Last week I wrote about all the different signs that a child may have Dyslexia. Today, I want to talk about what you as parents and teachers can do to help.
To recap, Dyslexia involves difficulties making connections between letters, and the sounds that they make. A few characteristics include: impairments in attention and short-term memory, lack of growth in reading levels, reading difficulties (word recognition, spelling, decoding), and difficulty with writing.
Even if you are not a teacher who specializes in Dyslexia, or a parent who has done all of the research, there are still many ways that you can help your child, both at home, and in the classroom. Here are the ways I find most important:
Let them choose books that interest them. They will be much more likely to push through their reading struggles if they are actually interested in what the text is about.
7-24% of children with Dyslexia have also been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. Give them opportunities throughout the day to move about or have a fidget in their hands. It is hard enough for elementary aged children to sit still for so long, but throw in the fact that they are significantly struggling with reading or taking notes and keeping up with the class, and this is generally when disruptive behaviors can begin to take place.
Encouragement goes a long way. Children with Dyslexia can become discouraged easily because certain things like reading and writing that seem too come easily to their peers, are extremely difficult for them. Maybe give them the notes beforehand for them to read along with and copy at their own pace, or work with them 1-1 after the lesson or at home.
Find alternatives to the general way of learning. Audiobooks are a great way for children who struggle in reading to learn. Obviously they still need to learn how to read, but if the assignment is to read an extensive chapter book and then write an essay on it, listening to the book could help with their comprehension immensely.
If your child has an IEP or 504 Plan that include accommodations, make sure they know what they are and can advocate for themselves. Sometimes that extended time or having a teacher read them the questions can make a world of difference.
School is hard enough at any age, let alone with any kind of learning disability. Let's try to make that experience just a little bit better for them.
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