizing words, but they’ll have trouble recognizing new words and may be slow in retrieving even familiar ones.

Dyslexia is not a reflection of a child’s intelligence — in fact it’s defined as a gap between a student’s ability and achievement. Some youngsters with dyslexia are able to keep up with their peers with extra effort at least for the first few grades. But by the third grade or so, when they need to be able to read quickly and fluently in order to keep up with their work, they run into trouble.

With help and strategies for compensating for their weakness in decoding, students with dyslexia can learn to read and thrive academically. But dyslexia is not something one grows out of.

How common is dyslexia?

It is estimated that as many as one in five kids has dyslexia , and that 80 to 90 percent of kids with learning disorders have it. Sally Shaywitz, MD, co-director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, notes that many children go undiagnosed as struggles in school are incorrectly attributed to intelligence, level of effort or environmental factors.

Although experts used to say that dyslexia occurred more often in boys than in girls, current research indicates that it affects boys and girls equally.

Signs of dyslexia

A young person with dyslexia may:

  • Struggle with learning even simple rhymes
  • Have a speech delay
  • Have trouble following directions
  • Repeat or omit short words such as and, the, but
  • Find it difficult to tell left from right

In school, children with dyslexia are likely to:

  • Have difficulty sounding out new words
  • Lack fluency compared to other children their age
  • Reverse letters and numbers when reading (read  saw as  was , for example)
  • Find it difficult to take notes and copy down words from the board
  • Struggle with rhyming, associating sounds with letters, and sequencing and ordering sounds
  • Stumble and have difficulty spelling even common words; frequently they will spell them phonetically ( hrbr instead of  harbor )
  • Avoid being called on to read out loud in front of classmates
  • Become tired or frustrated from reading

Dyslexia affects children outside of school as well. Kids with dyslexia may also:

  • Find it difficult to decode logos and signs
  • Struggle when trying to learn the rules to games
  • Have difficulty keeping track of multi-step directions
  • Struggle with getting the hang of telling time
  • Find it especially challenging to learn another language
  • Become incredibly frustrated , which can effect their mood and emotional stability

Social and emotional impacts of dyslexia

Dyslexia affects a lot more than reading — it can also impact a child socially . “A dyslexic person who has word-finding difficulties can have trouble with their expressive language,” says Scott Bezsylko, the executive director of Winston Preparatory School, which specializes in teaching kids with learning disorders. “That has a social impact, in addition to your difficulties with reading and writing, that make you feel not so good about yourself.”

Kids with dyslexia — particularly those who have yet to be diagnosed — often suffer from low self-esteem because they worry that there is something wrong with them, and are often accused of not trying hard enough to learn to read. “A lot of our work with dyslexic kids is to help them rediscover that they are smart and capable,” notes Beszylko, “because they’ve stopped believing in themselves.”

How is dyslexia diagnosed?

If your child isn’t meeting expectations for reading, as parents you can ask the school district to perform an evaluation and share the results with you. The evaluation will test your child’s intellectual capacity and reading skills, to see if there is an achievement gap. It should also rule out other potential causes like environmental factors or hearing impairment.

The school should then make recommendations on how they can support your child and maximize her learning.

If you are unhappy with the quality of the evaluation, you can also secure a private evaluation by a psychologist, a neuropsychologist, a reading specialist, a speech and language therapist, an educational evaluator or a school psychologist. This external evaluation can also be used to advocate for your child and get the accommodations and services she might need.

When should a child be evaluated?

Dyslexia can begin to reveal itself at a young age, and there are preschool evaluations that look at the child’s awareness of the sounds that make up words, and ability at word retrieval. However, Matthew Cruger , PhD, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Child Mind Institute, suggests waiting until kids are at least six years old and have had some formal instruction in reading to seek out a formal evaluation.

But Dr. Shaywitz notes that as soon as a gap between intelligence and reading skills is apparent — and evidence shows it can be seen in first grade — it’s a good idea to get help. Schools sometimes encourage parents to wait until the third grade to see if their child truly needs an intervention, but Dr. Shaywitz argues that the earlier intervention is important not only to help kids catch up but to boost their fragile self-image, which is damaged by continuing struggle in school and comparisons with peers.

How to help kids with dyslexia

A dyslexia diagnosis does not mean your child will never learn to read. Dr. Cruger says there are a number of programs that can help, which might include these features:

  • Multi-sensory instruction in decoding skills
  • Repetition and review of skills
  • Intensity of intervention — that is, more than being pulled out of class once a week for extra help
  • Small group or individual instruction
  • Teaching decoding skills
  • Drilling sight words
  • Teaching comprehension strategies, to help kids derive meaning from what they’re reading

Reading programs that been shown to help kids with dyslexia include:

  • The Wilson Method
  • The Orton-Gillingham Approach
  • Preventing Academic Failure (PAF)
  • The Lindamood-Bell Program

Dr. Cruger points out that traditional tutoring may actually be counter-productive for a child with dyslexia, particularly if it is not a positive experience. “If the child hates the experience of reading help, it’s not helpful,” Dr. Cruger notes. “And it’s not treating the source of the problem, the decoding weakness.”

