The holiday season is here! The end of November through the beginning of January has always signified to me family and traditions. My sisters, their families, my parents, and I still gather together and continue the traditions of our childhood – a traditional Scandinavian Christmas Eve, family read alouds (The Littlest Angel and The Polar Express), Christmas goodies, and game nights. These traditions are part of the makeup of our family; it is part of who we are.
We are also a dyslexic family; dyslexia is a piece our family identity. One of my parents and one of my sisters have dyslexia – they were diagnosed at the same time. Frankly, I don’t remember a time when we weren’t dyslexic family and like most kids, just assimilated this as this is just a part of our everyday life. I know IEP meetings, tutors, and daily frustrations were apart of our growing up but, as a sibling, I don’t have a single standout memory – it just was and I never gave it much thought. Without out a doubt, the immediate impact was much greater on our parents and grandparents.
Recently, one of our younger family members was diagnosed with diabetes and overnight the family dynamic changed. We are now a dyslexic, ADHD, and diabetic family. This new diagnosis touches all of us to varying degrees. It means as grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and cousins will we all be affected in way or another – from multiple blood checks/shots a day to making sure someone has the “go bag” wherever we go. This diabetes diagnosis has forever changed our family.
While contemplating our new family dynamic, I realized how life altering a dyslexia diagnosis can be for many families. In the beginning, the entire family is making significant adjustments and it may feel like your family is an island unto itself. Your family is not alone!
Below I’ve included links to a few articles and a research paper outlining how a dyslexia diagnosis affects the family and ways families are coping.
How Families Cope with Their Dyslexic Child – Gayle Zieman, Ph.D.
Living with Dyslexia – Dyslexia Help – University of Michigan
Social and Emotional Problems Related to Dyslexia – Michael Ryan, M.D.
The Experience of Parenting a Child with Dyslexia: An Australian perspective – Journal of Student Engagement: Education Matters, University of Wollongong Australia; Volume 7, Issue 1