Is It Cheating?
One drawback of modern technology and the wide array of support materials available to your child is that it makes cheating very easy. There is no way for a teacher to know who actually composed written work presented in printed form, and as your child's sophistication with computers grows, he will soon discover the ease with which he can cut and paste text from Internet resources and reference software.
Your child should not be deprived of access to resources and technology that will enable him to learn merely because of the risk that he may misuse them. Rather, it is important that you discuss with him your own expectations about intellectual honesty, as well as legal and ethical concerns. Many children simply do not know or understand that it is wrong to copy or paraphrase material from Web sites; others simply are overwhelmed with their workload and feel they have no choice but to take shortcuts. A child with a learning disability is far more likely to be tempted to copy others' work.
You can help by continuing to supervise your child's work and being an active participant in the writing process. Offer to proofread your child's written work, both as a way of helping your child and so that you are aware of what his original work looks like and have an opportunity to see work that he is turning in.
If it appears that your child has copied passages of his work from the Internet, take the time to discuss with him the importance of putting information into his own words. Most children with dyslexia are highly creative thinkers; compliment your child whenever possible on his originality of thought and encourage him to voice his own opinions in his writing.
Keep in mind that until the time he overcomes all aspects of his reading disability, your child is at a disadvantage in comparison to his peers for reading and writing assignments. Many children with dyslexia do overcome most of their learning problems by the time they reach high school, but many others do not. Your child is as intelligent as his classmates and should be entitled to the same quality of education. For him, books on tape, videos, and study guides are necessary tools that will afford him access to the same quality of learning as children who are stronger readers. If your seventh grader receives tutoring because he reads at a third-grade level, he cannot reasonably be expected to read
As a parent, it is important for you to help your child learn to strike an appropriate balance between reading on his own and using technology and available media to supplement his learning. Make clear to your child that you expect him to be honest about letting you and his teachers know when he has relied on supportive material. Keep in mind that reliance on such support will help your child develop a more advanced vocabulary and thinking skills that will, in turn, allow him to develop into a better reader. Scientific research shows that individuals with dyslexia rely heavily on the thinking and problem-solving frontal areas of their brains for reading; these areas will be developed as your child is exposed to advanced literature and concepts through other means.