Helping a Dyslexic Child

by 高莫娜 Mona
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As we discussed yesterday as well, Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). Also called reading disability, dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language.

Role as a Teacher 

After identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your dyslexic student, consider how to support her in the classroom. As teachers we have to keep in mind that in our class we have to cater for both the needs of dyslexic and non-dyslexic students. Therefore helping one child shouldn’t result in the detriment of the others. So we should adopt such learning strategies that help the dyslexic student while at the same time enhance the learning opportunities for the rest of the class. Following are some of the strategies which can be helpful.

Multi sensory approach

Orton-Gillingham’s (1956),  suggested multi-sensory approach which involves the simultaneous use of the EYES, EARS, HANDS and LIPS to utilize all pathways to the brain when learning enable individuals to use their OWN approach, through utilizing the STRONG areas and at the same time exercising their FAULTY. During the whole class learning, the teaching session should be action-oriented and a constant interaction between the teacher and students through the multiple sensory input channels reinforces optimal learning. Using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic elements, all language skills should be reinforced by having the students listen, speak, read and write. For example, if you teach the word ‘zebra”, ask all children to write “zebra” in air. It will help all children but will be more beneficial for the learning difficulty kids. It needs ample practice. The use of multiple input channels is thought to enhance memory storage and retrieval by providing multiple “triggers” for memory.

Mind mapping: 

This approach is useful for improving students’ reading and writing and is beneficial for all students. Mind mapping helps students understand, collect, connect and remember information about a topic, a story, a poem, etc. This is done through the use of diagrams, pictures, keywords, and phrases.

Paired Reading:

Usually all children have good peer relationships, you should take it as an advantage and always encourage peer support. Through pair reading the child is able to enter a comfort zone and can use language to express himself and learn more vocabulary from friends.

Language Games/Learning Materials:

All textbooks come with their listening CD’s. Apart from this there are many computer games which enhance children’s language skills. Children often use computers so let them play those games. Pairing with a friend, would be better. They can discuss the content.

Simplified Instructions:

Dyslexic students cannot understand complex instructions so give them in a simplistic form with divided steps. It can improve their efficiency.

Small amount of work.

Cut down the amount of copy work for these students. It will reduce pressure on them and they will be able to complete their task early.

Highlight sectioned words:

These students have difficulty in memorizing words. Break the words into syllables and highlight them, it will be easier for them to memorize the taught vocabulary.

Provide additional practice activities.

Usually we do not provide enough practice activities for students with learning problems, to acquire mastery on selected skills. We can help them with extended support. It includes instructional games, peer teaching activities, self-correcting materials, computer software programs, and additional worksheets.

If we help these kids develop in a positive, supportive and optimistic surrounding, it’s more likely they will develop into self-confident people. By giving them the right direction they can alleviate the downsides of their learning difference and will be more focused on their strengths and successes no matter how small they are!

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