What parents need to know about a language-based learning disability known as dyslexia.
When learning to read comes along with frustrations more than warm moments at the kitchen table, parents may find themselves wondering if their child is lazy or if there is an underlying issue affecting their ability to learn to read.
While not all reading difficulties point to a learning disability, it’s important to raise the right questions early on so that you can help your child in the long-run. In this article, we’ll look at a common language-based learning disability: dyslexia.
Signs your child may have dyslexia
According to the DSM-5, “dyslexia is an alternative term used to refer to a pattern of learning difficulties characterized by problems with accurate or fluent word recognition, poor decoding, and poor spelling abilities.”
It’s important to note that dyslexia does not only affect reading. Math reasoning, writing, handwriting, sequencing, and socialization are among other areas that are implicated.
You can recognize some characteristics of dyslexia. A child might have difficulty with:
- Accurate word recognition
- Reading fluency
- Spelling accuracy
- Decoding abilities
- Reading comprehension
It’s always best to take your concerns to a professional like a psychologist or teacher. Share observations about your child and ask about whether an assessment is necessary. You don’t have to worry about your child in solitude.
Communicating your child’s learning needs
If you do receive a diagnosis for your child, you should share the result with as many of the professionals who work with your child as possible. While you might feel hesitant at first, rest assured that everyone has your child’s best interest at heart. A caregiver or teacher will want to know how best to approach your child’s learning needs. You might refer to the psychological report’s recommendations but don’t be afraid to share what you do as well. Parents have the best tips to share with professionals because they spend the most amount of one-on-one time with the child. These strategies should be included in your child’s IEP (Individualized Educational Plan).
Teaching your child how to share their needs
It’s important to teach your child that there is no shame in receiving the diagnosis of dyslexia. In fact, children should be told about the learning disability and be given the skills to educate others.
By informing your child about their learning needs, you are acknowledging that there is a name to what they already knows is a struggle for them. Let them know that it is nothing they did to cause this learning disability. This empowers your child to accept their diagnosis but to also communicate to others why it requires extra effort for them to read.
One way to approach this is to emphasize the differences in all individuals. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. In the same way a child excels at sports, another child might struggle in the arts. Similarly, a child may be proficient in math while another experiences difficulties with reading. Encourage your child to share their talents in addition to their areas of difficulty and to be open with peers about their different learning patterns.
Reassure your child that you and/or school professionals are going to support them on this journey. Always keep the lines of communication open so that your child will feel confident to approach an adult with their difficulties. Avoid openly expressing frustration with your child. Instead, acknowledge that you know it is hard for them but provide comfort in that you are going to find the best method to help them learn.
Finding a learning program to suit your child’s needs
There are many well-researched and successful programs on the market today that target Dyslexia. Ask a professional about the best approach to take with your child. Does your child require a more hands-on program, or an auditory-based program? Would they benefit from a combination of these techniques?
Whether you’re homeschooling or looking to supplement learning for a child with dyslexia, this Fun-Schooling Minecraft Curriculum is a perfect method for kids who need to move around to learn. It uses the Dyslexie Font to make reading and learning easy for students with dyslexia. If your child can read and write at the 2nd grade level, they will be able to use this book as their primary curriculum.
Touch-type Read and Spell is a cumulative, multi-sensory online course teaches touch-typing to help children improve their reading and spelling skills. It is especially useful for children with dyslexia in that it is highly structured and based on the Orton Gillingham approach, which applies audio, visual and tactile techniques. The course is designed to make students feel successful as they learn in sequential steps delivered at the right pace for the learner.
Times Tales is highly recommended by many parents of children with dyslexia and even a leading dyslexia specialist, Susan Barton, for children having trouble memorizing their multiplication tables. The Times Tales DVD teaches kids the upper times tables without rote memorization. Students can simply follow along with the entertaining story while learning their multiplication tables. As they progress, they’ll be guided into associating the stories they’ve learned with real math. The stories and visuals that Times Tales uses to teach multiplication tables are noted as the two most important components of the program to helping children with dyslexia.
About the All-Star Blogger
Gabriella Volpe is a homeschooling mom of a child with special needs, a certified teacher and the homeschool consultant for families of children with special needs. She knows first-hand what it means to struggle with educational planning for a child who does not fit the system and is limited by resources and products intended for children without disabilities. She helps parents find ways to adapt and modify the curriculum so they don’t have to spend hours figuring it out on their own. She also helps after-schooling families of children with special needs navigate their way around the homework hours. You can find her at www.GabriellaVolpe.com
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