Parent Perspectives

“My son was bright and articulate, but he just wasn’t reading. When we would read together at night he would just be relaying the words he had memorized at school. He couldn’t even read the word ‘and’. Like many other children, he just didn’t get it.

At school he was told he was naughty and that he wasn’t trying hard enough. I noticed his extreme marks – 98 percent for listening, 30 percent for writing.”
Lorna Timms
DFNZ Trustee and mother of a dyslexic child

“We thought something was wrong for a long time but we couldn’t put our finger on it. We mentioned our concerns to the school but because our child was coping the school didn’t see any reason to suspect any issues. It made us feel powerless. We felt like we were sticking our noses in and we very nearly gave up. We wanted our child to reach their potential not battle and hide their difficulties.”
Parent feedback from the
Kip McGrath Education Centre



“When the label is discovered or given, it can be a liberating experience for parents. Dyslexia gives parents something to work with, the ability to move forward. There is also a great sense of relief from finally having some certainty, and from knowing that my child is not lazy, dumb or slow, or any of the other misconceptions that can surround learning difference.

Discovering dyslexia begins a process of letting go of expectations around how your child learns – or in our case about how two of our four children would learn. It also means letting go of expectations on how they relate to their environment and what are considered ‘normal’ childhood milestones. You also have to put aside your natural parental inclination to want to cure or fix the problem. Dyslexia is for life, so time does not fix it. But it can be accommodated and positively addressed, nurturing the creative strengths that come through seeing things differently and having a unique big picture perspective. Ultimately it’s about seeing dyslexia as an alternative way of thinking, something simple, empowering and valuable.

As our family went through this process, my wife began to realise that she had had similar experiences when younger, so for her this also became a process of self-awareness and understanding. Once this readjustment process was complete we able to move forward to support our children.

Dyslexia does impact the whole family, and parents and siblings all need to foster a family culture of celebrating difference, looking for the positives and encouraging strengths. This is the starting point from which great progress can be made, eliminating stress, frustrations, expectations and parental guilt (apart from the normal levels of course!).

If the child is older and has “negative emotional stuff” as a result of school experiences this has to be the number one priority to resolve. Once this is underway, the child’s natural motivation and love of learning will have the opportunity to emerge. The education system is often a disabling agent for dyslexic children, so it is important to make sure the child’s school becomes part of the solution. The Dyslexia Foundation’s 4D programme for schools, which provides access to a national and international framework of advice expertise, and learning tools is a fantastic resource for schools. You can read more about 4D at

For parents, I think the ultimate goal is to create an environment both at home and in school where your child can go beyond any difficulties they have and be comfortable asking for the assistive technologies and accommodations that may be required to reach their full potential.”
Guy Pope-Mayell
DFNZ Chair of Trustees and father of two dyslexic children

“Often a child’s dyslexia is not so obvious; it only affects some areas of learning and only emerges as a result of the child being given challenges and responsibilities. In my experience, I have found dealing with this type of dyslexia very challenging.

I first began to notice imbalances in my daughter’s learning achievements and the dropping of her self-esteem. My daughter was struggling with her schoolwork but only showed the emotional destruction and sheer exhaustion of it all at home.

I found it hard drawing my daughter’s learning difficulties to the attention of her teachers. I didn’t want to make a fuss, especially as she appeared to be doing ”OK”; but I was torn by the emotion of my child at home and her slipping self-esteem.


I was also confused about how dyslexia affected my daughter and how I could express this to her teachers, especially when more than one teacher taught her during the day.

It was difficult, knowing how hard she was working at school to stay on top and not letting cracks show, and knowing she had such huge potential but was not getting the support she needed.”
Debbie Hicks
Mother of a dyslexic child


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