Confidence Building

Confidence Building

“I’m no good at reading”

“I’m in the special group at school”

I’m just stupid – everyone is smarter than me”

These are just some of the comments my daughter makes on a relatively frequent basis and she is only 7.

Officially a formal assessment for learning differences is not recommended until children are 7, but the reality is that many children who will eventually be diagnosed with learning difficulties, can sense they are different a couple of years before this.

Since my daughter was in year 1, she was aware that she could not read or write as well as many of her peers and friends. On moving to year 2, she was acutely aware of the fact that she had been put into what she felt was a special group for “stupid kids”. I’m not qualified to fully understand how her brain interpreted this, but it is very clear to me that her confidence is taking a real battering as a result. Its heart breaking to hear to talk about it and it is heart breaking to observe.

Finding opportunities to boost her confidence has become so important to me now.

My daughter fortunately is quite a fast runner and loves to sing. In parents meetings, I talked with the school about finding opportunities for her to shine. At Christmas she was given the opportunity to sing quite a complicated solo at the Christmas play which she did in front of the whole school, parents and teachers. She practiced really hard, memorised 5 verses of the song and performed beautifully. She was so proud of her achievement and was even prouder when parents came up to congratulate her. She was on an absolute high.

On reflecting on the event afterwards with my daughter, we made a real point of highlighting that not many kids would have been able to do what she did. Just as she can stand and sing in front of many where others struggle, others can read easily whilst she struggles.

We do not have these opportunities often but when we do, we take full advantage as the positive effect of this huge boost in confidence carries her for many days. For a little while she believes she can achieve anything – and of course, she can.

If you read only ONE book…

If you read only ONE book…

If there is only one book to read on dyslexia, its this one. Its amazing!

I read this book on holiday shortly after my daughter was diagnosed and it literally changed everything for me.

It breaks down the traditional view that “dyslexia is simply a reading impairment” but goes on to explain that its “a different pattern of brain organisation and information processing that creates strengths as well as challenges”.

I understand with greater clarity all of my daughter’s challenges that simply baffled me previously – her quick understanding of concepts but even quicker ability to forget them, her ability to read a word correctly at the start of a page and not recognize it at all at the bottom of a page, her struggles with writing and the disparity between her spoken word and comprehension and her reading, to mention a few. This book explains them all!

The book gives a very honest and truthful account of the challenges and realities of dyslexia which can seem daunting, especially as there are chapters on every stage of life from early education right through to dealing with dyslexia as an adult (just proving that this is a lifelong thing). For every stage though, there are practical tips, tools and ideas on how to provide support.

What is most encouraging though is the underlying positive message – that the dyslexic brain has many many advantages. It explains that there are four areas of dyslexic reasoning: Material; Interconnected; Narrative and Dynamic, MIND, that enables dyslexics to excel in various fields to amazing effect. It encourages you to observe and identify these strengths early and to support them.

I love that the back of the book has this caption: “What links Winston Churchill, Alan Sugar, Richard Branson, Keira Knightley, Jamie Oliver, David Bailey, Will Smith and countless other high achievers in a huge range of fields?”

Having read the book I understand better what dyslexia is and I appreciate that it will be a challenging journey. What I was not expecting to feel after reading the book is excitement. I am encouraged that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I’m excited about the possibility that if I can just see beyond the bad spelling and handwriting, that I may indeed spot an emerging talent waiting to break free.

How amazing is that?

If you’ve not read this book – run out and get it. You will read it and may even feel a tad jealous that you are not dyslexic!