Dyslexia- some tips (as advised by the British Dyslexia Assosiation)
Work at home can be a frustrating and upsetting experience for dyslexic students and their parents.
For a student with dyslexia it's not just the homework task itself that can be challenging, many dyslexic people can really struggle with organisation, concentration and short term memory. All of these things can make homework a daily source of confusion and frustration. This can result in a reluctance to try and poor self-confidence.
There are strategies that every parent can put in place to support their child's learning.
Establish a routine
Dyslexic learners may find it difficult to maintain concentration for long periods of time and may get tired quickly, so it's a good idea to create a routine which emphasises 'a little and often' rather than trying to squeeze too much work into a longer session.
Remember to take after-school activities into account when you develop your homework plan.
Encourage your child to write down what is needed for the next day and to check the list before they leave for school/college.
Support your child
Be encouraging. Praise your child when they are trying their best, and focus your praise 'It was really good when you..'.
Go over homework instructions together to make sure they understand what they are supposed to do. You can help your child to prepare for tasks and generate ideas together before they start work.
If your child has difficulty writing homework down at school or remembering tasks, talk to their teacher so that the homework is given to them on a worksheet or can be accessed via the school's website.
Help your child learn to check their own work, so this becomes a natural part of the homework routine as they get older. Your child may find working on a computer easier than writing. Show them how to use the spellcheck facility and help them learn to touch type.
Other useful strategies include:
- Reading work out loud or using text-to-speech software to read work back – this can help to identify errors that your child might miss when they read silently
- Making a list of frequent spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes to check against. For example, if your child often misses capital letters, make sure that's on the list.
Dyslexic people can really struggle with organisation. For an older child technology such as a mobile phone will be a helpful tool. They can take photos of any important information, set reminders of important events or deadlines and record voice messages as a reminder.
Other useful strategies are to:
- Help your child to make a written homework plan which includes tasks and deadlines, and revision plans.
- Colour-code subjects and make sure all notes for a particular subject are kept together in folders.
- Create visual reminders such as a prominent calendar or 'to do' list.
Try to help your child build successful study skills for example, by creating a revision timetable, by using different techniques for revising and reviewing learning, e.g. using mindmaps, by talking through or recording what they've learned, or by thinking of different ways to complete a particular task.
Encourage them to think of coping strategies for when they get 'stuck'. For example, who would be the right person to ask for help if they are unable to tackle a problem on their own
How to help a child with dyspraxia
Children with dyspraxia are perfectly capable of learning alongside their peers; they may just need some extra attention and support from time to time. Awareness is the first step and can make all of the difference in helping a child to reach his or her full potential at school.
While not as well known as other learning difficulties, dyspraxia in children is relatively common, with 6-10% of the population affected, to some degree. A child with dyspraxia may experience problems at school, including difficulty in handwriting his or her work, performing other tasks that require fine motor skills and planning and organisation aspects.
Nonetheless, parents and teachers can help students with learning difficulties by recognizing the root cause of a child’s performance issues and providing appropriate support, to make it easier for the dyspraxic child to be successful in the classroom.
What is dyspraxia?
Also known as developmental coordination disorder, dyspraxia results when a child’s brain is unable to effectively coordinate physical movements with the body’s muscles. Although the cause of dyspraxia is still unknown, it is thought to be genetic and is more commonly observed in boys than girls. Some researchers also cite a tendency for dyslexia and dyspraxia to present together.
There are four common types of dyspraxia. Oromotor can cause a child to have difficulty annunciating words, constructional dyspraxia is more to do with spatial relationships, ideational impacts on the ability to perform coordinated movements in a sequence and ideomotor dyspraxia poses a problem for single-step tasks.
The result is a host of symptoms that range from balance and posture issues to problems with using writing utensils, and even slurred speech. Dyspraxia not only impacts on physical abilities but can also cause poor planning, organisation and social skills.
Although early symptoms may be observed in toddlers, a diagnosis is not usually made until children reach the age of 5 and their coordination difficulties are shown to be unrelated to muscle strength and not the result of other neurological conditions.
Dyspraxia at home
Dyspraxia is not something a child will grow out of, but occupational, motor and speech therapy can make a difference. In addition, simply listening to your child and helping him or her process emotions experienced over the course of the day can be helpful.
As dyspraxic individuals often struggle with sequence organisation, you can help young children to improve narrative skills by talking about their day and breaking actions down into individual steps. Rehearse the order in which everyday routines, such as getting dressed and having breakfast, occur.
You might also model planning skills by keeping a family calendar, making lists on blackboards and providing other tools to support your child, such as clearly labelled folders and containers for storing toys and school assignments.
More Learning Activities (with a twist)
This page contains lots of ideas for activities which you can do at home with your children, further activities can also be found in the SENSORY STAR
Harry Potter from home - lots of great activities for budding wizards
Messy Little monsters - lots of indoor and outdoor play activities
Scouts - lots of fun ideas to do
Views from a step stool - 30 day printable lego challenge
Pbskids - online games
Highlight Kids - online games, jokes and activities
Primary Playground - lots of great activities including lots of different scavenger hunts
Lego scavenger hunt
The creator of ‘Captain Underpants’ is offering free cartoon drawing lessons in partnership with the Library of Congress and Scholastic. That you will be able to access all videos on Scholastic websites and social media from 3 April