Dyslexia is a commonly used term for a difficulty with learning to read or with interpreting words, letters, numbers and other symbols.
Such problems may be manifested as poor reading fluency or comprehension, difficulties with maths and ‘delayed processing’ (the inability to rapidly name letters, symbols or numbers). Some people with dyslexia even report that letters appear to “move around the page” when they try to read.
(More recently, the disorder has been relabelled as a “specific learning disorder in the domain of reading” in the upcoming 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statstical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5.)
The term dyslexia is commonly used, but often poorly understood.
In fact, it has taken me nearly ten years as an educator and a psychologist to be able to effectively diagnose the disorder, explain to parents what it means for their child and provide targeted recommendations to help improve their child’s learning skills.
Here are my top nine tips to help your child with dyslexia improve their learning skills:
- Have your child assessed by an educational and developmental psychologist. If you suspect something is ‘not quite right’ with your child’s learning skills the first step is to obtain a learning difficulty assessment to identify your child’s unique profile of strengths and weaknesses and get specific recommendations to help them learn more effectively.
- Make an action plan. Work out how you are going to help your child. This may include talking with your child’s teacher, researching options for home tutoring or setting aside time each day with your child to review the skills they are struggling with.
- Find out what assistance can be offered at school. You have to actively engage with your child’s teachers. Find out what they can and can’t do and be persistent and firm. If you have a psychological report, discuss this with the school and ask for their help with implementing the recommendations given.
- Talk with your child. There may be options to obtain additional support outside school hours; however, your child needs to be on board with any such plans.
- Help your child to set some goals. What do they want to focus on and learn? What are the most important things for them? What will help them most at school? What do they want to master first? A child as young as six can set goals. Write them down on a large piece of paper and stick them on the fridge or in your child’s room. If you need some help setting learning goals with your child, contact us and we can help.
- Seek additional support and advice. Consider some educational coaching sessions to help with action plans, motivation, goal setting, progress reviews, time management, organisation and study skills.
- Discover what motivates your child. Are they motivated by achievement or fear of failure? What rewards do they actively seek?
- Encourage, praise and reward your child for effort. They don’t have to get it right all the time! It’s vital to praise sustained effort (and not giving up easily) rather than only recognising achievement.
- Never, NEVER NEVER give up! Your child has a great deal of unfulfilled potential and as a parent you can help unlock this. It will be worth the effort!
Good luck and please feel free to get in touch if you would like some help with any of these tips!
Here’s to YOUR child’s success.
– Deborah (AKA “The Dyslexia Detective”! 🙂 )