Dyslexia 101: What Every Parent, Teacher and Dyslexic Needs to Know

A young girl rests her head and hands flat on a white table, while small wooden letters spell out the word dyslexia with a backwards e. Everyone diagnosed with dyslexia needs to educate themselves about the condition - this is dyslexia 101
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I like to imagine a short course called Dyslexia 101 that covers the basics of dyslexia. Ideally, every person diagnosed with dyslexia (and their family members and teachers) would take this course right after diagnosis. It would help them learn to navigate, manage, and work with/around their own particular dyslexia symptoms. Most people with dyslexia do learn the basics at some point—either through research and self-education or maybe through years of personal experience.

Dyslexia has been a part of my life from birth, although it wasn’t noticeable until I started school. For most of my life I was bemused and perplexed by my dyslexia, as were my teachers. I didn’t understand why I struggled with so many different things, not just reading, but writing, numbers, sequencing, and more. I felt ashamed and had very unrealistic expectations of what I could and could not do.

This internal conflict stayed with me for most of my adult life and even when I succeeded or excelled in certain endeavors, it seemed more of a fluke. I never really felt like success was deserved. Little did I know that my story, filled with inner conflict and struggle, was not unique to me and that I share it with literally hundreds of thousands of other people with dyslexia.

A closeup of a dictionary page with the word and definition of dyslexia highlighted. Everyone diagnosed with dyslexia needs to educate themselves about the condition - this is dyslexia 101

My perception and understanding of dyslexia, and in turn, of myself—my personal Dyslexia 101 class—took a dramatic leap forward a few years back when I discovered the Rawson Saunders school in my area that caters specifically to dyslexic students. The school was hosting a special screening of The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia and I was invited. My world shifted profoundly as I recognized myself in the experiences of others for the very first time. Thus began my personal journey to understanding of what dyslexia is and is not. Since then I have written many articles about dyslexia and have done numerous presentations for parents and educators about the condition. For Dyslexia Awareness month I offer a concise shortlist of dyslexia articles I’ve written—a launching pad for your own version of Dyslexia 101.

For anyone reading this blog, I would like to hear about your journey, either with dyslexia or in working with someone with dyslexia.

The cover of my picture book The Higgledy-Piggledy Pigeon by Don M. Winn. This story is about a carrier pigeon with dyslexia who discovers he has no sense of direction but that with the right tools and help, he can succeed. Everyone diagnosed with dyslexia needs to educate themselves about the condition - this is dyslexia 101

Also check out my dyslexia-inspired picture book, The Higgledy-Piggledy Pigeon. It’s the story of a carrier pigeon named Hank who starts flight school full of hope, but soon learns he has a terrible sense of direction due to dyslexia. Hank’s caring teacher patiently encourages him and helps him learn to compensate for his learning difference and this has a tremendous impact on his life.

View The Higgledy-Piggledy Pigeon video.

A few illustrations and learning points from my picture book The Higgledy-PIggledy Pigeon by Don M. Winn. This story is about a carrier pigeon with dyslexia who discovers he has no sense of direction but that with the right tools and help, he can succeed. Everyone diagnosed with dyslexia needs to educate themselves about the condition - this is dyslexia 101

For a thorough discussion of the social and emotional support children with dyslexia require, read my award-winning book, Raising a Child with Dyslexia: What Every Parent Needs to Know, available in softcover, hardcover, eBook, and audio.

Cardboard Box Adventures picture books are great for shared reading and can help parents establish a strong preliteracy foundation for their children. Check out the CBA Catalog for a full list of award-winning picture books, chapter books, and resources for parents and educators. Visit my Don M. Winn Amazon author page for more information.