Is the “dyslexic” label harmful? Some parents and educators are hesitant to use the term “dyslexic” or dyslexia with a child. This is sometimes even true if the child is enrolled in a dyslexia tutoring and dyslexia treatment program. So, why is it that so many people are hesitant to use this term?
Parents sometimes fear that by “labeling” their child, the label will become bigger than the child. They fear that this label will suddenly become the predominant feature in their child’s life, and that it will draw attention away from the child’s intelligence, talents and abilities. For this reason, parents sometimes ask dyslexia tutors not to use the term dyslexic, or the word dyslexia with their children. Parents may also fear that a child will become unmotivated in school and in life, and feel that goals and dreams are pointless, because they have a “disability”. There are also concerns about bullying, and that a dyslexic child will be taunted for being dyslexic. Are there merits to these concerns?
In fact, the advantages and benefits of using the term “dyslexia” and “dyslexic” when appropriate, far outweigh any possible negatives. First of all, we must consider the advantage of using accurate language. If a child is, in fact, “dyslexic”, using the proper term for the struggles that they are experiencing is going to greatly clarify the situation and help to properly address it. Regarding the question of a child losing motivation after learning that they are dyslexic, we have actually found that the opposite is true. Once a child understands why they are struggling, and that their struggles can be effectively addressed by dyslexia tutoring or treatment, they become much more motivated! The dyslexic child realizes that they can can still pursue and achieve their dreams and goals. Instead of being frustrated and confused about why they struggle, they suddenly see a clear path to making things better. A good dyslexia tutor is usually very skilled at explaining dyslexia to a child. Regarding bullying, it is an unfortunate fact that children may be bullied for any number of reasons, even if they are not dyslexic. For a dyslexic child, dyslexia tutoring and dyslexia treatment can help boost their self-esteem and confidence to a point that taunts and negative comments are not going to matter much.
Additionally, by correctly labeling dyslexia when you see it, you will open up a world of resources that would not be available otherwise. There are dyslexia tutoring and treatment programs, excellent books about dyslexia, dyslexia suppport groups and organizations, and more.
In conclusion, using the term “dyslexia” or “dyslexic” when appropriate is beneficial.
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