In the previous article, we were informed about the diverse strengths and positive skills possessed by people with dyslexia. In this article, we will learn how teachers and parents can maximize those strengths by incorporating appropriate strategies that suits the brain function and learning difference of people with dyslexia.
Brain based strategies for teachers and parents of children with dyslexia
- Teaching strategies: When teaching, the student with dyslexia must be shown the big picture and then how the details fit into it. Topics must be broken down for them to aid understanding. Simple items or topics must be presented before the more difficult ones, from the concrete to the abstract and from the visual to the auditory. Learning must involve constant review and practice at every step of the learning process to ensure mastery.
- Multisensory teaching methods: Multisensory learning involves the use of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile pathways simultaneously to enhance memory and learning of written language. Links are consistently made between the visual (language we see), auditory (language we hear), and kinesthetic-tactile (language symbols we feel) pathways in learning to read and spell.
- Environmental support:The learning environment or classroom should be quiet and free from distractions. Having a carpet or rug in the classroom area will help keep down noise. Minimize distractions to allow students with dyslexia have an area where they can read or concentrate on class work. For students with dyslexia who are showing signs of anxiety, there can be a time-out area when they are feeling very nervous, upset or frustrated.
- Assessments and Grading: Students should be allowed to use electronic helpers when completing class work or tests. Examples include an electronic dictionary, speller or thesaurus, computers and talking calculators. Do not take off points for spelling. If you mark spelling errors, do so separately and create a list of words frequently misspelled for students to refer to during writing assignments. You may also offer oral testing and longer time for formal assessments.
School support/accommodations for children with dyslexia
The teaching methods utilized in most schools are those that teach learning skills easily processed by the left hemisphere of the brain, these methods make it easy for students/pupils to process abstract symbols of written language. However, these teaching methods are not appropriate for children with dyslexia as it was discussed in the second article of these series that people with dyslexia utilize more of the right side of their brain to process language hence they require a different learning method. With materials presented, students with dyslexia can be given appropriate accommodations. Some of these include:
- Clarifying or simplifying directions or instructions
- Presenting bits of work at a time to prevent information or memory overload
- Presenting text in larger fonts
- Highlighting essential information
- Recording lessons so they can be replayed
- Making use of step-by-step instructions when teaching
- Combine visual information with verbal and written ones- let them “see” what is being taught, this will help them remember more. Let there be visual representation of all information given.
- Make use of colours for written work. This adds some excitement to writing.
- Encourage their skills/talents like drawing, painting and singing.
- Allow them present their answers orally when testing if they find it very difficult writing down the answers.
- Help build their self-esteem
- Reduce fear and anxiety by never forcing them to spell difficult words or read aloud in class.
Successful people diagnosed with dyslexia who have utilized their strengths and have become famous with their skills will be the subject of discussion in the next and final article of these series.
Always remember that individuals with dyslexia have strengths and can excel in life.
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