Dyslexia Treatment

One of a number of learning disabilities, dyslexia can make it difficult for a child to read and write. Unfortunately, having a learning disability can also make a child a target for bullying, as other children assume that a dyslexic child is "stupid" or "reatarded." Yet, these assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth! Dyslexic children are typically exceptionally bright and often talented in some other area, whether it be sports, arts or music. And with a bit of extra help and attention, your child can also excel in school, even with reading and writing.

The First Steps to Overcoming Dyslexia
If you or your child’s teachers notice that your child is displaying some dyslexia symptoms, there are a number of steps you can take to confirm the diagnosis. However, aside from testing for dyslexia, it is also important to talk with the staff at your child’s school, make them aware of the problems and discuss ways to help your child perform to her best ability.

    Meet the Teachers – If you begin to suspect that your child may have dyslexia, it is a good idea to speak to her teachers about it. Often, teachers are the first to notice that a child may have a learning disability and they may be able to confirm your suspicions and suggest ways to help your child. If they are not yet aware of the problem, by discussing the issue with them, they can make the necessary changes to their methods of teaching to help give your child a better chance at success.

    Contact Your Local Dyslexia Association – This can help you get more information about the disorder, ways to diagnose it and also strategies by which you can upgrade your child’s language or motor skills.

    Go for a Dyslexia Test – Getting professional advice will help you determine to what extent your child is affected by dyslexia, whether his case is mild or severe. For dyslexia testing, you can go to an educational psychologist who specializes in learning difficulties or you can consult a qualified teacher. The experts usually perform various tests and can give you a detailed educational support guideline for you and your child to follow. Your child’s teachers can also benefit from the expert advice and alter their teaching methods accordingly.

    Contact the School - If your child is already going to a school, it will be necessary to get the school involved, as your support and the support of the teachers need to go hand in hand. Nowadays, schools have begun to broaden their teaching ways to accommodate children who require special care, so don’t be shy to ask that your child receive some extra attention.

    Tutoring – If you think your child may not be learning as fast as other children at school, you can also consider arranging for a private tutor. Tutoring can be done by a teacher who has had experience with dyslexic children or even by you. There are plenty of guidebooks available to help you with the study material and the course of action to take. Your local dyslexia association, too, can aid you in this regard.

Language Improvement
Improving your child’s language skills is not impossible. Children with learning disabilities are very smart and can easily grasp concepts so long as they are presented in the appropriate manner for them. It has been suggested by many experts that children with dyslexia need to be taught by keeping in mind these underlying principles:

    1. Utilize all the senses, sound, vision, voice or even touch, to explain the full meaning of a word or a phrase. For example, if you are teaching your child the spelling of ‘cup’, then show him one, let him hold it, let him know there are 3 letters that build the word, repeat the word again and again until he remembers.
    2. To help with reading, teach the alphabet or words phonetically. If you breakdown the words into easier words or even rearrange them to make the sounds simpler, the child will recollect these phonetic sounds and use them while reading by himself. This has been found by many to improve reading skills drastically.
    3. Repeat the sounds that the letters make while reading and writing. This is done to help the brain figure out the letters, not by just looking at them, but also by remembering the sound. For instance, if you are teaching the word ‘sleep’ you can say the sounds of ‘es’ or ‘ss’, ‘el’ or ‘llll’, ‘eee’ and ‘pe’ or ‘pp’.
    4. Break words into syllables and teach your child how to do it. When complex words (like ‘perpendicular’) are broken down into simple syllables (per-pen-di-cu-lar), your child understands that the word is not that difficult and he can say or write it by just joining all the syllables.
    5. Follow a sequential or a step-by-step manner of teaching. Whether it is English or math, rushing to the solutions will not help, as the child’s brain will not be able to register the information. Go slowly and divide each problem into a step-by-step solution. When the steps go from easy to difficult and the teaching also proceeds in the same way, the child will learn more and understand better.

Improving Handwriting
Children with dyslexia often find it difficult to write or are very slow, as they cannot easily link between what they see or have memorized and what they should be writing. From the very start, effort should be made to improve your child’s writing skills, which can be done by skipping over printing and going straight to cursive writing.

Usually children first learn to write separate letters (printing) and then proceed to joining them (cursive writing). However, with dyslexic children, it is better to start with cursive. Because the letters of the words are in a continuous flow, your child gets an idea of the shape of the word, improves his hand movement and gets less confused between the letters, like b and d. Additionally, as there is a distinction between capital and small letters, through cursive your child can better understand when to use capital and lower case letters. With practice, this will also help to increase your child’s writing speed and spelling.

However, spelling and grammar are not the only things to pay attention to. You should also see to it that your child uses a proper writing grip and that she is sitting in an upright position. Initially, when teaching ascending and descending letter, it is best to start with double ruled paper, progressing to single ruled sheets as your child improves.

Homework can become a troublesome affair for dyslexic children if you do not make proper plans to deal with it. Your child may have already spent a lot of time feeling low at school, so when he comes home, give him some time to relax before making him hit those books.

  • Form an every day routine as to when the homework has to be done and stick to it.
  • Select a place that is peaceful and close to your supervision. Put all the things he may need like stationary, books etc. in one place.
  • Divide the homework into small tasks with frequent breaks so that the work does not seem to be too much.
  • Go through the tasks yourself and read them aloud to make her understand what has to be done.
  • Before starting, let him practice or revise his vocabulary. Also give the child some time to think of ideas and ways he can complete the given tasks.
  • Let the child use his own way of working. If he is good at drawing, let him use it with his work.
  • Once all tasks are completed, help your child develop the habit of rechecking her work for mistakes. Teach her how to check her spelling, grammar, spacing, etc.
  • Many times, your child may loose interest if he finds the work difficult. Give him time to relax and solve the problem while encouraging him to finish on time.
  • Everyone likes to know when they’ve done a good job, especially children, so praise your child for a job well done.
  • As your child gets older and more independent, give her the responsibility of making plans for homework, projects and other work herself.
  • Organization is key. Get into the habit of keeping things in proper places and keeping his desk neat and tidy. Also, color-code different subjects to categorize them and make it easier to identify which projects are related to the same subject.
  • See to it that she takes the correct books and materials to school everyday, gradually letting her do this on her own.
  • Meet with your child’s teacher regularly to assess his development.
  • Encourage her to underline keywords, make notes or draw pictures to help memorize things during exams.
  • Keep a strict reading time everyday to improve language.
  • Teach him the use of calculators or computers, which can make many tasks easier.

Public Awareness and Support
Thanks to the efforts of many parents and teachers, more and more people have become aware of dyslexia as an issue that can be resolved by making simple changes. But much still needs to be done. Many physicians have been prone to diagnose children with attention deficit disorder rather than dyslexia. Even some schools shun from making changes to the age-old teaching methods to accommodate a dyslexic child.

The good news, though, is that changes are being made to the school system under the ‘No child left behind’ banner. Recently, a regulation keen on raising achievement levels of students with disabilities has been proposed. These new regulations will give greater flexibility to states and schools to assess children with learning disabilities according to their ability rather than lumping them in with other students that do not have a learning disability. Overall, dyslexia has been accepted as a different learning style rather than being defined as a disability.

Your Support
As parents, you will soon realize the special gifts of creativity and physical talents your child has because of dyslexia. While you may be tempted to see dyslexia as a hindrance, it is important to recognize the positive of the situation; just how you deal with your child’s dyslexia can make all the difference to their future. If people like Orlando Bloom, Winston Churchill, Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg and Albert Einstein can live to become legends in spite of dyslexia, so can your child.