Maybe you have not heard the word used in the title of today’s post before; maybe you have. Either way, we need to be aware that while 20% of the population DOES have dyslexia, the rest do not. What if you have discovered that your child is not where he or she ought to be when compared to his or her peers? Well, if it’s not dyslexia or another learning disability that affects the language centers of the brain, it may be that your child is struggling due to dysteachia.
I first heard the term dysteachia several years ago during a book study geared toward elementary teachers. The idea behind this term is that sometimes—and sometimes that means more often than we would like—kids struggle with language due to the teaching provided by the teacher. Maybe your child has been in a Balanced Literacy school where the three cueing idea has been promoted. Perhaps you bought a well-known curriculum and just assumed that it would “work” for your child. Whatever happened to bring you to this point, the best thing to do is a little detective work to figure out how to get your child back on track.
There is NO room for GUILT here! Guilt won’t help you find your way out of the trouble and it won’t help your child learn to read, comprehend, spell, or write any quicker. This is so important that I’m going to say it again:
There is NO room for GUILT!!!
Instead of wallowing in guilt, you are far better off using it for its intended purpose—course correction.
Have you ever been lost? Maybe you wandered off in a department store when you were young. Maybe you went hiking and lost track of the trail. Maybe you downloaded directions that weren’t right. However it came about, you were lost. What did you do?
Sometimes the best thing to do when you are lost is sit tight and wait for someone to find you. Other times it’s best to stop and ask for directions. Every now and then, you can find your way out of trouble on your own. (Doesn’t that feel great?!) The same is true for when you have discovered that for whatever reason, the teaching your child has been provided is not getting you folks to the intended destination. (Notice I went into passive voice there—no need for the blame game or guilt.)
So, sit for a bit and figure out where things went wrong. If you are not far off course, you may be able to just go back to where you veered off and get going in the right direction. If, while you are working to find your way, you get off track again, you can search the terrain for better markers. Reading about the best practices in reading instruction can help you there. If you have no idea where things went wrong, you might be better off sitting still and calling for help from someone who has made the journey can guide you. The point is, once you know better, you can do better! And that, my friends, is a great place to be!