In this post we’ll discuss two especially interesting findings from the recent “Fixing Weaknesses versus Discovering and Building Strengths” survey relating to parents.
Dyslexic Parents View Sources Of Success Differently For Themselves And Others
As a reminder, in our Adult Survey we asked 285 dyslexic individuals: “How much of your success in school or work do you think is due to having Fixed your dyslexic challenges (reading, spelling, etc.) versus discovering and developing your Strengths?”
–What they said was: 29.9% fixing, 70.1% strengths
In the Parent Survey, the question was slightly different. We asked parents of dyslexic children for their opinion on how much of the success of a ‘typical dyslexic person’ was likely due to fixing challenges versus developing strengths. In that context, when we looked at the responses of the 265 parents of dyslexic children who also identified themselves as dyslexic adults, we got a rather different answer:
–Dyslexic parents of dyslexic children: 36.4% fixing, 63.6% strengths
Dyslexic parents actually responded to this question in a manner fairly similar to non-dyslexic parents of dyslexic children:
–Non-dyslexic parents of dyslexic children: 37.9% fixing, 62.1% strengths.
Why this difference? Is it really because dyslexic adults differ in what they believe has led to their own success versus what they believe leads to success in other dyslexic people? Or is there something about the context of being asked to approach this question from the context of a Parent Survey that created the change? In other words, did putting on their ‘parent hat’ make them think about fixing/strengths more like ‘parents’ in general than ‘dyslexic adults’?
We don’t have enough information to answer this question either way. However, whatever the answer is, the difference is large enough that it is important for dyslexic parents and employers to keep in mind when thinking about how they help their children and employees (and students for dyslexic teachers) achieve success. We’d welcome any thoughts from our dyslexic readers.
Impact of Child Age On Parent Attitudes Toward Success
The other interesting finding from the Parent Survey was the difference we observed in the answers depending upon the age of the dyslexic child. This is how the parents attributed the importance of fixing/strengths for the ‘typical dyslexic person’:
–Parents of dyslexic children under age 12: 39.0/61.0
–Parents of dyslexic children aged 13-18: 35.8/64.2
–Parents of dyslexic children over age 18: 33.8/66.2
Remember, these parents weren’t answering about the importance of these factors for their own child, but for the ‘typical dyslexic person’.
So, what does it mean that parents place increasing importance on strengths as their children get older? Here are three possibilities:
- At earlier ages, because their own children are likely to be engaged in more ‘fixing’ efforts, fixing is more prominent in their mind
- As their children age they lose a bit of confidence in ‘fixing’ efforts and strengths become relatively more important
- As both they and their children age they develop a general belief that strengths are more strongly connected with success than fixing weaknesses
There are likely other possibilities, as well. If you have any thoughts, we invite you to share them.