What is Dyslexia in Adults
As dyslexia is becoming more discussed in the media, you may commonly see dyslexia in adults portrayed in an increasingly positive light.
Some of history’s greatest inventors, entrepreneurs, artists, and architects have been dyslexic. At the same time, Malcolm Gladwell reported in his book, David and Goliath, “There are a remarkable number of people with dyslexia in prison.”
Knowing that dyslexia in adults can lead to such a varied result in one’s life, how can a parent of a dyslexic child ensure he can achieve his full potential.
Why is it that dyslexia in adults can have such a disparate outcome?
At first thought, one may think that the way to ensure that children with dyslexia become successful adults is to identify their dyslexia early so that they can receive appropriate instruction as early as possible. Research has shown that early intervention for children with dyslexia, leads to significant gains in reading accuracy and fluency.
Therefore one might infer that the successful adults with dyslexia were the ones who were identified earliest and therefore exceled at school.
While there is merit to this argument, there are numerous dyslexic adults who were never identified and never received the help in school.
Entrepreneurs such as Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group and William Hewlett who started Hewlett-Packard, were not identified or helped early. Yet both created companies that have profoundly impacted our world.
So if early identification is not the answer to success with dyslexia in adults, what is? What can parents do to help ensure their children who are dyslexic or struggling with reading can go on to find success later in life:
- Remediate the difficulties that you can –
Take Action Early
When you see your child struggling in school, take action early. Get the testing and services your child needs.
Work with the school or a private tutor to improve the reading and writing as much as you can. This will open up your child’s ability to learn and preserve her love of school. Then she’ll be more willing to put the hard work in necessary to become successful.
Obtain accommodations for the struggles that remain.
Despite all of your efforts to help your child improve, there may be areas of school that continue to be an issue.
For these areas, don’t waste your energy. Instead obtain appropriate accommodations from the school. For example, many children with dyslexia also have dysgraphia, a difficulty with writing.
The physical act of writing is exhausting for them. Allowing them to use computers or dictation software will help them get their ideas out without having to struggle with the physical act of writing. You may need to go to your pediatrician or an educational psychologist to obtain a letter advocating for these accommodations, but then your child can focus her energy on the areas of school where she can excel.
Preserve their self-esteem.
The Most Important Thing
Above all, do everything in your power to preserve your child’s self-esteem. Surely a large contributing factor to dyslexia in adults leading to incarceration is poor self-esteem.
So continually remind your child of the progress he has made.
Praise him for his hard work.
Then show him all of the things he can do well.
- Focus most of your energy on helping them find their genius.
Find The Gift
Finally, the most important area to focus on is finding your child’s true gift, (as we at Dyslexic AND UN-Stoppable say, “help them rediscover their inner power.”)
By focusing on that one area where he has a true gift, you will help him make the most of that ability. For example if your child is musically inclined help him explore that talent, by enrolling him in music lessons.
If your child has an engineer’s brain, find ways to help her develop this skill and meet other children with a similar gift.
So while dyslexia in adults can sometimes seem like a challenging life, there are some simple, effective strategies that parents can make to ensure their children enjoy that challenge.
Lucie M. Curtiss, RN, and Douglas C. Curtiss, M.D., FAAP are the co-founders of Dyslexic AND UN-Stoppable, LLC. Their mission is to empower dyslexic children to become UN-Stoppable and overcome dyslexia by rediscovering their inner power. They are here to remind dyslexics that they are SMART!