According to statistics, approximately one-fifth of school-aged children have a learning disability, with dyslexia being the most common. Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for dyslexia, but there are some tools and tips that you can use to help your child.
1. Understand the Struggle
If you do not struggle with dyslexia yourself, you probably don’t fully understand what your child is dealing with. And truthfully, your child probably doesn’t either.
Many children that struggle with reading assume that their struggles are normal – that everyone experiences the same issues. They don’t understand what’s different. Therefore, they can’t explain it to you.
You’ll need to research to gain that understanding yourself. This can include reading books and blogs, talking to their doctor, reading programs for dyslexia, speaking with a specialist, and even seeking out others who struggle with dyslexia. Through this research, you’ll better understand your child’s struggles, have a better idea of questions to ask, and find practical resources.
2. Technology tools
Many dyslexic children tendencies find text-to-speech tools helpful. When the computer reads the text aloud, it can be easier to follow along and catch errors. Some dyslexic individuals also find it beneficial to use audiobooks instead of reading print books. And for those who struggle with spelling, there are spellcheck tools that can be very helpful in catching errors. With all of these assistive technologies available, there is no excuse not to take advantage of them!
3. Utilize a structured approach
A structured, research-backed approach is essential to teaching language skills to a child with dyslexia. Utilizing a multisensory and structured approach, especially with struggling readers, helps boost their confidence and is simply more fun! This approach is based on the understanding that children learn best when the material is age-appropriate and presented in the proper scope and sequence.
4. Develop Interest and Enjoyment
The learning process must be a positive experience for the dyslexic child. When they can read topics of interest to them, they are more likely to develop an enjoyment of reading and the motivation to improve.
A “drill/kill” environment will only discourage them further. Be patient and give them the time and encouragement to read and study topics of interest.
5. Praise Effort
Children struggling with dyslexia have to work extra hard when trying to read. Parents must recognize that and praise every bit of effort children put in. This helps build their confidence and motivates them to continue.
It’s also crucial that you stop negative self-talk in its tracks. A lack of confidence can kill motivation quickly, so you mustn’t let negative self-talk find a foothold in their minds.
Also, be mindful of your negative self-talk. Children tend to mimic what they see and hear. If you are constantly insulting yourself, your children will think that it’s the standard and acceptable thing to do.
6. Provide a Structured Environment
For dyslexic kids, having a structured environment is key to success in and out of the classroom. When dyslexia is present, creating a routine can help alleviate some stress and increase a child’s self-confidence.
Having a dedicated dyslexia-friendly space in your home that is only used for schoolwork can be highly beneficial. This space should be free from distractions and have all the necessary tools and resources close by.
Breaking up their schoolwork into smaller chunks will help them stay focused and prevent them from feeling overwhelmed. It is important to remember that while academics are essential, dyslexic children need time to play and relax. Allowing them regular breaks will help them refocus when it is time to get back to
Throughout your child’s reading journey, it will be essential that you be patient with the process. Reading isn’t something that happens overnight for anyone. And when there are additional obstacles, it will take longer.