At this time of the school year, we’re usually attending parent/teacher conferences and talking about how our kids are doing in school. Now that a lot of us are spending more time at home with our children we might be noticing where they’re struggling behaviorally or in different areas of learning.
My oldest daughter is dyslexic. She isn’t shy about it, and she proudly explains it as a part of who she is and has given me permission to share a part of her story. We recorded this video to answer some frequent questions she gets about dyslexia and shares some thoughts that may be encouraging to others going through it.
When others read some of our story, or notice when one of us mentions it in passing, a question we often get next is “how did you find out?”
A new Understood/YouGov survey* of more than 2,000 parents of 5 to 17-year-olds found that 69% have become more aware of the challenges their child faces in school than before the pandemic.
As parents we all want the best for our kids. As much as I say how important it is that I don’t compare my kids to one another, or others, I think it’s natural to notice differences. I’m not around other two, seven and 10 year olds all day so I’m not sure what’s considered “typical”, different, or what I like to call “quirky.”
So where do you turn to learn the difference? Google can be overwhelming and sometimes it’s hard to tell on our own when we’re so close to the situation.
One resource that’s helped me navigate this journey is Understood.org. Their mission is shaping the world for difference.™One in 5 people in the U.S. have learning and thinking differences such as dyslexia and ADHD. Understood recently launched the Take N.O.T.E. initiative with easy to follow steps to help you discover if your child might have a learning or thinking difference.
So walking through this with my daughter we sort of went out of order but here’s how I’d do it now and how you can go through the Take N.O.T.E. steps with your child.
Notice she’s struggling with reading, seems to be memorizing her books instead of sounding words out. I’m aware that’s what she’s doing but I know that alone doesn’t mean she has a learning difference. But being aware and noticing something might be amiss is the first step.
Keep an eye out for the behavior. Understood has a free observation tracker form where you can jot down things as you notice them. I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten to mention something at the pediatrician because I didn’t jot it down.
I spoke with my oldests’ various teachers and tutors to see if they noticed the same things I did. Her reading tutor and piano teacher actually both noticed similar challenges that I did. I also spoke with my daughter about it too. For a while I thought it was an effort issue but I soon realized her challenges were not for lack of effort.
This is where you might bring in your child’s pediatrician or other experts to share what you’ve found and seek out additional diagnosis or help. That alone can sound daunting. Honestly it’s one of the reasons I delayed it so long with my daughter. I feared I was overreacting or just not doing enough practice with her at home. But once I engaged with professionals I soon realized my suspicions were spot on.
Understood.org has so many resources to help you through each and every one of these steps. From observation tools, to video examples of how to talk and engage with professionals using the information you’ve gathered.
You don’t have to figure this out on your own. This website has been a great resource for me and I wish I’d had these steps when I was first discovering my daughter’s dyslexia. I’m so glad it’s available now to help me, and others. Check out Understood.org to learn more about TAKE N.O.T.E, and for more helpful articles to help navigate learning and thinking differences.
YouGov, on behalf of Understood, conducted an online survey among parents of children ages 5–17 (referred to throughout as “parents”) in the U.S. A total of 2,049 parents were surveyed. For the purposes of this survey, parents of “typical” children are defined as those whose children have not exhibited signs of learning differences or have not been diagnosed with a learning difference. This is in contrast to parents of children who are symptomatic or have been diagnosed with a learning disability or ADHD. The survey was conducted between July 22 and August 3, 2020.