Instead, Dr. Cruger emphasizes that one of the most important ways to help kids with dyslexia is to make them more comfortable reading. This can be done in part by celebrating even small victories and accomplishments, while focusing less on correcting their errors.

Accommodations for kids with dyslexia

Kids with demonstrated dyslexia are eligible for accommodations in school . “Dyslexia robs a person of time,” Dr. Shaywitz explains, “and accommodations give the time back to her.” Accommodations may include:

  • Extra time on tests
  • A quiet space to work
  • The option to record lectures
  • The option to give verbal, rather than written, answers (when appropriate)
  • Elimination of oral reading in class
  • Exemption from foreign language learning

Other ways to support a child with dyslexia

One of the best ways to support a child with dyslexia — or any child who is struggling — is to encourage those activities that they like and feel good at, whether it is music, joining a sports team or anything else that helps build her confidence.

To help reinforce that dyslexia is not a marker of intelligence, it can also be helpful to talk about successful people — like Whoopi Goldberg  and Steven Spielberg — who have also been diagnosed with dyslexia.

Other things that may help your child with dyslexia include:

  • Listening to audio books as an alternative to reading
  • Typing on a computer or tablet instead of writing
  • Apps that can make learning fun by turning decoding into a game
  • Using a ruler to help kids read in a straight line, which can help keep them focused

Emotional support

Dyslexia can result in frustration, embarrassment, avoidance and low self-esteem as a result of difficulties performing tasks that seem to come naturally to others. Demystifying the learning disorder with your child can help him develop the tools — and resilience — necessary to manage it, both in school and in social circumstances. Some things you can do to help include:

  • Discuss the specific challenges that result from dyslexia: “You know how you have a hard time reading signs or copying notes from the board? That’s dyslexia.”
  • Acknowledge their effort and celebrate hard work, even if there are still mistakes: “I know how difficult that reading homework was. I am so proud of how hard you tried.”
  • Help them recognize their strengths : “You showed such great sportsmanship and teamwork in the soccer game the other night, and that was a great goal you scored!”
  • Combat negative self-talk: If your child starts saying things like, “I’m just stupid,” don’t ignore it. Instead, check out  these ideas  for helping kids who are too hard on themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dyslexia works by causing difficulty recognizing and processing the sounds in language. Kids with dyslexia might reverse letters, like reading pot as top, have trouble sounding out new words, and struggle to recognize words they know.

Dyslexia is the most common learning disorder. Dyslexia affects as many as one in five children.

Systematic phonics instruction helps students with dyslexia learn to read. It’s also helpful for students with dyslexia to build confidence through small successes and positive experiences with reading.

Signs of dyslexia include talking later than other children, trouble learning simple rhymes, struggling to follow directions, or having difficulty learning left and right. In school, signs of dyslexia include struggling with reading, writing, spelling, and languages.

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how to help a dyslexic child with homework

More Than Just a Literacy Platform

How to Help a Child with Dyslexia at Home: What Parents Can Do

how to help a child with dyslexia at home

Is difficulty reading the same as a diagnosis of dyslexia? 

No. But whether a student has dyslexia or not, being unable to read can lead to a lifetime of struggles with daily living. For example, beyond completing their school work, individuals who cannot read may later find themselves unable to:

  • apply for a job or take a test to advance to a new position
  • read a menu or a map
  • follow written instructions
  • take a driver’s license test
  • manage health care decisions, medications, and dosages (their own and others’)
  • follow a recipe
  • work with technology
  • communicate on social media
  • make informed decisions
  • live independently
  • follow operating instructions
  • help with homework and read to their own children

Poor reading skills have been shown to result in higher rates of unemployment, lower-quality jobs, lower-income, and reduced self-esteem.

How you can help your struggling reader at home

woman sitting at table helping child with dyslexia at home with reading

Most struggling readers do not qualify for public school special education services, but parents can do a lot to help – right at home. These are simple steps that can benefit the entire family, whether or not children have been diagnosed with dyslexia.

Activities to Do Every Day

  • Designate an adult or other skilled reader for each session.
  • Select materials that interest the child and that the child can understand as a listener. (Your local librarian can help.)
  • The reader should sit next to the child and encourage them to follow along, looking at the words on the page as they are spoken.
  • Stop from time to time for a little conversation about the story and the characters. Ask questions to make sure the child is following the story and answer any questions they may have.
  • Discuss the meaning of any new or unusual words that come up during the day. If a word has an interesting spelling pattern, point it out.
  • Encourage deliberate practice and model it, showing the child how people get good at what they practice.
  • Respond to errors in a way that helps the child understand that mistakes are helpful. They help us improve.

