It’s time for my first contribution to Works for Me Wednesday! (Yay!)
WFMW is a weekly round-up of blog posts with helpful tips/ tricks for parents, teachers or just fellow bloggers- sometimes with a given subject, other times it’s just random. Since this is a random week I wanted to do a quick look at the subject that introduced me to the blogosphere- living with dyslexia.
Parents, if your child has dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalcula or even ADHD there are some things that may always be hard on them. Maps, numbers, writing, reading, simple memorization… things you may take for granted could be a struggle for your child. These things don’t necessarily have to hold them back from being confident and successful students, but they may need more encouragement or help to get to that point.
Common struggles for Individuals with Learning Disabilities (particularly Dyslexia):
May confuse right and left, up and down
May be poorly coordinated
May have trouble learning simple pattern tasks, such as tying shoe laces.
School Age +
May perform similar tasks differently from day to day
May read well but not write well, or write well but not read well
May be able to learn information presented in one way, but not in another
May have a short attention span, be impulsive, and/or be easily distracted
May misinterpret language, have poor comprehension of what is said
May find it difficult to memorize information
May have difficulty following a schedule, being on time, or meeting deadlines
May often misread or miscopy
May confuse similar letters or numbers, reverse them, or confuse their order
May have difficulty reading the newspaper, following small print, and/or following columns
May be able to explain things orally, but not in writing
May have difficulty writing ideas on paper
May reverse or omit letters, words, or phrases when writing
May have persistent problems with sentence structure, writing mechanics, and organizing written work
May experience continuous problems with spelling the same word differently in one document
In order to avoid their weaknesses and the frustrations and potential embarrassments, some children will act out and throw tantrums to take attention away from their perceived imperfections. Others will avoid homework and studying altogether either out of fear or an unattainable desire for perfection. Often these children do not act out or refuse to do work by any conscious choice, it is a defense mechanism against failure and embarrassment.
The best way to help your student who may be struggling to cope with their learning disability is to
– Exercise patience towards them and their progress. While deadlines should be given and respected, if possible, try not to put undue pressure on the student, as it may cause them to “lock up” out of fear. (If they do “lock up”, try to keep them focused on the small steps toward their goal. Find ways to distract them from any “big” or “looming” consequences. This should be enough to get them moving again!)
– For students with difficulties with memorization or learning, think outside the box. Have them draw out the concepts, create charts to represent the ideas or, at the very least, color-code similar ideas. If the student has difficulty drawing, find pictures for them (or have an older student print out a picture) to represent concepts or key words. ( I find drawing out the word and decorating it helps with memorization of spelling words.)
– Students with difficulty memorizing schedules or keeping track of time should be encouraged to create charts or pictures of their schedules or set extra alarms on their phones. Perhaps a “Time is drawing to a close soon”, “Time is almost up” “Time to leave” alarm- one for every stage of getting ready or work so the student does not feel rushed, but does have the constant reminders to keep moving forward.
– Keep material as lively as possible, with many pictures or illustrations as possible, both for keeping a student engaged (critical with ADHD) and simple concept-recognition for other LD types.
– Allow students who are having trouble reading assignments to copy and “blow up” pages from a textbook so they can read easier and highlight important sections or words.
I will be sharing more insights for teachers, parents and those of us who struggle to cope with our Learning Disabilities soon. However- next post will be highlighting a great new work called The Mercy House Kenya! 🙂 Stay Tuned!