Oct 25, 2016 by Joanne Gouaux

identifying dyslexiaThink about your favorite stories.  From personal tales, to books and movies, the common catalyst of action and emotion comes from opposing forces.  Storytellers and writers call these opposing forces antagonists.  Opposing forces can take the shape of authority, flawed relationships, ticking clocks, hostile worlds, or an enemy within.  When heroes overcome opposing forces, the typical result is a satisfying outcome, or at least, a good story.   

Struggling learners face opposing forces on a regular basis.  While not every struggling learner feels trapped inside a hostile world, many relate to the pressures of trying to uphold respect from teachers and friends while feeling like they’re letting everyone down.  These heroes feel their own disappointment and frustration, along with the disappointment and frustration of people close to them.  That’s a big burden for a child to bear alone. Try as they might, their struggle to learn can grow into anxiety, impatience, fear, humiliation, loneliness, or shame.  Many blame themselves, and develop an inner sense of dislike or distrust.  After repeated attempts to learn in a particular way, they lose confidence and faith in their own abilities to change outcomes.    

Understanding dyslexia leads to empowerment

Identifying dyslexia can clarify and validate your child’s learning struggles, putting him or her in control of their own story.  Terms such as diagnosis, identification, or labels need not define or limit any person, adult or child.  Instead, the knowledge can be used as a tool for greater understanding, allowing your child access to education through instruction that is appropriate for the way they learn.  Recognizing that dyslexia, also known as a Specific Learning Disability, plays a role in your child’s behavior and learning allows parents and educators to offer appropriate learning support.

Dyslexia can affect:

  • Academic performance
  • Behavior
  • Confidence
  • Communication
  • Perception of learning ability
  • Learning
  • Relationships

The effects on academic performance and learning are logical consequences of a difficulty with reading.  Less obvious for many parents is their child’s avoidant or camouflage behaviors. Learners with dyslexia may avoid written assignments for fear of being seen as unintelligent.  Being aggressive or playing the role of the class clown are other distraction strategies a learner with dyslexia may consciously or unconsciously employ as a means of camouflaging their reading and writing difficulty.

Potential benefits of identifying dyslexia include:

  • Gaining appropriate support to become an independent learner
  • Building creative strategies for learning
  • Discovering new abilities, talents, and strengths
  • Identifying future career options

Potential risks of not identifying dyslexia include:

  • Barriers to independent learning
  • Chronic stress
  • Low self-image
  • Negative learned behaviors such as helplessness
  • Limiting academics and career options
  • Difficult to develop skills to compensate for areas of weakness
  • Susceptibly to bullying (for example, being taken advantage of, or bearing social stigmas for low reading ability)

When we don't identify dyslexia, we wind up wasting time and energy being stuck in a cycle that doesn’t improve in proportion to invested energy, time and effort.

What can be done to support learners with dyslexia? 

Learners with dyslexia benefit from accommodations, interventions, individualized instruction, tools, and support for skill development and strategies. 

Examples of learning support include:

  • Multisensory language learning instruction at school
  • Structured writing interventions at school
  • Reading interventions such as Fast ForWord
  • Assistive Technology reading tools such as Reading Assistant
  • Assistive Technology tools as the writing workload increases in middle grades
  • Practical accommodations such as audio books for reading
  • Executive skills coaching to develop skills necessary to plan and prioritize, carry out tasks

Coaching can also include improvement in time management, working memory, the ability to organize tasks and materials, initiate tasks and follow-through, be a flexible thinker, control impulses, maintain emotional control, and sustain attention.

Create your own hero

Identifying dyslexia offers struggling learners clarity and insight into their experiences, allowing learners to find alternatives to overcome obstacles that may otherwise remain roadblocks.  A willingness to see obstacles as puzzles to be solved allows your child to exercise problem-solving skills that can be applied to other areas of his or her life.  Problem-solving skills develop a sense of agency and personal power to affect opposing forces and outcomes in both school and life.  Being able to identify a root cause of your child's frustration and struggle surrounding homework and school provides an opportunity to find more appropriate ways of learning.  Providing access and tools for your child creates an opportunity to emerge as the hero of their own story, creating an abundance of options for their future.