Activities to Do Several Times a Week

  • Encourage and model writing by hand, with legible and consistent letter formation.
  • Provide guidance for accurate spelling and sentence punctuation.
  • Model and support the use of digital technologies like keyboarding with a sentence-level spelling and grammar checker or project management using a digital calendar.

If your child struggles with reading, writing, or spelling, consider getting help from a qualified structured literacy professional. Learn more about dyslexia testing and structured literacy reading, writing, and spelling therapy for children .

If you are a parent with questions on how to better help a child with dyslexia through proven treatment options, contact us today for a free consultation.

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Stay Organized & Manage Your Time

If you are dyslexic, you most likely already know that it takes you longer and you may have to work harder than non-dyslexics to accomplish tasks that require reading and writing, in particular. And, therefore, it is very important that you know how to organize your time.

Many times students with learning disabilities, including dyslexia, have difficulty with executive functioning , which is the ability to solve problems and bring the many pieces of a task to fruition or completion. Executive functioning involves being able to plan a task, change gears in the middle if need be, re-group, stay motivated, persevere, and complete the task.

Executive functioning is important so that you can

  • Understand the problem at hand and solve it in an efficient manner.
  • Develop goals and strategies.
  • Analyze whether a strategy is working.
  • Evaluate the course of action.
  • Take corrective action when confronted with a flaw in your strategy.
  • See the problem from start to finish.
  • Conduct an executive analysis of your approach to the problem.

Your executive functioning ability affects your organizational and time management skills. It is important to analyze your work space and habits to enhance your effectiveness when studying or completing a project for work.

Using the information and suggestions below about organization and time management consistently will help reduce your frustration and anxiety and increase your academic success.


Think about your current strategies for studying & organization? It's a good idea before the semester begins to analyze your strategies. Some questions you might want to ask yourself are

  • What works for me?
  • What needs to change?
  • What distracts me?

By analyzing your current strategies for studying & organization you will be able to know what time of day you are most productive or at your best. Do you usually refer to yourself as a “morning person” or a “night owl”? What time of the day do you feel the least distracted, the most rested?

Once you begin to understand the environment in which you are at your best (i.e., most productive) you should design a conducive study space. This may include:

  • Time of day
  • Type of environment (e.g., quiet – library or background noise – a coffee shop)
  • Do you prefer sitting at a desk or in a comfy chair?

When you know what kind of study space works best for you this is when you should study or tackle difficult tasks. A good way to start is by making an appointment with yourself in your planner just like you would for any other important appointment (e.g., doctor, dentist, etc.). And then, importantly -- don’t break your date! The benefits of using a dayplanner or to-do lists will help you

  • Keep track of tasks, projects and their deadlines, and will always be beneficial when trying to stay organized.
  • Decide what task(s) (e.g., test, projects, or assignments) you will tackle in that time frame.

At the start of the semester you may feel that you will be able to manage your time for both school and social activities; however this can change quickly. For example, it may take you longer to study for a test or complete a project which can be frustrating if it seems that your friends are able to get their studies done and still make time for a social life.

Time management can be challenging at the college level but there is a step-by-step approach if incorporated with the information from the tips on organization that will be extremely helpful.

  • Each day or week set aside time to figure out what needs to be accomplished
  • Then using your planner/to-do lists plan how you will meet your goals
  • For example, a reminder to start a project/paper early, doing research for resources, creating an outline, writing smaller sections rather than an entire paper/project, reviewing work, etc. Using your dayplanner can determine a certain timeline for getting each step done before the due date.
  • Learn to say ‘no.’ This may involve you dealing with interruptions (e.g., phone calls, going to the movies, etc.) in order for you to stay on task.
  • Remember to reward yourself when you finish a piece (e.g., call a friend, take a walk, watch a TV show, etc.).

Helpful Tips for studying:

  • Get prepared before you begin.
  • If the project is large, break it into steps and draft a schedule in your planner. Stick to the schedule , but remember good executive functioning skills allow you to re-group.
  • Be sure you are clear about what you need to study. Clarify with your instructor if need be before you leave class. Read all directions .
  • Have a planner where you keep assignments and syllabi.
  • Color code due dates
  • Identify a time each day when you will study.
  • Be sure you have all your materials .
  • Identify a goal for yourself within a study session. In other words depending on the type of task (e.g., reading a chapter in a textbook and reviewing your class notes or writing an outline for a paper, etc.) you should design realistic and achievable goals instead of trying to get it all done in an hour.
  • Prioritize your study session. You may want to tackle a quick easy assignment first OR you may need to work on the tougher one and save the one that you know will be a snap for last. You know yourself best! Design your study session to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.
  • Know when you need to take a short break. Remember to choose activities for these breaks that don’t become temptations for a “long” break (i.e., walk around the block or get something to drink vs. watching a movie or playing an addicting video game.)
  • Allow time to check your work!
  • When you complete a task put it in a designated spot – your binder for class the next day, a folder on your desktop where you will find it tomorrow, etc.

