Dyslexia and Waldorf


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There are so many things to love about a Waldorf education but there’s also many things to question.  Although many parents aren’t comfortable with waiting to teach children to read until the first grade, I have always embraced this idea.  I have loved that my children spent their Kindergarten year learning to bake bread, make soup, do beautiful handwork, paint, and have an abundant amount of time to play outdoors…Waiting to learn how to read in the first grade was perfect to me.  And for most kids at our school, this is perfect for them too.

The problem is when you have a child with dyslexia.  Dyslexia and Waldorf sometimes works…and sometimes doesn’t.

My daughter, who is now in the 5th grade has always loved books from the time that she was a toddler.  She would spend hours going thru stacks of books–first looking at the pictures, then beginning to read a little, and then pretending to read a little.  Sadly though, at the end the end of 3rd grade, she still was reading at a beginning level.  She was still reversing some letters (both in reading and writing) and so we suspected that she was dyslexic.

We of course discussed this with her teacher who was very supportive and proactive.  We committed to movement therapy (therapeutic eurythmy and other cross lateral movement programs) that hard science has proven opens neural pathways for learning.  We obsessively read to and with our daughter every…single…night.

One day that summer (of the 3rd grade going into 4th) like magic something “clicked” and my daughter suddenly began to read fluently.  She literally started attacking books voraciously, reading series after series.  In 3rd grade she was struggling with “fairy” books and in 4th grade she was reading the entire Harry Potter series.  We would literally have to tell her to stop reading and go to bed.  (although there were many nights when she would take a light and read under her covers)

So for my daughter, (she’s now been formally diagnosed) dyslexia and Waldorf worked.  She was able to learn at her own pace and discover her own way of reading.  She never felt “different” from the other kids (thank goodness for no testing at Waldorf!) and always maintained her self esteem.  And, the most important thing of all?  She has kept her childhood love of books alive.  As much as she loves other things like playing violin, I have to say that my daughter loves reading more than anything.  I truly credit Waldorf for preserving that.

There are other challenges with dyslexia that she’ll need tutoring support in–like spelling–but we’ll start that as we need to.  We feel good at where our daughter is academically now…

For others though, dyslexia and Waldorf doesn’t work well.

As the fate would have it, my son has also been recently diagnosed with dyslexia.  His school journey has not been the same however and I am doing all that I can to help preserve his love of reading because he too loved books as a child.  I’ll save my son’s story for another time…

So that’s my daughter’s story of dyslexia and Waldorf.  If anyone else has a story or advice to share from their experience with dyslexia and Waldorf,  I’d love to hear from you either in the comments section of via email…

P.S.  Did you know that Steve Jobs (Apple), Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso and many others were dyslexic?


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  1. how wonderful that she is doing so well now. Thank you for sharing your sweet blog at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop. Your participation helps to make it extra special ♥
    Katherines Corner recently posted..Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop 140My Profile

    • Dearest Katherine,
      Thank you for your kind words…My daughter and son’s journey with dyslexia has been so big in my life lately. I am so appreciative of thoughtful friends like you. Much aloha, Lori

  2. This is very inspirational and a message that is really needed. Thanks for sharing on the Thursday blog hop!
    Pam recently posted..When I Matter, TOSS then SHOP!….Plus the Thursday Blog Hop!My Profile

    • Hi Pam,
      There’s so many things to share, aren’t there? I really love your “I Matter” series too. Thanks so much and aloha, Lori

  3. I also have dyslexia/dysgraphia.. and I am a great reader… my area of weakness is actually dysgraphia and it is killer for spelling and writing. I am glad that your daughter was able to jump into reading.. I did the very same thing seemed like buy sixth grade I could read just about anything. Writing on the other hand is still troublesome but typing has really helped over the years. For some reason the words just flow better when I type. Took me years to get good at typing but as you know I now blog and write for fun? Who knew? As for Boys the statistic say that your son will have a harder time no matter what system of education you use. They suffer from Dyslexia and the transversals much more then girls. I spent my education with lots of boys who never really ever learned to read well. They were able to take tests orally and talked about what they learned instead of reading and writing. A friend of mine still uses books on tape when he needs to learn something new. He is a electrical contractor with a successful business but realized that maybe college was not for him. He liked working with his hands and focused on what he could do not what he couldn’t. I am sure that with your support that they will both do fine once they both get through the tough younger years. I have several posts on my blog about my form of dyslexia if you are interested… go to my blog and look up either Dyslexia or Dysgraphia. big hugs for your family it can be a very emotional ride with kids who learn differently.

    • Hi Jolynn,
      How wonderful to hear from you and I’m so grateful for your words of encouragement. Not having dyslexic myself but having 2 kids with dyslexia, it was so good to hear about your personal experience. Yes, I follow your blog but will look up your posts on dyslexia and dysgraphia. Many, many thanks and aloha, Lori

  4. Tania velasco says:

    Thanks for this I’m researching about Waldorf and learning disabilities . My son goes to Waldorf in New Orleans and he just got tested. He has symptoms of dyslexia . So I wanted to know if Waldorf could support his needs. Informative thank you for sharing

    • Hi Tania,
      So nice to hear from you…At our Waldorf school, dyslexic kids can be pulled out of certain classes (e.g. home room, handwork, etc) to work with a tutor. It’s nice that they can get support during the regular school day, but we have to pay for tutoring–which is expensive! Does your Waldorf school provide tutoring? I’d be interested to know what happens to dyslexic kids in your school. Please let me know when you get a chance…

      Thanks so much Tania and all my best to you and your son. A dear friend just gave me the book, “The Gift of Dyslexia”. I just started reading it, but already it’s so inspirational and encouraging…

      Much aloha,

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