Everyone has an inner superpower! It’s that thing you do so easily and so well that you don’t even think of it as a talent or a skill that someone else can’t do. It is innately part of you and you would have a tough time defining yourself or imagining life without it.
For some, their superpower is an obvious talent such as dancing, sports or art, but for others, it may be more subtle. For example, you may be particularly charismatic, or funny or a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about a particular subject. Whatever it is, it is your strength and your gift to the world.
Dyslexic children often find it more challenging to discover their superpower because it gets lost in the struggle of learning to read. They find themselves so overwhelmed by the challenge of trying to read that they forget that they are also blessed with gifts. Ironically, their dyslexic brain is generally the reason that they have this gift. Dyslexics tend to be particularly blessed with creative or athletic abilities and/or big ideas. However, it’s often later in life that they are able to recognize and celebrate their gifts.
As the parent of a struggling student, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the need to support your child’s weaknesses, and there is a tendency to forget to equally support their strengths. Afternoons that would normally be filled with playdates, athletics or singing lessons become consumed by homework and tutoring sessions. It’s no surprise that our children become completely overwhelmed themselves by the struggle of it all. They already have to work ten times harder than the typical learner, but the end of the school day is never the end of the work day for them. Homework that takes a typical learner an hour to complete, takes them at least two, if not three — and even then, it’s filled with frustration and confusion. It’s rare that all that effort put forth is rewarded with a good grade or a even a pat on the back, so it’s no wonder that many get frustrated to the point of giving up.
So what can WE do as parents if we want to help our children recognize their inner superpower before the struggle overwhelms their spirit? First, get your child the support he or she needs as early as possible, but most importantly, make sure their world is not all about supporting their weaknesses — tutoring, summer school and after-school help. Balance is essential if you want them to stay engaged and invested in the process. Make every effort to identify what gets them excited and energized! Everyone has at least one thing that gets them pumped to get out of bed in the morning. Create space for your dyslexic child to not only explore their passion, but also invest in it. Put as much energy into nurturing their superpower as you do their weakness. If you do, you will probably be surprised to find that your child discovers the inner strength needed to conquer their weaknesses as they are able to appreciate that they are capable of doing great things.
As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing worth having comes easy.” Even though your child may have to work twice as hard as the typical learner, the lessons he will learn by virtue of hard work will provide him with essential tools for success in life. However, without support, encouragement and awareness of strength, he may never develop the self-confidence needed to strive towards his potential.
Very few can develop a healthy self-esteem in the absence of accomplishment. So, even though reading support is an essential for these little darlings, losing sight of the big picture and your child’s gift may cause their little light to dim… or worse extinguish. Give them the gift of your support and love while nurturing their inner spirit and discovering their inner superpower. The day they become their own superhero is the day the door to endless possibilities will open.