Don’t berate yourself if, for example, you miscalculated the amount of time it took you to complete a task. Just use what you’ve learned and re-group – set a new goal for your next session. Adjust your overall plan. This is what a good problem-solver does. We are always going back, analyzing the situation, and coming up with the next steps. Last, congratulate yourself for the work you’ve done! Now, you can treat yourself to that favorite show, game of hoops, bike ride, etc.!

For more helpful tips on organization, check out LD Online's Organizational Skills for Students with Learning Disabilities .

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6 effective ways to help a child struggling with dyslexia at home.

Posted by Neil Simpson | April 26, 2022 | 0 responses

how to help a dyslexic child with homework

According to statistics,  approximately one-fifth of school-aged children have a learning disability , with dyslexia being the most common. Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for dyslexia, but there are some tools and tips that you can use to help your child.

1. Understand the Struggle

If you do not struggle with dyslexia yourself, you probably don’t fully understand what your child is dealing with. And truthfully, your child probably doesn’t either.

Many children that struggle with reading assume that their struggles are normal – that everyone experiences the same issues. They don’t understand what’s different. Therefore, they can’t explain it to you.

You’ll need to research to gain that understanding yourself. This can include reading books and blogs, talking to their doctor,  reading programs for dyslexia , speaking with a specialist, and even seeking out others who struggle with dyslexia. Through this research, you’ll better understand your child’s struggles, have a better idea of questions to ask, and find practical resources.

2. Technology tools

Many dyslexic children tendencies find text-to-speech tools helpful. When the computer reads the text aloud, it can be easier to follow along and catch errors. Some dyslexic individuals also find it beneficial to use audiobooks instead of reading print books. And for those who struggle with spelling, there are spellcheck tools that can be very helpful in catching errors. With all of these assistive technologies available, there is no excuse not to take advantage of them!

3. Utilize a structured approach

A structured, research-backed approach is essential to teaching language skills to a child with dyslexia. Utilizing a multisensory and structured approach, especially with struggling readers, helps boost their confidence and is simply more fun! This approach is based on the understanding that children learn best when the material is age-appropriate and presented in the proper scope and sequence.

4. Develop Interest and Enjoyment

The learning process must be a positive experience for the dyslexic child. When they can read topics of interest to them, they are more likely to develop an enjoyment of reading and the motivation to improve.

A “drill/kill” environment will only discourage them further. Be patient and give them the time and encouragement to read and study topics of interest.

5. Praise Effort

Children struggling with dyslexia have to work extra hard when trying to read. Parents must recognize that and praise every bit of effort children put in. This helps build their confidence and motivates them to continue.

It’s also crucial that you stop negative self-talk in its tracks. A lack of confidence can kill motivation quickly, so you mustn’t let negative self-talk find a foothold in their minds.

Also, be mindful of your negative self-talk. Children tend to mimic what they see and hear. If you are constantly insulting yourself, your children will think that it’s the standard and acceptable thing to do.

6. Provide a Structured Environment

For dyslexic kids, having a structured environment is key to success in and out of the classroom. When dyslexia is present, creating a routine can help alleviate some stress and increase a child’s self-confidence.

Having a dedicated dyslexia-friendly space in your home that is only used for schoolwork can be highly beneficial. This space should be free from distractions and have all the necessary tools and resources close by.

Breaking up their schoolwork into smaller chunks will help them stay focused and prevent them from feeling overwhelmed. It is important to remember that while academics are essential, dyslexic children need time to play and relax. Allowing them regular breaks will help them refocus when it is time to get back to

Throughout your child’s reading journey, it will be essential that you be patient with the process. Reading isn’t something that happens overnight for anyone. And when there are additional obstacles, it will take longer.

Tags: Dyslexia

how to help a dyslexic child with homework

Parenting With Patience: Tips for Supporting Dyslexic Children Academically

I started reading in kindergarten and quickly fell in love with my classroom’s little library. When I had my first child, I hoped she would share my passion for books. We filled her nursery with board books and worked on her letter recognition skills as she got older, but our time by her bookshelf quickly became a negative experience.

She got frustrated as we read when she couldn’t name the right words or letters. Sometimes it led to her to throwing books across the room or bursting into tears. I talked with her pediatrician about it, who sent us to a psychologist with experience in dyslexia.

My daughter’s diagnosis was an overwhelming relief. Our hearts hurt at the challenges that awaited her years in school, but a diagnosis pointed us toward ways to help her. These are some of the most important things I’ve learned in the years since.

More from CafeMom: Tips To Keep Kids' Physical & Emotional Health in Check as They Head Back to School

Start by Learning the Facts

It’s scary to hear a doctor diagnose your child with any condition. We want to shield our children from any challenges or hardships life throws them. Dyslexia may seem intimidating in that initial doctor’s office visit, but learning some facts about it makes it easier to advocate for your child’s needs.

Recent research available through the National Library of Medicine shows that dyslexia affects up to 20% of the population , or one in five people. That’s more than a billion people living joyful, fulfilling lives. Even if it feels like your family is suddenly alone, many others have been in your shoes and found ways to help their children through their educational journeys.

