Dyslexia is a neurological condition that makes it difficult to acquire the skills of reading, writing, spelling and sometimes maths.
Processing speed and short term memory are also affected.
Research has determined it is genetic and affects approximately one in eight.
Dyslexia can be mild, moderate and severe and there are different difficulties within each profile.
An individual may be poor at reading but may excel at maths or oral tasks and vice versa.
It takes learners longer to acquire a knowledge of letter-sound patterns.
Word recall, word recognition and sequencing are all affected.
They can experience visual difficulties when reading. Words may blur and the child may skip words or even lines of text.
Rote learning is extremely difficult.
Transcription is challenging and copying from the board may cause the child stress.
Complex, multi-step instructions are confusing.
There is a discrepancy between a child’s oral and written work.
Handwriting can be poor and punctuation may be irregular.
Beneficial Classroom Strategies
Write clearly on the board and leave the information there for as long as possible. Different colours on each line can help ensure the child doesn’t lose his place when transcribing.
Keep instructions basic and simple and repeat if possible. Give written notices of important events.
Retrieving information is difficult for a Dyslexic child especially if they feel pressurised. Give them time to answer a question.
If possible don’t ask the child to read aloud in class if that causes them extreme distress.
Multi-sensory teaching can help learning. Oral, written and visual elements can act as memory hooks for the child and will benefit all the learning styles in your classroom whether the child is Dyslexic or not.
Mark separately for content and spelling and grammar. Dyslexic children will always misspell and overuse of the red pen can cause the child to feel a failure.
Teach to the child’s intellectual ability not their literacy level.
Give new information more than once, perhaps in different ways.
Check that the child understands a given task.
Diagrams, mind maps, flow charts, pictures and colour all enhance learning.
Seat the child near the front so that they can see the whiteboard and you, the teacher.
Give individual attention when you can.
Encourage all children to ask for help if they get stuck, this way it will be standard procedure.
Give opportunities for Dyslexic children to show their strengths.
Praise effort as well as achievement. Dyslexic children often spend twice as long as their classmates at homework and their work won’t reflect this.
Check List for Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia)
- I have average or above average intelligence.
- I often have trouble with one or more of these: reading, spelling, free writing, handwriting and/or maths.
- I may have co-ordination problems and can appear to be clumsy or awkward.
- I may find it hard to concentrate on one activity for long and can be easily distracted.
- I often seem orally strong in class and appear smart but have poor written work.
- I may be easily frustrated and short-tempered. But at other times I can seem content and charming.
- There are times when I don’t hear what the teacher is saying, especially if there is a lot of background noise.
- I learn better if I see the whole picture rather than disconnected steps. Example with grammar show a diagram with all the parts of speech before teaching each separately, this way the child knows they are all linked.
- When I am doing something I am good at, I find it difficult to stop.
- I may not be good at following instructions.
- I may pronounce sounds in the wrong order, such as aminal for animal and hostiple for hospital.
- I may be seen as naughty or lazy! (Usually when child has been struggling for a long time without identification).
- I can be the class clown or exceptionally quiet, both tactics can distract from the literacy difficulties.
- I often know my spelling, reading at home and have forgotten them the next day at school. (Parents may support this reporting homework taking a long time).
- I may express my ideas well but cannot write them down.
- I may be untidy and disorganised.
- I may repeatedly write letters or small words in the wrong order or back to front or inverted.
- I may find it difficult to copy accurately from the board and have poor writing.
- I may find it difficult to tell the time.
- I may find it difficult to say the alphabet or tables.
- I may excel in art, music, creative ideas.
I may not have all of the above difficulties but I may have many.
I just learn differently!