Every person on this earth has their own strengths and areas and weaknesses. People with dyslexia are no different. It has long been thought that intelligence and learning was tied up to how well you could read and write. This puts a person with dyslexia at a disadvantage.
Thank goodness things are changing in this age of technology. We are now able to look at different learning styles and different approaches to learning.
Yes, some children do need to be taught differently than the traditional way. There are a lot of adults walking around today with no confidence and unsure of themselves because the traditional one-way of teaching does not work for everyone. We do not want any of our children to grow up thinking they are something less than what they really are.
Are you worried that your child might be dyslexic? There is no need to be but there are some things you just might need to understand a little better.
1. They read differently.
The brain of a dyslexic child is different. The part of the brain that understands language operates differently than the average individual’s. Words are seen as symbols which then have to be translated into sounds. The sounds then have to be combined to make meaningful words. The parts of the brain that do this are not as well developed with dyslexia, so affected children will have to engage different parts of their brains to compensate. Audio books are great for dyslexics because they allow a child to keep up with his peers and have access to information that they need.
2. They are not lazy or do not want to learn.
It may seem that way sometimes, but there could be other reasons.
– It is difficult to carry out multi-step instructions. While others are being given instruction 2 and 3, a dyslexic child might still be processing the 1st instruction and completely miss further instructions.
– It takes a long time to decode the words on a page.
– It takes a long time to complete worksheets and tests. It is also exhausting and they might need a break before they continue.
3. They don’t “see” the world backwards.
Because they often reverse letters and words does not mean that they see the world backwards. Many dyslexics see the world as a whole rather than in detail.
They have a grand ability to see what is “out of place.” Carol Grieder, a molecular biologist with dyslexia, won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2009 because as she looked at DNA molecules through a microscope, she saw something that should not be there. She discovered a new and extremely important enzyme that is today the subject of cancer and aging research. In this case, her dyslexia was a wonderful “gift” to the world. (lifehack.org).
4. They need “ear reading”.
This is the term that is sometimes used for audio books. There are benefits for audio books. One of those benefits is the fact that a child can enjoy all the pleasures of the story world as well as text books that will enable them to keep up with school work.
5. They can be disorganized.
The fact that they have problems with attention to detail can cause disorganization, impacting both school and home life. You might find that the only way to get a nice clean bedroom is to 'walk' them through step by step of the process for putting things in the proper place and cleaning their room. In older children it may be a challenge to get topic work finished on time and they might need help with time management.
6. They cannot overcome dyslexia by reading more.
A lot of people think (including some teachers) that reading is just about practise. That somehow if a child is forced to read more that the dyslexia will be 'cured'. Forcing a child to read more might lead to frustration, behavioral issues and anger. Yes, they do need to be exposed to books and all the wonderful information in those books, but not forced. Reading to your child or with your child will have much better results.
7. They often feel stupid.
They are very aware that others in their classrooms are reading better, are able to complete their work quickly and seem to understand instructions better. You must work with their strengths and their interest to give them the confidence they need to succeed. Art, music, sports, designing, building, and science are typical areas of strength. Having successes and recognition for those successes is extremely important for adult productivity and happiness.
8. Friends are important.
If they do start to feel bad about themselves, it is important that they do not withdraw from the world. Joining a group or a club outside of school would a a good ideas where children can interact with others without the pressure of feeling tested all the time.
9. They will often have average to above-average intelligence.
Now this is an important one for the child to understand. Children should be made aware of what they can achieve. They should know about all the famous people in the world that are dyslexic.
Here’s a few: Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Cruise, Muhammad Ali, Steve Jobs, Tommy Hilfiger, Picasso, and Richard Branson.
There is virtually no field in which dyslexic people have not excelled.
10. Technology is their friend.
There are a number of apps which have been recommended by medical and psycho/educational professionals that serve dyslexic students well, from those that convert any text to audio, to voice-command word processing programs, to phonetic skill building in gaming formats. Thank goodness for the spell-checker.
11. A great sense of hearing.
Perhaps because their ability to use their eyes well to learn, the sense of hearing has strengthened, just as it is for those who are blind. However, they are often unable to filter out all of the sounds around them, greatly impacting their ability to focus. The use of headphones when they are engaged in audio learning will help them greatly.
12. They can be a great asset to group work.
Because they tend to be creative and are visual thinkers, they are often able to “see” solutions that others cannot. In these cases, being dyslexic is a strength in itself.
13. They will always be dyslexic.
But they can develop methods and ways of learning to compensate. Being dyslexic might prove to be difficult at times, but with belief in themselves they will be able to do anything.
14. They can get very frustrated with their disability.
Stop and think before you say things like 'try harder'. They are trying. We all get frustrated when we are worried about our children but take a step back and put yourself in their shoes. What they need are support and encouragement.
15. Not all dyslexics are the same.
Dyslexic kids are individuals. Their disabilities come in all ranges. Some may exhibit symptoms of ADD, while others will not. Some have real difficulty putting thoughts into words, while others are much more verbal. Some are of average intellectual ability, while others are truly gifted. Some have “acting out behavior;” while others are too quiet. It is unfair to treat all dyslexic children as if they are one group.
16. They are visual thinkers.
They learn by pictures and hands-on experiences. This is one reason that many do well in lab sciences. They also remember in pictures. If they can be given visual representations of concepts, they will cement that in their memories. What they read will not be cemented unless there are other senses involved as they read.
17. They see differently.
You will sometimes hear a dyslexic child that the words are moving on the page or that they look fuzzy. Their not making this up even though it might be easy for us to think that. If it is real for them then it needs to be real for you.
18. They can get exhausted by detail.
This happens particularly when working on reading and worksheets in math that are “cluttered.” Spreading content out in larger print and recommended fonts will help a great deal. They will also need frequent breaks. While other students can focus on an activity that involves reading and writing, and accomplish a great deal in a 20-30 minute period, the dyslexic child will complete far less and need breaks after 10 minutes of focus. Beyond that, they will complain of headaches and dizziness.
If you want to find out more about dyslexia or want to know where to find information on what you can do to help then please pop along to my dyslexia page. There is so much information out there I have tried to condense it for you.
If you need more detailed information then e-mail me and I can find it for you.
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