It’s also crucial for parents to know that not every school system has tools to help kids with dyslexia. Our daughter’s first public school classroom had no kindergarten teachers trained to help students with dyslexia succeed. Our search for private schools with dyslexia certifications was challenging, too.

You should look for the same certifications if your child struggles in school. It can feel exhausting if you’re not close to numerous school systems, but the results are worth it. We found a public school with a certified teacher who developed accommodations that empowered our daughter, like these:

  • Reading the daily and weekly schedules out loud
  • Making a special bookmark so our daughter could follow along more easily
  • Printing worksheets in larger font sizes for her
  • Granting extra time for writing and reading
  • Highlighting sight words in written instructions

Ask Them How You Can Help

When your child gets old enough to talk about their needs and challenges, ask how you can help. I’ve been the parent who assumed everything was fine, which made my daughter think any new or existing challenges were a personal fault.

We might not have the same specialized training as certified teachers, but parents can do so much to help their dyslexic children in their educational journeys. Video games were an early tool that I began relying on when my daughter expressed frustration with being unable to concentrate for very long.

First, I picked a video game she wanted to try, like the Jak and Daxter series. Giving her more time to play it throughout the week allowed her to practice tracking words on the screen while playing an immersive, mystery-themed game. Research shows that video games improve a child’s attention span , which we saw happen in real time with our daughter’s concentration.

When she got older, we downloaded flashcard apps that read the words out loud. Our daughter studied more easily by listening to her homework. She also began recognizing those words more easily during school because she was more engaged while she studied.

Helping your child can also be super simple. Our daughter’s pediatrician recommended we develop a sleep routine early on and stick with it through the years. Kids with dyslexia demonstrate more active brain waves while they sleep, which often causes issues with falling or staying asleep. Finding what helps your child’s unique mind rest will give them the energy boost they need to conquer more challenging lessons.

Don’t forget about your child’s diet, either. Vitamins won’t cure dyslexia, but they can help. Researchers found that dyslexic young adults who stuck with the Mediterranean diet had less difficulty with testing than those who didn’t. The eating plan uses fish as a protein foundation, so your child may benefit from nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids that nourish the brain on a cellular level.

As always, chat with your child’s pediatrician before making dietary or lifestyle changes. They’ll work with you to tailor your ideas to your child’s health needs.

Find New School Activities

Learning disabilities might be isolating for reasons unrelated to bullies. Think about how many school clubs revolve on reading. Groups that teach students to enjoy reading, creative writing, and history in their free time are important, but children with dyslexia won’t be able to engage if they have the same interests.

I showed our daughter a list of other school activities she could consider first. Clubs involving sports, movies, pottery, cooking, theater, and more are easier for her. She can put anything she has to read in a text-to-voice app for instant practice.

We’ve also looked into starting clubs. Our daughter met other dyslexic kiddos when she began her first year at middle school. She discovered they all wished they felt like they belonged in the school library, so we started a book club for dyslexic kids. They meet twice a month to discuss their latest audiobook. The social connection and educational empowerment make my daughter shine with joy.

Work on Their Cognitive Skills

Kids have significant neuroplasticity. Their minds are young and haven’t developed the repeated neural pathways that influence how adults act and think.

There’s a misconception I’ve found in my years of jumping between parental support groups. Some that operate on social media without the guidance of a psychologist can perpetuate the idea that parents can train their children out of dyslexia.

That isn’t true. It comes from the growing reality that even though you can’t make dyslexia disappear, working on cognitive skills with your child more than other children can make it easier for them to read and learn.

Find an educational therapist or learning specialist to help you create a routine around cognitive skill improvement. A specialist told us to work on four primary components — memory, attention, processing, and sequencing. They’re in the toolbox every person uses to read and succeed in other areas of life, too.

Specialized games and adapted classroom plans may give your child a better attention span and processing speed. Talk with their teacher and doctor to integrate these things into their daily life. We’ve found that the little things can make the biggest difference in our daughter’s life.

Show Them Dyslexic Representation

Kids with dyslexia may feel isolated. They might not have anyone else with the condition in their classroom or friend group. Children may develop a negative association with dyslexia if bullied due to their learning disability.

We wanted our daughter to know that people with dyslexia can do anything. She should have the biggest dreams and set the highest goals. She felt more encouraged to do just that when we showed her dyslexic representation.

Young kids won’t feel alone or different if they watch movies and TV shows with characters like them. Our daughter loved watching George in Arthur because she shared the same learning disability.

There are so many graphic novels, picture books, and audiobooks for dyslexic children to identify with, too. The Percy Jackson series makes dyslexia a superpower, and other books such as Dying to Know You , Life at the Speed of Us , and Playing Tyler show coming-of-age storylines with dyslexic characters.

Kids should have public figures they can admire because they both have dyslexia. A simple internet search will make the world feel much more welcoming for a child who feels alone while growing up with dyslexia.