For Dyslexia Awareness Month, we thank guest blogger, Joanne Gouaux, mother of a bright 10-year old boy with dyslexia, for sharing her thoughts on why it's so important to identify dyslexia. 



We welcome your comments.  Submitted comments will appear as soon as the moderator reviews and approves.


Thank you for the support and

Thank you for the support and positive input about Dyslexia . From a mother of a 10 year old who was recently identified as a child who has this special gift .

You're welcome Shelly!

You're welcome Shelly! Congrats on taking the first step. We have some great webinars on dyslexia research that may interest you. Best of luck to you and your son!

My Grandson is Dyslexic. It

My Grandson is Dyslexic. It took a lot of pushing at his school when he was in 1st grade to have him tested. His teacher had never encountered a child with Dyslexia before. It was very frustrating to my Daughter and Grandson the first half of the school year having to push to get him tested. What's frustrating is that our Teachers in our District are not trained in Identifying the signs of a Dyslexic child. His kindergarten year was a night mare because his teacher didn't know either. AIt was a struggle for him. Even though we constantly told her we thought he was. His mother and grandfather are both Dyslexic. Finally in second grade he started getting the Help he needed. They are teaching the Scottish Rites Take Flight curricullum. He has improved tremdously. His confidence is awesome. He does not struggle with his homework. And is excited about doing his homework. If you have a child you suspect has a learning disability. I strongly encourage you push to have them tested. Sincerly a Proud Granna

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your story Geralyn! Great job advocating for your grandson, we wish him continued academic success!

Those risks may well still

Those risks may well still happen even with identifying. It's very hard to find the right help and enough of it. Coupled with adolescence , raging hormones and other teens... very likely you'll be dealing with all those things later. Did all the therapies And always helping and searching and fixing , sends the kid an underlying message that they're broken You would think that advocating and teaching self advocacy would prevent just that. But all these things are tools, not fixes. Mine is nearly 21, handsome, intelligent, great memory And still thinks he can read And wishes to be a "normal" kid and go to a 4 year. We never told him any of that , and we have always believed in him . He came out of high school DONE! We now wait for his lightbulb Because they have to want it to work that hard And Not everyone is s student! At the end of the day Buckle your seatbelt it's a long ride And we want them to believe in themselves Whether they ever learn well or not.

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your experience with us and our readers. We wish your son continued success!

My son is newly diagnosed as

My son is newly diagnosed as dyslexic, and has central auditory processing disorder. He has struggled through his entire schooling being pushed along with the IEP he has had since he was 5 for ADHD. I don't know what else the school can do for him. He is in a regular classroom as the school district does not have inclusion classes for LD. The regular classroom teacher has admitted that she is not trained to teach my child. He reads on a first grade level with no improvement since this journey began. What can I do?

Hello, thanks for your

Hello, thanks for your comment! We would be happy to have a conversation with you discussing your son's challenges in more detail. Can you contact us at salesinfo@scilearn.com or give us a call at 888-750-0116? We look forward to speaking with you.

U could try fast forward with

U could try fast forward with your child. I'm going to in January. It works at the inability from an underlying angle. What has helped my son of doing grade 1 and 2 and still being at a kindergarten level most is Orton Gillingham Tutoring! He started at end of grade 2 and now I am seeing huge progress!!!! It is slow and hard work but, so absolutely effective! He is at a grade 1 level and I feel strongly by the end of this year he will be at a grade 2 level. I have also started homeschooling him using an OG approach called all about reading. (I've heard of the logic of English being good too)It's going well when nothing else worked. The key is simultaneous multi-sensory teaching (how it's best received for dyslexics with NO gaps in content (Ie phonemic awareness, phonics, syllabication, segmenting, root words, etc.) the Scottish Rite has free Orton Gillingham tutoring in some places. It's worth finding!! It is doing my son a world of good in progress when nothing else had worked we had tried. Fast forward will hopefully compliment in another different powerful way.

Thanks for sharing your story

Thanks for sharing your story with us Crystal! Please check back in with us to let us know how Fast ForWord is working for your son. We look forward to hearing about his progress!