Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dyslexia: Simulation Exercises Prepare Teachers

If trying to teach students with the learning disorder of dyslexia is frustrating for most teachers, consider what it must be like from the student’s point of view.

That’s exactly the point of dyslexia simulation exercises that every teacher candidate must experience before graduating with a degree in early childhood, elementary or secondary education at Southeastern Louisiana University.

“The role of an insightful teacher in working with a child with dyslexia is critical, and their perceptions play an important role in learning,” explained Elizabeth Wadlington, professor of teaching and learning in the College of Education and Human Development. She coordinates dyslexia simulation exercises for students at Southeastern every semester.

Dyslexia, the most common language-based learning disability that impairs an individual’s ability to read, write and spell, affects between 17 and 20 percent of the U.S. population. It is not related to intelligence, Wadlington said.

“Dyslexia causes difficulty in language processing,” she added. “The kids may be bright and intelligent and can see and hear just as well as everyone else, but they have a problem processing the information in their brains.”

The simulation exercises she and her colleagues present are designed for the future teachers to feel the frustrations these children feel when they are in the classroom.

After attending lectures on dyslexia to gain a basic understanding of the issue, the students participate in the simulation exercise, rotating through a variety of stations that focus on simulating reading difficulties, writing and visual-motor difficulties, and visual perception and visual processing difficulties while trying to read.

Meanwhile, faculty facilitators play the role of teachers, demonstrating the impatience, exasperation and lack of understanding that Wadlington says are all too common in many classrooms. After each station, the students go through a debriefing session, reflecting on their experiences.

To read the full article click here at NewsWise

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