Embrace Every Child’s Unique Educational Journey

Graduating from grade school requires more than time in a classroom. Kids also need comprehensive and loving support from their parents. These are the best things we implemented for our daughter that helped her thrive inside and outside school. Your child may have the same experience, but you can always talk with their pediatrician about any questions or concerns.

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Students with dyslexia face challenges transitioning to the workplace, but with support they can thrive

how to help a dyslexic child with homework

PhD Candidate in Business Administration and Management, Concordia University

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Sarah Rahimi does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Transitioning from university to the workplace is a critical period in anyone’s life, but it can be especially challenging for students with dyslexia. While academic settings often offer accommodations for people with dyslexia, professional environments often fall short on such support systems.

Fortunately, there are strategic interventions that can be established in workplaces to help individuals with dyslexia not only adapt, but excel in their careers.

It is estimated that up to 20 per cent of the population has dyslexia and 80 per cent of people with a learning disability have dyslexia , making it the most common learning disability. Dyslexia impacts a person’s reading and spelling abilities, but does not impact their overall intelligence .

People with dyslexia have unique strengths that can be valuable in the workplace. With workplaces increasingly placing importance on diversity and inclusion, understanding and supporting employees with dyslexia is crucial not only for the individual success of employees, but for organizational effectiveness of workplaces at large.

Transitioning from university to the workplace

Universities often provide resources like extra time on exams, specialized tutoring and alternative formats to materials (for example, recordings, alternate text formats and videos with subtitles).

Unfortunately, these accommodations and support are less readily available in the workplace. This change in accommodations and support can be stressful and impact the performance of new employees with dyslexia.

A young, stressed-out-looking man pinches the bridge of his nose with his eyes closed as he sits in front of an open laptop

Common workplace tasks such as reading lengthy emails, writing detailed reports or following multi-step instructions can be more time-consuming and lead to mistakes for individuals with dyslexia. This is not because of a lack of skill or intelligence, but rather stems from differences in the way individuals with dyslexia process information.

Employers should recognize the challenges faced by employees with dyslexia and implement accommodations to ensure equal opportunities for success in the workplace.

Employees with dyslexia often face challenges at work — such as mental exhaustion, fatigue, burnout, stress and discrimination — when they do not get enough support. The absence of workplace support can not only affect their professional performance and career progression but can also impact their overall well-being and self-esteem .

Creating a path to success

Inclusive workplace practices can make a significant difference. Creating a supportive and understanding work environment can help individuals with dyslexia thrive in the workplace. The following are some effective strategies workplaces can use to better support individuals with dyslexia.

1. Structured and clear communication: Ensure workplace communications use clear, concise language in both written and verbal forms . This ensures clarity and reduces misunderstandings.

2. Technology utilization: Use assistive technologies such as text-to-speech software, audio texts and digital organizers to help individuals with dyslexia overcome challenges with reading and writing.

3. Flexibility in the workplace: Offer flexible working hours to employees . This would allow individuals with dyslexia to work during their peak productivity times and manage tasks in ways that play to their strengths.

4. Leveraging strengths: Employers should recognize and leverage the unique skills of individuals with dyslexia to create a more inclusive and productive workplace. These skills can include advanced problem-solving skills, creativity and the ability to visualize complex scenarios and see the big picture . Roles that emphasize big-picture or creative thinking, or innovative problem-solving are well suited to individuals with dyslexia.

The outline of head with colored threads spreading outward from a central point

5. Self-advocacy: Encourage individuals with dyslexia to advocate for themselves in the workplace, whether by disclosing their needs or seeking necessary accommodations. There is no law that says individuals must self-disclose , but it can help and make a difference to be open about one’s needs and the accommodations that can improve productivity.

6. Professional development: Continuously working on one’s personal and professional skills can help individuals with dyslexia thrive in the workplace. This includes attending workshops and training sessions, networking with other individuals that have dyslexia and mentorship. These opportunities can provide additional support, strategies, advice and guidance.

A collective effort

By improving accessibility and implementing key strategies, employers can create an environment where individuals with dyslexia feel supported, valued and empowered to contribute to the success of their organizations.

Creating a work environment that helps individuals with dyslexia thrive is a collective effort from employers, colleagues and individuals with dyslexia. Embracing inclusivity and recognizing the challenges and strengths of individuals with dyslexia can create a more diverse workforce.

A more diverse and inclusive workforce not only helps individuals with dyslexia, but can benefit everyone — it encourages different ways of thinking, adaptability and innovation. With the right support, transitioning from university to the workplace can be a journey of growth and success.

By acknowledging the strengths and potential of employees with dyslexia and making reasonable accommodations, employers can harness the unique talents of these individuals. This can lead to increased productivity, creativity and overall success for both the employees and the organization as a whole.

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Should all children struggling to read be diagnosed as dyslexic?

