The Good and the Bad of a Dyslexia Internet Search

Feb 06, 2024
Celebrities with Dyslexia

We all do the same thing when our child has a new issue.  Whether it’s something minor like lice or a big scary diagnosis, we all jump right on our computers and start learning.

So when the word DYSLEXIA entered my life, and I realized I didn’t know nearly enough about it,  I pulled out my laptop. I have grouped the info I found into 3 categories:

  1. Informational/educational (usually by a non-profit or other .org)
  2. Anger/rage at schools (usually on social media)
  3. Celebrity name-dropping (everywhere!)

 

Group 1 - Informational/educational

These sites are really solid sources of the general information you need to know. Every parent of a child with dyslexia or SLD should read these.  Unfortunately they can be a bit bland (aka boring) and the roadmaps provided for your next steps as a parent are basic. 

 

Group 2 - Social Media

As I searched for more real life experience and strategies, I turned to social media and Facebook groups.  This is where I found the rage. More than 90% of the posts on there are people at their wit’s end in dealing with the school. While I’m grateful these stressed out parents have a community to turn to for advice and support, I was just starting out and wasn’t ready to hire an advocate or “lawyer up” yet.  As an optimistic newbie in the special ed world, I found this discouraging. These sites make it appear that the only path to IEP success was feeling angry and frustrated,  making demands, and threatening litigation.  

I believe this may be a large reason that some parents shy away from dealing with the school at all.  If it seems from the internet that meetings inevitably lead to conflict with the school, and you don’t feel knowledgeable enough to make a strong case for your child, then it feels most comfortable to allow the school to proceed without your input and keep the peace with the teachers. 

 

Group 3 - Celebrity name-dropping

And the final category of online information I encountered was what I refer to as the Celebrity Name-Dropping.  Entire sections of websites and books are dedicated to letting you know all the famous and inspiring people that have dyslexia.  You’ve seen those lists: Albert Einstein. Richard Branson. Jennifer Aniston. Channing Tatum, and on and on. 

These kinds of facts can provide hope that having dyslexia doesn’t mean certain failure, but it also doesn’t provide any specific guidance on how to achieve success.  It felt a little that the internet was trying to placate me, pat me on the head and say, “See. Everything will be fine. Albert Einstein had dyslexia, so your kid will be fine too”. REALLY?  I can’t hang my hat on that.  I need help with 3rd grade!!

If you would like to watch me rant about this for a few minutes, watch this video Please stop NAME-DROPPING famous dyslexics

So here are my takeaways:

  • Explore the educational/informational/.org websites thoroughly and soak up as much as you can.  Ignore the parts with the celebrities if that annoys you like it annoyed me.
  • Go into social media expecting negativity, but if you have a very specific question to be answered it can be helpful.  
  • I might have strong emotional reactions to strange things, but please let’s never talk about Albert Einstein again, OK?












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