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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Being different is one of the most beautiful THINGS

Dyslexia should be seen as a different learning ability rather than as a disability. It only. becomes a disability if it goes unrecognized and the teaching is inappropiate, resulting in the child's failure to gain competence in literay. A lack of such competence is a real handicap in today's society.

The term dyslexia has been used because it seems to be the most widely used and most appropiate term. It has been coined from the Greek and literally means difficult with (dys) words (lexis). It refers to difficulty with words read, words spelt, words pronounced, words written, and association of meanings with words.

In most research projects it seems  that there is a small group who do not fit nealty into the particular findings. This underlines the danger of dogmatic statements with regard to the nature of dyslexia and emphasizes the paramount importance of seeing each pupil as an individual.
An awarness that there are certain teaching methods and practical approaches which are effective with such children is essential for class teachers of both junior and senior schools and, in many instances, may also be of relevance to adult literacy tutors.

The Dyslexic Child's Feelings

It is worth repeating that difficulties with reading, spelling and hand-writing may have nothing to do with intelligence. 
Such difficulties can be found in a perspn of any IQ, from low to high. They are, though, easier to spot in a brighter person because his literacy difficulties surprises parents and teachers. Professor Tim Miles, who has done much research into dyslexia, often says of the dyslexic child's performance, it just doesn't seem to add up! The brighter the child the more frustrated he can become. He cannot analyze why he cannot cope. His friends seem to be able to read and spell without any problem. Why can't he?  If teachers tell him either that he's stupid or lazy, or even merely fail to provide reassurance to the contrary, he comes to believe just that.
In every classroom there is probably a dyslexic child; it is probable, of course, that in many classes there are more than one. The situation is often masked when a very bright child gets by as average and is told that he must improve his spelling, handwriting and reading accuracy. Class teachers and subject teachers cannot be expected to give enough individual attention to any one pupil experiencing difficulties, but recognition of the learning difficulty and support in the form of learning strategies can do much for the confidence of a dyslexic child in class.


As all teachers know, children get teased by others and ridiculed about their misuse and mispronunciation of words. We should think how we feel in a foreign country , especially if foreigners start laughing at our attempts in their language! Steps need to be taken quickly to scotch such mockery.
The following are some suggestions for helping the child with a speech and language processing problem:

1.  Listen carefully to the child’s speech – and believe your ears!
2. Speak more slowly and face the child.
3. Children need to develop good listening habits, including eye contact. Time for exchange of news in pairs or small groups is well spent. It often helps if small groups in, for instance, infant classes sit in a circle and face each other for News Time.
4. Tapping or clapping rhythms. Children may begin by tapping or clapping the syllables/beats of their own names, including emphasizing any stressed syllables - e.g. Joh-a-thon, Ka-tie, Paul, Al-ex-an-der, Ja-mie. Gradual progression should be made to words which they tend mispronounce, and later to words that they tend misspell.
5. Communicating through rhythm alone, as with the African Talking Drums. A game may be played by the teacher clapping the rhythm of a nursery rhyme or po-song seeing who can recognize it.
6. Ensure that a child understands the meaning of the key words when he is being spoken when he is reading. Viaul clues (pictures) are useful back up to spoken or written information. If working on a particular topic in class, the child may require the key vocabulary to be repeated several times before it is firmly established. Older children value flow diagrams with colour support.
7. A string of requests should be given separately, if possible going on to the second after the first has been accomplished, and so on. Parents' help can be enlisted on to iron out confusions over their requests of the Take off your boots, go upstarirs and wash your hands type. It is helpful to encourage children to create a picture in their minds of the information to be remembered, e.g. taking off dirty boots, seeing themselves walking upstairs and washing their hands; or similarly, doing a task in a school.
8. Requests need to be constructed for such children to ensure that the meaning is really understood. Gestures by the teacher or parents often preclude the understanding of words; it is the gestures alone that are understood.
9. Over a period of time the number of a string of requests can be gradually increased. This can be played as a game in class; e.g. the teacher asks a child to go to the front of the room, take three pencils from the desk, give one to Gavin, one to Karen and one to Stephen, then go and sit down.
10. It often helps to give children opportunities to demonstrate their understanding in practical ways. They may not be able to find the correct language to classify the arranged materials 
11. In a classroom discussion or in a family discussion, people should try to ensure that the child is involved in at least one direct remark. The child should be given time and help, and not put under pressure, for he must a) understand, b) find the appropiate vocabulary, c) string his thoughts into a grammatical construction which can be understood. All this may not come easily initially, a one- word response maybe all that he achieves, but he has at least been included. As confidence grows he can be encouraged to attempt more complex replies
12. When a new concept has been introduced to the class it is helpful if, on ocassions, the child with comprehension difficulties can be a teacher and explain the new information to someone else or on to a tape, it will then become more secure in that child's understanding.

"There is a saying that If the child does not learn in the way in which we teach, then we must teach him in the way in which he learns. 
Let dyslexia, be looked at from a different angle, not as a learning disability but a different learning ability and treat the dyslexic child accordingly."

Reference: Day-to-Day Dyslexia in the Classroom
 By Rody Politt, Joy Pollock, Elisabeth Walle