DURHAM, United Kingdom — A child experiencing difficulties in reading or falling behind in school may be evaluated for dyslexia — a learning disorder that makes it harder to read. While well-intentioned, educational and clinical psychologists say rushing to diagnose a child with dyslexia may do more harm than good.

In a new book, The Dyslexia Debate Revisited , experts are calling for a halt to the overdiagnosis of this learning disability . Instead, they argue that policymakers, educators, and psychologists should rethink how we assess reading levels and improve reading resources.

The authors argue that how a child is diagnosed with dyslexia is scientifically questionable. Additionally, even when someone is diagnosed, the current procedures designed to help students struggling to read are largely ineffective. Children with inadequate support for reading tend to come from minority backgrounds or economically disadvantaged schools and communities.

“We desperately need to reform education policy and practice around the assessment and support of all children who experience difficulty with reading. Currently, too many children are being left behind,” says co-author Julian Elliot, a professor of educational psychology at Durham University, who previously instructed children with learning disabilities, in a media release . “The current system is leaving swathes of children struggling , particularly those in economically disadvantaged schools and communities. This is surely wrong.”

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Rather than trying to label a child once they receive a dyslexia diagnosis, the authors argue the primary focus should be to give struggling readers support and intervention as early as possible. This includes training elementary school teachers to identify and intervene with children struggling to read. Additionally, systems need to be put in place to provide additional educational support.

The authors recommend that policymakers and educators have intervention strategies already planned out for struggling readers of all ages. Having a clinical diagnosis of dyslexia excludes many other struggling learners from accessing resources that would also benefit them. Another strategy is to give greater recognition to recommended interventions, whether someone is dyslexic or not.

Lastly, the authors seek to redefine what it means to be dyslexic . They argue that dyslexia should broadly include any child with a persistently difficult time with reading. There is currently no valid and widely agreed-upon means of differentiating dyslexia from other forms of reading difficulty. Therefore, the team says dyslexia should mean an educational difficulty , not a medical condition or diagnosis.

“We need to stop formally diagnosing and labeling a relatively small proportion of poor readers as dyslexic and, instead, focus upon identifying and intervening with all children who struggle with reading,” adds Elliot.

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Help for Adults with Dyslexia: Essential Tips and Strategies

how to help a dyslexic child with homework

According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, dyslexia affects about 20% of the population in the US. Nowadays, early diagnosis in school-aged children is more frequent and allows better intervention. A question that is often asked is: will my child always be dyslexic? The short answer is yes, but it should be known that progress is continuous. A dyslexic person continues to evolve and find strategies that help them read. In this article, we will share everyday tips for dyslexia for adults.

Understanding Dyslexia in Adults

Dyslexia is defined as “Difficulties in accuracy or fluency of reading that are not consistent with the person’s chronological age, educational opportunities or intellectual abilities”. Simply put, it can be described as reading difficulties of varying severity.

In adults, the impacts may appear in various ways:

●       Difficulty reading complex or rare words;

●       Frequently self-correcting during reading;

●       Mistaking similar sounding sounds;

These are only a few examples. These difficulties can then result in glitches in the daily lives of adults with dyslexia. Both at school and work, they can experience challenges in understanding what they are reading. This may lead to difficulty in carrying out the tasks required of them. They also may require additional time to achieve a task or integrate misunderstood knowledge. In return, this may leave a person feeling overwhelmed, fatigued, and discouraged.

Help for Dyslexic Adults

If you think you have dyslexia, we recommend getting professional advice from a therapist. The following advice is not a replacement for clinical advice, diagnosis, or intervention. If you are currently treated for dyslexia, we recommend following your therapist’s advice.

Many accessible strategies are available to help you cope with dyslexia every day. They may be used both in your personal life and at school or work. Keep reading for these dyslexia strategies for adults.

Reading Tips

Adopting reading strategies is a must-do to help you read more easily. Whether at school, at home, or at the office, here are suggestions to try during a reading task:

  • If you find that you often skip a line or a few when reading, use a tool such as a ruler to keep your eyes on the right line. Lower the ruler when you have reached the end of the line. This also gives your eyes a break: they are not attracted to the rest of the text below. They also cannot be distracted by upcoming words.
  • Your finger can also help when it comes to spatial difficulties. You may already do this unknowingly, but if not, you might want to pick up this old trick. The ruler might not be enough to keep your eyes from wandering back and forth on the page. In this case, keep your index finger at the end of the word you are reading and slide it along to the right as you’re reading. As obvious as it might sound, this is usually infallible and also helps you keep the pace as you read.
  • When you’re reading and your brain just won’t decode a word, grab a highlighter marker and come back to the word(s) later. You can then take the time to decode the word in question. Focusing on a word to try and decode it may seem like the right solution to make sure you understand the text. But it may have the opposite effect… Persisting in trying to read a word will sometimes make you forget the information you just read. Continuing to read will instead allow you to preserve energy.
  • Keep your highlighters close and do not hesitate to use color coding to simplify learning. Using symbols and diagrams can also alleviate some fatigue by giving you a reading break. They can also help you find information you wrote down more quickly in your notes.
  • Declutter your workspace. If possible, do not leave other pages or books opened close to the one being currently read. Focusing on only the one you are reading at the minute will give your eyes and brain a break while also taking away distractions. 
  • Books have never been this accessible for dyslexic adults. Practically any newly released book is also released as an audiobook. Do you prefer to take this opportunity to practice your reading abilities? e-Readers also offer a variety of settings that allow you to adjust the device to your preference. Character font, size and spacing can be personalized.

