How Do You Help Empower Your Dyslexic Child?
Not every person who has a reading deficit is dyslexic. If your child reverses letters or numbers such as in writing they turn the letters the wrong way or get confused when reading words such as reading the word ‘was’ for ‘saw’, or sees the word ‘rabbit’ and calls it ‘bunny’, does not necessarily mean the child is dyslexic. Children below grade 3 tend to do this but will outgrow it usually by third grade. When is it time to distinguish the ‘symptoms’ from the ‘causes’? Just treating the symptoms is not the long-term preference. Getting to the cause can better clear up the symptoms. Parents need to monitor their child’s reading ability and have their child assessed in reading at least twice a year, preferably three times a school year, starting in first grade. A child in third grade who still struggles to read needs a closer look. They need to know first-of-all that there is nothing wrong with them—they just need to learn to read in a different way. The one area of the reading process that impacts dyslexic children most is phoneme awareness. This skill must be developed as the foundation for decoding (phonics) and reading success. Phoneme awareness is the ability to identify sounds in words: what sounds they hear, how many sounds they hear, the order in which they hear those sounds, and identify when a sound changes from what to what. How can you Help? Use a multi-sensory approach to teaching phonetic elements such as the Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes®to stabilize this ability. Many school districts are using the Wilson Reading program which is a multi-sensory approach to teaching reading also. Coordinate with your child’s teacher and other professionals. There is no ‘cure’ for dyslexia but like so many other things in life, we need to learn how to accommodate and move forward. Dyslexic individuals are often very gifted. To maintain their self-esteem be patient and hone their many other talents. Give frequent positive feedback. Give them extra time to complete assignments; read the words with them as they point to each word; teach them to use devices such as the computer. Do they have memory/recall issues; are they ADD or ADHD; do they have perceptual deficits; do they have spatial relationship deficits; do they have symbol imagery deficits and a digit span deficiency? All dyslexic children respond very positively to parents and teachers who encourage them. Identifying their needs early before the end of third grade is key to their reading success.
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