Dealing with Dyslexia

A friend’s child has been struggling some with reading, and I thought I’d ask you lovely people for some input. Part of me has wanted to suggest it might be due to dyslexia, but I’m a total babe in the woods when it comes to that. I’ve done some research on the internet, sure, but I’ve never talked to anyone who’s had it (or at least, not that I know of), and I don’t know the first thing about it, really. So I wondered if any of you have experience with it, and if you could answer a few questions. (And a disclaimer: I might ask something that’s unintentionally offensive. I know this is a somewhat sensitive subject, and I know it can be much easier to put your foot in your mouth when dealing with things like disabilities. I don’t mean to be offensive or say anything mean or stupid. I just have some honest questions and want to get to the answers as easily as possible. Thanks in advance for your understanding.)

First, does being “diagnosed” with it even help? I mean, is there some different approach teachers suddenly can take with their students if they know one of them has dyslexia? Part of me wonders if having that label applied to a student can cause more problems than it solves. Could it be easier for the student to give himself or herself a mental “pass” when it comes to doing assignments? “I’m struggling with this, because I’m dyslexic, so I might as well not try.” Does that happen with diagnoses?

Second, how do people who have it typically deal with it? Is it a matter of learning different coping techniques or different approaches to reading in general? Do you just need to give yourself more time to read? Is it a lifelong problem that you’ll always deal with? How big of an impact does it really have on your ability to read and process information? How big of a disability is it?

Again, I know many of these questions have answers online, but there’s a difference between reading accounts of strangers and hearing from people with first or secondhand experience. Are there things about dyslexia that people don’t think about, or that you wish people would keep in mind?

I’m into all things reading and writing, and I would like to know how better to help people who have to deal with dyslexia. My hope is the best way to fix my ignorance is by asking people who know better what it’s like to deal with this, specifically how it’s handled in schools. Thanks in advance!

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