Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Teaching Children With Dyslexia

Unfortunately, the label of 'being dyslexic' is often seen as a negative one. One which can produce upset, limitations and hurdles to the students involved .

However, with the right training, teaching and encouragement it can also produce strengths, talents and creative gifts.

What are the effects of dyslexia?
Research suggests that individuals with dyslexia have great difficulties in fluent and/or accurate word identification, often resulting in a slower reading ability, poor concentration, difficulty with spelling and grammar and in some cases trouble with organisation and planning.

A key concern for people with dyslexia is the lack of confidence and the negative effect it can have on a student's self-esteem.

Low self-esteem leads to other challenges such as a lack of motivation, concentration, and self-belief and in some cases, anxiety.

Tips for teaching students with dyslexia:

1. Be Visual: Dyslexics are predominantly visual thinkers, so try to include diagrams, flow charts and pictures wherever possible.

2. Squash Distractions: Think about the level of distraction around the classroom and how you can reduce disruptions and distractions. Working in a quiet, comfortable room, with little to distract the brain, will allow students to focus and therefore improve their concentration.

3. Play to the Strengths: Really think about the positives - creativity, imagination and a hands-on approach; and integrate them into your teaching techniques.

4. Use Mind maps: Mind maps work the way the brain works, which isn't in nice neat lines. Mind maps are a very visual way of teaching, and because the brain best memorises keywords and images, they are ideal for teaching students with dyslexia.

5. Develop Organisational Skills: These will benefit students for the rest of their lives. Use colour-coded folders to separate different subjects or subject topics and encourage them to implement and stick to a daily routine. Schedules are very useful for individuals with dyslexia as they help them know what to expect and what is coming up next.

6. Use the Tools: Use approved specialist software to diversify teaching techniques and encourage willingness to learn. Software such as word and grammar based games; word processors as well as digital voice recording are useful for teaching dyslexic students. Get creative and make it fun, they will respond to new and exciting teaching techniques.

7. Short Term Memory Loss: Students with dyslexia may struggle with short-term memory and concentrating for long periods of time. Be aware that you may have to repeat yourself often and try to break up the lesson with short breaks such as learning games, chats and active learning techniques.

8. Focus on Verbal Reasoning: Don't just hand out sheets of paper for the student to read, as they may struggle to absorb and understand the information. Discuss the topics with them and engage them in conversation; it's a much more effective way of teaching.

Read more on this approach here

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