When Stella was first diagnosed with dyslexia, her dad and I were devastated. We were so worried that Stella was now labeled with a disability. We were not sure how to process this, and we weren't sure how to explain it to people or Stella. Should we tell people that Stella has dyslexia? Should we tell Stella? Do we want her to be labeled? What is the right answer? The answer I tell now to all of my parents is to wave the flag loud and proud.
There are countless famous people with dyslexia. Tell your kids who they are!
When we sent Stella for an interview at The Stephen Gaynor School, we foolishly didn't tell her yet that she has dyslexia. When she got home from the interview, the first thing she asked was if she has dyslexia, because all of the kids at the school did. I answered yes! We talked about how smart her brain was, and all of the famous people that have dyslexia. She was so incredibly relieved to get an answer for why she had trouble reading and spelling. She said, "Ok then, what's the plan to help me?" And we had a plan! Send her to Stephen Gaynor School where she would receive multi-sensory academic remediation. Stella became empowered by the knowledge of her learning difference. She told everyone. When she can't spell a word, or can't decode a text, she knows why. She also knows to ask for help and to advocate for herself. She knows how intelligent she is, and that she has many special gifts. Dyslexia doesn't define her, but it is part of who she is. It is what makes her Stella and unique.
So parents. please empower your children to seek help and support when they need it, and to never be ashamed of their abilities and limitations. LET THE FLAG FLY!