Dyslexia can affect anyone at any age. It is estimated that 10% of people over 16 in the UK alone have dyslexia. Sometimes learning may be challenging and frustrating. If dyslexia is undetected, it can effect learning and achievement.
There are however all sorts of dyslexia friendly tools and techniques that can be used to make teaching and learning fun, easy and effective for dyslexia learners and ALL learners!
Dyslexics have the potential to achieve wonderful things (as do all learners), provided they have the right tools and learning opportunities.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning difference. It comes with a combination of strengths and challenges which affect the learning process of reading, writing, spelling and sometimes numeracy.
Dyslexia learners can sometimes have weaknesses in short-term memory, sequencing and the speed at which they process information. They often find it difficult learning to read, write and spell because of these learning differences.
Some of the most famous and successful people in the world have dyslexia! This is because they have built on their strengths - Walt Disney, Jamie Oliver, Steve Redgrave, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill to name just a few!
What might indicate your child has Dyslexic tendencies or Dyslexia?
The following characteristics may be seen at home and/or at school.
- Finds spelling and reading difficult.
- Puts letters and figures the wrong way round.
- Confuses b and d and words such as on and no.
- Takes a long time to write things down.
- Written work does not match oral language skills.
- Unable to copy from the board successfully.
- Struggles with handwriting - letters and numbers.
- Needs lots of support to complete written activities.
- Has difficulty remembering sequences and facts.
- Finds it hard to remember spoken instructions.
- Has difficulty hearing sounds 'p', 'f', 'v', 'th'.
- Uses bizarre spellings, omits letters or puts them in the wrong order.
- Has problems understanding what he/she has read.
- Problems with sight vocabulary and phonic development.
- Mispronounces words or jumbles up words.
- May appear to learn things, but forget everything the next day.
- Can have poor concentration or gets tired easily.
- Has difficulty tying shoes laces, dressing, cutting.
- Surprises you because in other ways she/he is bright and alert.
- Can lack confidence and may have a poor self-image.
- Has difficulty in remembering and organising.
- Dislikes reading and writing.
- Messy work with lots of attempts, uses the rubber lots!
- Has problems with co-ordination - left/ right, up/down.
- Can be very artistic and creative.
- May have tantrums/ signs of frustration for no given reasons.
How to offer support to a child with Dyslexia
Some of these resources are used in school too.
- iPads are an excellent interactive resource, with lots of free/ low cost apps to help develop literacy skills. Dyslexia friendly apps can be found easily. Word processing rather than writing can help.
- Pencil grips help to reinforce correct pencil grip and provide comfort when writing.
- Reading rulers have been found to help children with visual dyslexia. They also help to stay focussed when reading by keeping track on the line that is being read.
- Highlighters are a key tool in the classroom or for homework- to highlight patterns in sounds and key pieces of information.
- The alphabet arc is a super tool to teach letter names and the alphabet order. School use this with selected pupils.
- Comic Sans is the easiest font on the computer for a dyslexic child to read!
- If writing instructions for your child write each line a different colour or underline every other line in a colour.
- Cursive handwriting should be taught/used to help spelling, fluency, neatness and speed. Ask your child's class teacher for a copy of what Violet Way's cursive alphabet looks like.
- Don't be cross if your child is unorganised and forgetful, provide them with a checklist, keyring or visual timetable to ensure they remember the things they need.
- Remember they might need help in other subjects such as maths (reading a question) or Geography (spelling a word). Dyslexia is not just apparent in English, it is with them all of the time.
- A special dictionary called the 'Ace' dictionary is an excellent way for your child to check their spellings. Once they know how to use this special tool they will have no problems in checking their spellings. Making them become more independent in editing and work.