I remember when my oldest son was three - he was oh so proud to show me the picture of a banana he had drawn. He had also written out the complete alphabet - but - not A-Z. No, no he had written it Z-A and every single letter was also written backwards. I immediately thought - how incredible that he could do that. My next instant thought - is what are we going to do?!
If you have a child with dyslexia, you may be wondering how to best support their unique learning needs. As a mother whose child has dyslexia, I understand the challenges that dyslexia presents.I also know that with the right strategies and a supportive environment, children with dyslexia can thrive academically. In this blog post, I'll provide you with valuable insights into dyslexia, its impact on learning, and practical tactics that homeschooling moms can use to empower their children with dyslexia.
- Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the brain's ability to process language, leading to difficulties in reading, writing, and spelling.
- It can often affect math too - as numbers can get mixed up or out of order
- It is essential to recognize that dyslexia does not reflect a lack of intelligence or effort. It is simply a different way of processing information.
- I really want to emphasize that people with dyslexia have AMAZING brains. They think in ways that people without dyslexia simply cannot. They are often more creative, logical, engineering minded and have excellent spatial ability.
Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment:
- Foster a nurturing and supportive atmosphere where your child feels safe to explore and learn at their own pace - While still maintaining progress.
- Celebrate their strengths and encourage their unique talents. Remember that dyslexia often comes with strengths in areas such as creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
- Let them have a hand in what they are learning - give options to choose from for science or history. Maybe use audio books for reading. While you may have a reading list for them - maybe swap some of those books out for books of their choosing.
- Engage multiple senses during learning activities to reinforce concepts and improve retention. Incorporate visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements into your lessons.
- Use manipulatives, educational games, and interactive online resources to enhance the learning experience.
- Hands on learning is often so important for these kids. Instead of reading about botany - start a garden or dissect a flower. When learning about a time in history - visit a living history museum, have them help you make a meal of foods that were popular at the time, etc. If learning about other countries - maybe they would like to build the Great Wall of China or an Egyptian pyramid.
- Lapbooks are very helpful for this too - it allows writing of specific things to learn - while also having a crafting aspect.
Structured and Sequential Instruction:
- Break down lessons into smaller, manageable steps. Provide clear instructions and support your child in understanding the sequence of tasks.
- Use visual aids, such as flowcharts or graphic organizers, to help your child visualize the structure of the lesson or assignment.
- Use timers - allow brief “intermission” instead of a “break” - A break often implies opportunity for a longer time away from a task - where an “intermission” implies getting back to it.
- Allow rewards for accomplishments. Maybe your child can only do math for 10 min - once that 10 min is complete give a reward of something else they enjoy doing - but no more than the amount of time that they were doing actual math. Make the work equal the reward.
- Dyslexic learners often benefit from explicit and systematic phonics instruction. Focus on teaching the relationship between sounds and letters, blending, and segmenting words.
- Use multisensory approaches, such as tapping out sounds or incorporating movement, to reinforce phonics skills.
- Often integrating multiple curricula that work well together can be more effective.
Individualized Learning Plans:
- Create personalized learning plans that cater to your child's specific strengths and areas of challenge. This may involve adapting curriculum materials or incorporating specialized interventions.
- Set achievable goals and provide regular feedback and praise to boost your child's confidence and motivation.
- Explore the use of assistive technology tools that can support reading, writing, and organization skills. Examples include text-to-speech software, speech recognition tools, and digital organizers.
- These tools can help level the playing field and provide your child with the necessary support to overcome reading and writing barriers.
- These tools can be great - but I CAUTION you - often kids with dyslexia also have ADD or ADHD - it is very easy for these kids to get so sucked into technology that you and they don’t realize it is a problem until it is a BIG problem.
- Implement reading strategies that focus on decoding, comprehension, and fluency. Break down texts into smaller chunks, use visualization techniques, and encourage repeated reading for increased familiarity.
- Read aloud to your child regularly to model proper fluency and expression. Engage in discussions about the text to deepen comprehension. Also consider reading aloud instead of silent reading. This can be done as a family, by a parent or taking turns with the children. We always had a read aloud book that we would take camping with us. We would also have read aloud time when we had group history that spanned multiple age groups for our kids. Other families have evening read aloud time as a time to come together.
Positive Reinforcement and Emotional Support:
- Recognize and celebrate your child's achievements, no matter how small. Provide positive reinforcement and encouragement to build their self-esteem.
- Offer emotional support during challenging times. Remind your child that dyslexia is not a reflection of their intelligence or worth.
- Take time for yourself - this is hard!
Remember, homeschooling offers a unique opportunity to provide tailored support and foster a positive learning environment for children with dyslexia. By understanding dyslexia, creating an inclusive atmosphere, implementing a multi-sensory approach, using structured instruction, individualizing learning plans, incorporating assistive technology, utilizing reading strategies, and offering emotional support, you can empower your child and help them unlock their full potential.
I know this is ALOT. Seek support, co-ops, even courses or services.
Be sure to check out the Homeschool Resources Sale for homeschool helps and supplemental things that can help with engagement.