We see many children pass through our doors at Kip McGrath Lisburn that have either had a firm diagnosis of dyslexia or have been queried dyslexic, but have not yet made it to the top of the list for a formal educational assessment. For parents who are facing helping a dyslexic child it can feel like a huge mountain to climb and if they struggled themselves at school the anxiety can be made even worse.
It is really important to remember that although dyslexia does not have a cure (it is just the way your brian functions), people with dyslexia can learn stategies to cope with the non-dyslexic thinkers world!
It is generally thought that one of the best way to teach a dyslexic child is through a multi-sensory approach. The idea is to engage as many of the senses as possible in order to stimulate the language areas of the brain. Activities should include seeing, hearing, speaking, writing and action in order to make sure that all the ways in which the student could learn are covered. With time you will discover yourself which one of these learning styles best suits your child, but in the mean time here are a selection of strategies to try out.
Memory strategies – many dyslexics struggle with their working memory. Phone numbers, names, lists, times tables, revision notes etc. can all be difficult to remember.
- Mind mapping (see mind mapping blog for ideas).
- Encourage the use of a notebook/diary to write important info down.
- Set realistic goals e.g. two more sums to finish before playtime.
- Write to do lists.
- Colour code notes/lists/exam timetables as this can help the visual memory.
- Use post it notes to reinforce facts, spellings, times tables etc..
- Chunking words when reading or spelling (over com ing).
Visual Strategies – How can we make what your child sees dyslexic friendly?
- Always get eyes checked to check if coloured overlays will help with visual disruption.
- Highlight and colour code important information.
- Change paper colour – experiment to see what works best. White paper can create a glare that is distracting to many dyslexic brains.
- Make sure lighting at the place of work is not causing glare or distraction.
- Try different fonts to see which one is easier to read – sans serif is recommended for dyslexics.
- Use word banks and spell check to build confidence when writing.
Auditory strategies – these are designed to get the most out of listening
- Encourage your child to take notes when listening, regardless of their spelling.
- Notes could take a mind map form with colour coding to aid memory later.
- Record and listen back to new word lists then practise along with the recording.
- Break instructions down into small chunks.
Kinesthetic Stategies – Some people learn through action
- Use sandpaper , playdough, sand, drawing in the air or on the back when learning new sounds or words.
- Act out or sing spelling, timetables etc..
See what works for you! I would love to hear more ideas. For more information on how to help your dyslexic child please visit the British Dyslexia Association Website
Clare Rimmer, Kip McGrath Education Centre, Lisburn