Explaining Dyslexia: What Not to Say

Don’t explain dyslexia to your child in a way that makes your child feel broken.  Some teachers belittle children with reading difficulty and try to blame the child.  One parent said her child was too terrified to try anything in case he got it wrong. This is horrible.  Kids with reading difficulty or dyslexia often grow up thinking they are stupid.  I’ve had kids and parents cry in my office as they discuss their experiences.  One parent told me dyslexia ran in her family and her siblings all grew up thinking they were stupid.

As a parent yourself, you can give your child understanding and by explaining dyslexia in a way it makes sense.  When explaining dyslexia: What not to say is just as important as what to say.

Avoid statements such as:
You have a short circuit in your brain.
You are reading disabled.
You have a wiring problem in your brain.
Your brain is wired wrong.
Just like your dad, you’ll never be good at reading.
We found out what’s wrong with you.


It’s better to explain dyslexia by making statements such as:
You have the same things going on that her daddy had as a kid.
You have dyslexia and it’s ok to have dyslexia.  It just means you need to learn to read differently.
You have reading difficulty and it is nothing to be ashamed of; 1 out of 5 kids struggle with reading.

Kids are perceptive. They know when they are having difficulty so don’t be afraid to explain dyslexia to your child. It’s even ok to use the word dyslexia.  For a lot of kids it brings a sense of relief.

Tell your child about his  or her dyslexia; you will be surprised. I recommend the children’s book Terrific Teddy and the b-d Mix Up.