Remember the movie ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and the dyslexic Ishaan whose plight at the hands of insensitive adults had the audience in tears? Child psychologists and psychiatrists well remember (with a shudder) in the aftermath of the movie, the tidal waves of tearful, anxious parents with underperforming kids, or kids with behavioural issues, convinced they had a dyslexic child who needed ‘special treatment’. However, the fact remains that not all scholastic or behavioural issues stem from dyslexia. Many a time, all the special treatment that a misbehaving child needs is a dose of firm discipline!

However, equally true is the plight of thousands of actually dyslexic children, who remain undiagnosed and face enormous obstacles and problems, in studies as well as in life. With a little understanding and proper help, dyslexic children can do really well—in fact usually better than their non-dyslexic peers. Given the large numbers of acknowledged dyslexics who have made it big, usually in the creative fields, it seems safe to say that dyslexia usually brings with it the gift of exceptional creativity. Witness Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, actor Tom Cruise, path-breaking cubist artist Pablo Picasso, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, US President Woodrow Wilson, British Prime Minister and Nobel laureate Winston Churchill, entertainer Walt Disney, and even bestselling mystery writer of all time, Agatha Christie, to name only a few!


Understanding Dyslexia

So, now you know ‘dyslexic’ doesn’t mean ‘inferior’. On the contrary—it just means ‘different’. People with this condition simply have brains that process signals differently from the majority of humans. This is most often manifested as difficulties in languages, social skills or spatial orientation, and is likely to be accompanied by other, related conditions such as ADHD (attention disorder), dyscalculia (problems with numbers) and dysgraphia (problems with handwriting). The good news is , a lot of work has been done the world over in dyslexia, and help is easily available to assist children with this condition to overcome their obstacles and keep up with mainstream learning patterns. 


Identifying The Dyslexic Child

The first step is diagnosis: is you r child really dyslexic, or simply seeking attention? Or perhaps undergoing a temporary problematic phase that results in changed behavior? A lot of children exhibit learning issues as toddlers, but grow out of them by the time they are 7 or 8 years old. However, if your kid’s issues persist beyond this age, and more than three symptoms in the list given here (link) manifest consistently, you need to get her tested.

Generally, kids with dyslexic tendencies have trouble grasping commands as toddlers, have very limited vocabularies and mix up names of things. As the grow up, they have difficulties with spelling and pronunciation, reading and details. They tend to mix up similar sounding words and often (though not always) experience problems in social interaction. Further along, driving can be a problem because of spatial signals getting mixed up in their minds. Time and schedule management is another problem that dyslexic kids consistently face.


Helping Your Dyslexic Kid

The first thing kids with dyslexia or any other kind of learning issues need is understanding and support from family and friends. Fitting in with the school’s learning structures and schedules is a constant, uphill struggle for them, and a persistent feeling of inferiority can really sap their self-esteem. This frequently results in pathologically shy or introverted behavior.

So, the biggest thing you can do for a dyslexic kid is build his self-esteem. A confident child responds to treatment much faster. You can read here about how to seek professional help if your kid is dyslexic. Apart from this, there are simple things you can do at home and school to make life easier for her.


Providing A Supportive Environment For Your Dyslexic Child


  1. Since dyslexia can make it hard to filter out background noise, your kid may have trouble following what the teacher is saying in a noisy classroom. Sitting near the teacher can help reduce distractions.
  2. AV books and various kinds of assistive technologies such as voice recognition software and online apps and games are a great help over learning hurdles.
  3. Help him lovingly with time management and work schedules since his mind is genuinely not equipped to deal with them.
  4. Read out loud every day—picture books for young kids, the latest trends in children’s fiction for older ones, magazines and newspaper articles for teenagers—recipes, billboards, store-discount signs and instruction manuals—just keep reading aloud, identifying what interests him, so that the kid gets over his inhibitions.
  5. Focus on effort, not outcome. Forget about scholastic results and concentrate on building your child’s confidence through empathy and constant encouragement for her efforts. Praise her smallest effort and reward her with hugs and loving gestures to keep her motivated.