Explaining Dyslexia to Friends and Family Members

By Morgan Kimball

Dyslexia can be hard to explain, especially to family members. Parents, have you tried to explain dyslexia to others, but it didn’t go as well as you wanted it to? When a family member says things because they misunderstand the learning struggle, it cannot only hurt but it can also be discouraging. We want to protect our kids so badly, but the truth is that misunderstandings about dyslexia are way too common. When you become aware that your child has dyslexia, you also become an advocate for creating dyslexia awareness.

Tips on Explaining Dyslexia

  • Accept that misunderstandings about dyslexia are going to happen. No matter what, learning differences will always be misunderstood. Many people can see that your child is smart, so their struggles in reading, writing, memory, or focus don’t match the perceptions of a smart child. The truth is children with dyslexia and ADHD are smart, but struggle in unexpected ways.
  • Your support outweighs any hurt caused by misunderstanding. When someone might hurt your child’s feelings (or yours), YOUR understanding and support is the most important thing. Individuals with dyslexia say that the most important impact on their success was at least one caring adult.
  • Teach your child about dyslexia so they can also advocate for themselves. Eventually, your child is going to have to explain dyslexia to others. Teaching your child to explain dyslexia protects them from misunderstandings.

Dyslexia Basics

Being able to tell family and friends the basic of dyslexia can be helpful. Here are some basic facts about dyslexia that address many of the most common dyslexia myths and misunderstandings:

  • What is dyslexia? Dyslexia is a neurological learning processing difference. This just means that an individual with dyslexia processes information differently.
  • How does dyslexia affects individuals? It can take longer to process information and figure out new data. It makes reading and writing difficult.
  • Advantages of dyslexia: People with dyslexia can do anything! Individuals with dyslexia have succeeded in business, architecture, science, and creative arts.
  • What dyslexia DOESN’T mean: Having dyslexia does not make an individual lazy or doesn’t mean they are not smart.

Do your research on dyslexia and know what dyslexia is. This will help you when having those conversations with family and friends.