Every child learns differently. They learn to read and write at their own pace. It’s common for kids to struggle when reading and writing at some point or another, and most find strategies to overcome it. But, if you see your child constantly struggling in reading which is making him or her lag behind their peers even after providing special needs tuition—there is the possibility that your child has dyslexia. For those who don’t know what dyslexia is, it a learning disorder.
Experts estimate that as many as one in five children may have a hard time reading and that 80 to 90 percent of children with learning impediments have dyslexia. Previously experts agreed that dyslexia affects boys more than girls; however, recent studies show that dyslexia affects boys and girls equally. This is a guest post for Inclusiveteach.com by David A. Buhr.
Dyslexia is mainly associated with a child’s difficulty in reading. This disorder impedes a child’s ability to recognize and pronounce the words in a language. It is a common learning disorder that affects people of all ages. People with dyslexia may experience difficulty reading or writing words and understanding letters, numbers, and sounds (phonemes). Some dyslexic children overcome this by memorizing the words, but eventually, they’ll struggle to recognize new words and sometimes fail to remember the ones they learned.
Signs of Dyslexia
A dyslexic young person may struggle to learn simple rhymes, delayed speech, trouble following directions like left and right, repeat short words like ‘the,’ ‘and,’ ‘but,’ and so on.
In school, children with dyslexia will have it hard to make the sounds of new words, reverse numbers, and letters when reading and find difficulties taking notes and copying from the classroom board. Besides, they struggle with learning rhymes, sequencing sounds, having difficulty spelling common words, and avoid reading aloud in front of classmates. This will have negative implications on the child as he or she will become frustrated or tired from reading and eventually fall behind in the classroom.
Furthermore, dyslexic children often have troubles outside of school as well. Kids with dyslexia find it difficult to make sense of logos and signs, struggle learning rules of games, telling the time, remembering directions, learning another language, etc. If these are left unaddressed, dyslexic children can become incredibly frustrated, impairing their mood and emotional stability.
How Teachers Can Help Support Children With
It is widely agreed that children with dyslexia will require additional support in their classrooms, and there are many ways teachers can help them.
Teachers can start a reading program targeted towards dyslexic students where words are repeated, and new words are introduced gradually. This will allow them to gain confidence and develop their self-esteem during reading. Additionally, teachers should only give students books to read that don’t exceed their skill level. As this can make them frustrated and demotivated. Giving them books at their level will not only make their reading exercise enjoyable, but they can also remember and understand the words they read.
As dyslexic children avoid reading aloud in front of other students, teachers should reserve this activity between them and the child. Alternatively, teachers should give some pre-selected reading material to them in advance to practice it at home before the actual event. This ensures the child that they can read the material before reading it aloud in front of or with other children. Story or audiobooks are beneficial for enhancing vocabulary skills and teaching students the sounds of the words.
Children diagnosed with dyslexia should be provided special accommodations in school. These accommodations may include allocating them extra time to complete their tests or exams, a quiet place to work, and permitting them to records lectures or providing them with recorded lectures. Teachers can also arrange special arrangements. These include allowing dyslexic children to give verbal/oral answers in tests instead of written answers, if possible. Other beneficial arrangements may also include exempting them from reading aloud in the class and learning a foreign language.
Some other proven ways to support a child with dyslexia is encouraging them to participate in activities they like or excel in. It can be sports, music, singing, or anything else that will boost their self-esteem and confidence. Other things that may help include:
- Listening to audiobooks rather than reading.
- Typing on a computer or tablet instead of writing on paper.
- Suggesting them apps or games that can make learning fun.
- Using a ruler to help them read in a straight line.
Dyslexia should not be taken a mental disorder or a sign of poor intelligence in a child. It is a barrier that inhibits them from their abilities and achievements. Some children with dyslexia can keep up with their peers during the first few grades in school, but the issue becomes apparent as they advance where they’re required to read quickly and fluently. The strategies discussed above can help them compensate for their weakness and improve academically.
David A. Buhr has over fifteen years of experience in the field of Education. He specializes writing articles on Education-related topics on his blog. He is presently working at smile tutor, a reputable presence in the education industry.