“If children can’t learn the way we teach, then we have to teach the way they learn”– R. Buck
A brief overview of the signs and symptoms of dyslexia, and how it’s treated in children and adolescents.
Dyslexia is a common learning disability that interferes with the acquisition of reading skills. It causes children to struggle with decoding, word recognition, and spelling. While many people still use the term dyslexia, it is now technically part of the diagnosis “specific learning disorder,” which groups together reading, writing, and math disorders under the same umbrella.
- Difficulty rhyming, associating sounds with symbols, sequencing and ordering sounds, and trouble identifying and comprehending signs or logos
- Late talking and persistent trouble with word retrieval
- Difficulty following simple or complex directions
- Difficulty with little words: Omits or reads twice little words like the,and, but, in
- Difficulty sounding out unfamiliar words, and confusion with patterns
- Many children with dyslexia have differences in how their brains sequence sounds in early language development, making it difficult to assign sounds to visual representations later.
- Dyslexia often runs in families, and neurobiologists have identified certain genes that increase its probability.
- Children who have recurring ear infections in early childhood are more likely to develop dyslexia.
Dyslexia is diagnosed through an evaluation that determines a deficit in reading ability and rules out other possible causes, like social, environmental, or cognitive factors.
Treatment will first address the symptoms of the disorder, teaching your child how to read–not intuitively, as most do, but as a rule-based system. Then, your child and her therapist will develop compensatory skills for learning in general.
Individualized attention and instruction are critical, and schools often allow extra time on tests and other accommodations for students diagnosed with dyslexia.
In order to get an understanding of what it can be like for a dyslexic child in the classroom, I suggest you watch the following video.
When supporting children, the environment of the classroom plays a critical role. Therefore, lesson planning needs to take into account children’s individual learning styles (visual, kinaesthetic and/or auditory) through mnemonics, mind mapping and grouping. This will ensure information is received, learnt and retained. Where possible, learning should be multisensory.
Here is a video of Key Stage 1 and 2 (English) using multi-sensory methods.
Making instruction explicit and multisensory helps students internalize math concepts. The teacher in the video below uses various modes of presenting information, and provides opportunities for the students to actively engage with content using multiple senses: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic/Tactile.