Should Parents Feel Guilty For Passing On Learning Difficulties To Their Children?

In a recent post, I wrote about my daughter, Jess and her journey with Dyslexia.

After Jess has a dyslexia test and was diagnosed, I read through her report, a checklist of dyslexia symptoms, and I remember being curious about how some of the aspects of Dyslexia Jess was experiencing, were similar to what I had observed about myself and gave an insight into some of the struggles that I had at school.  In some cases Dyslexia is thought to be a genetic trait handed down through generations.

Am I dyslexic?  Well I haven't had a test so I don't really know. But had the resources been available when I was a child and I knew either way and then perhaps knew that it could be genetic.  Could I have saved my daughter a tonne of difficulty at school, by getting intervention for her sooner?

In a recent article in the Daily Mail, it talks about the guilt of a Cambridge graduate and mother of three kids.  One of her children has been diagnosed with severe Dyslexia.  Interestingly, no one else in the family has Dyslexia but the mother has Dyscalculia (number based Dyslexia).  She talks about how guilty she has felt about not getting intervention sooner for her son as his progress has been so poor before diagnosis.  She didn't get a diagnosis for Dyscalculia until quite late in life.

Is it right that she feels guilty?  Should I feel guilty about not having got an assessment which might have lead to an earlier intervention for Jess?

It is an interesting question, but my answer is wholeheartedly "No!".

How were we to know when the awareness of Dyslexia and Dyscalculia was so misunderstood some 20 to 30 years ago.  It is better now, but there is so much more to be done and charities like Dyslexia Action and the British Dyslexia Association are really leading the way in raising awareness.

Schools have more information these days but even as recently as over the past six or seven years, my daughter's Dyslexia wasn't picked up through KS2 or KS3.  She was performing, if only at a pass level.  The teachers didn't have the resources and information to do anything about it until we got our daughter assessed.  That assessment changed her life and she got fantastic performance results in her GCSE exams.

Some schools now screen all their year seven pupils for Dyslexia.  This makes great sense and reduces the stress that un-diagnosed students experience on a daily basis.

What are your thoughts?