Assistive Technologies and Tools

In this era of technology, a large number of tools are offered to you to cope with reading difficulties.

Most smartphones offer accessibility features, including some that can help with dyslexia:

  •  VoiceOver can read text shown on the screen that you may be having trouble reading;
  • Zoom allows you to enlarge your screen if you are struggling to decode words because of their small size;
  • Siri allows you to make verbal demands instead of typing them.

On computers and laptops, word processing programs, including Microsoft Word, can read your text aloud. You can usually adjust the settings to your liking – for example by changing the voice and speed. On these programs, you may also find a font that is easier for you to read clearly.

Assistive technologies are an interesting option. They are becoming more universally used and accepted, both educationally and career-wise. You can explore and play with the settings of these tools to see which functions are helpful to you. By integrating them, you may find a certain way to ease the reading difficulties. This in return may lift some weight off of your shoulders.

Success Stories: How Forbrain Helped Adults with Dyslexia

Forbrain is also a technology that helps adults cope with dyslexia by providing auditory feedback. 

Julia is an adult with dyslexia and auditory processing difficulties who benefited from Forbrain. As a child, her aspiration to become an actress was hindered by her struggles with reading and auditory processing. Despite her passion for performance, she found herself stumbling over lines and facing the wrath of impatient teachers.

With dedication and daily practice, Julia incorporated Forbrain into her routine, reading aloud with the device to sharpen her auditory and reading abilities. Ever since starting to use Forbrain to practice her reading skills, she has noticed a lot of improvement: Words came easier, reading wasn’t so scary anymore, and she felt more sure of herself. 

Looking back on her journey, she says “ Forbrain would have made going to school, reading, and every aspect of day-to-day life from following directions, instructions to basic conversation SO much easier!”.

Today, Julia stands as a testament to the transformative power of Forbrain for adults with dyslexia. With newfound confidence and enhanced abilities, she is ready to reclaim her childhood dream of acting. 

how to help a dyslexic child with homework

Professional Help

Whatever your age, you might want to consider consulting a speech-language pathologist. The SLP can diagnose your dyslexia and suggest strategies to help you better cope with it. In addition to providing you with tips, they could help you identify and request accommodations. These may be of great support to you, both at school and at work. These accommodations may include:

  • Extended time on exams;
  • The use of laptops to access some of the assistive technology tools mentioned above;
  • Use of a digital recorder during meetings;
  • Allocation of a private or quieter workspace, when possible.

Dyslexia Support Groups

A simple Google or Facebook search will allow you to get in touch with support organizations. There, you will be able to connect with other adults affected by dyslexia. You will have the opportunity to chat about everything about dyslexia. You can ask questions you may have or tips you would like to share. This is a great option if you are feeling alone in your journey or struggling with the impacts of dyslexia. Nowadays, you can easily find in-person or online support, according to your preference. Help for dyslexia in adults on an emotional level is just as important as strategies.

Using Forbrain to Help with Dyslexia in Adults

Forbrain is an auditory stimulation headset. It helps children hear and process the sounds that they produce, louder and better. If you are a student, you may wear Forbrain while you learn new concepts, or prepare for tests and examinations. If you are a professional, you can use Forbrain before an important presentation or speech to work on your flow, enunciation, and confidence. Try reading a text aloud to condition your speaking voice and improve memorization.

Final Words

The adoption of several strategies to cope with your dyslexia can help you on a daily basis. Whether performing tasks related to work, school or personal hobbies, there are solutions such as joining a support group to discuss dyslexia, using a variety of tools – technological or not, and consulting a therapist to cope with the emotional and technical difficulties of your diagnosis. These are a few of the main suggested tips to consider to make living with dyslexia easier.

If you think you may be dyslexic, you might want to consider consulting a professional. A licensed speech-language pathologist or psychologist can assess and diagnose you. They will be able to suggest strategies and tips better catered to your needs.

Dyslexia FAQ. Yale Dyslexia , dyslexia.yale.edu/dyslexia/dyslexia-faq/. Accessed 29 Apr. 2024.

A 13 dyslexia. APA DSM-5 development. 2010. DSM-5 , http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=84. Accessed 29 Apr. 2024.

Tackling Dyslexia in children with Forbrain. (2022). Forbrain . https://blog.forbrain.com/blog/forbrain-dyslexia-children-speech. Accessed 29 Apr. 2024. 

Roxanne Pelchat

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