My 9 year old son is red-headed, charming, highly intelligent, loves dinosaurs, and is also severely dyslexic.
Dyslexia is just one part of the whole of him, as simple as having green eyes. Yet, so much more complex.
He's at the age where he hates it. He wishes it would go away or, as he often tells me, that reading was never invented. Either would be just fine with him. He doesn't like to talk about it. And with that, insecure thoughts sometimes creep in such as "can I really be smart if reading is so difficult?"
As mothers do, I've read all of the books like The Dyslexic Advantage
or the Dyslexia Empowerment Plan
, and I'm all in! I know dyslexia comes with wonderful gifts, and I see them in him every day. I know, with all of my being, he is going to be anything he sets his mind to! Yet, try as I might to tell him he is smart or to show him a successful person with dyslexia, the most I usually get is a side glance and an eye roll.
Until last week ....
We went to the movies and a pre-view for Jurassic World
pops on. Did I mention he loves dinosaurs? It's more than
loves, it's actually a bit of an obsession. So, as he excitedly watches this preview, I debate in my mind - should I tell him or not?
I take a deep breath, decided "what the heck" and go for it ...
"Did you know that both the man who directed the original Jurassic Park
movie, Steven Spielberg
, and also Jack Horner,
one of the world's leading dinosaur experts, are dyslexic?"
I leaned back and waited for the typical "brush off" to happen. But it didn't.
Instead, his eyes lit up! "What? Really?"
Oh yes, son, really.
I watched as a HUGE SMILE spread across his face! Bingo!
And I knew all would be okay. He finally is starting to realize HE is okay.
That's why it's so important that celebrities or other successful people speak out. Not because we parents think dyslexia means our kids have some kind of famous-gene to go along with their reading struggles. We know they don't.
But when you are the kid who doesn't get the "best speller" award or the "fastest reader" award, you often feel like all of your other dreams are not attainable. In 3rd grade, it can feel like you stink at everything and will never make it.
But when your hero comes out and says "I struggled too." Well, then you know that just like every other kid, YOU can also be anything you set your mind to. Your path may look a bit different, but it's attainable none the less.
You, too, can dream bigger than dinosaurs.
If you need advice on speaking to your child about dyslexia, Learning Ally's parent support specialists
can help. Give them a call at 800.635.1403
or log onto your membership dashboard.
Editors Note about Jurassic World:
While my son did enjoy the short preview of this movie, please keep in mind this movie is rated PG-13. Use your own personal discretion.
is the social media community leader at Learning Ally
. She's also the parent of two children who have dyslexia, and one of the founding members of Decoding Dyslexia-TN. She spent 12 years as a broadcast meteorologist before changing career paths to raise awareness for dyslexia and other learning differences.