A Bailey - SEND Specalist
Some people are naturally articulate and well-read, but then their emails or texts are littered with spelling mistakes or at times their written work does not quite make sense. This is often a sign of, a specific learning difficulty, dyslexia. It is important to support dyslexia from an early age, however, until a student is in year three many of these challenges can be developmental. If the mismatch is continually glaring then the student should access greater support. But what should you do to help, and what are the next steps needed to support a student with dyslexia?
Firstly, you can now use voice or recording software, such as dictation or voice notes, which will allow students with dyslexia to record their ideas, effectively removing the pressure of having to write. It is important though to work on their writing skills alongside this.
There are some excellent programmes available e.g. Toe by Toe which helps focus on reading and literacy patterns, which subsequently will help a dyslexic student's writing. Committing to a daily programme of short tasks is very effective way of developing reading and writing skills quickly.
When your child has homework focused around their ideas, you could scribe for them and just add a note to their teacher explaining that you wanted their dyslexia to not affect this particular piece of homework. This allows the focus to become the content of their answers and not their spelling or grammar. This will also give the teacher a more rounded view of a student's education, more easily demonstrating the level of understanding that your child does possess. Scribing can also be turned into an exercise, where the student has to learn to spell keywords, and these could be added to their vocabulary list, to practice across the week..
If this variation of learning techniques is making a difference, ensure that you make detailed notes about what does and does not work for your child, and then arrange a meeting with your child's school. The aim of which, is to construct an action plan for their continuing dyslexia support. In the meeting:
- Share what challenges you have observed in your child's learning.
- Discuss how their responses to varying techniques you are using to support their dyslexia.
- Ask the school what techniques they are using to remove barriers to learning for other students with dyslexia.
Dyslexia is often an inherited condition, so if someone in the immediate family exhibits similar difficulties, it is important to share this with school. Arrange frequent meetings (once per term) with your child's school, to review how your child is progressing with their developing support plan. Ensure that any changes to this as your child progresses, are well communicated if very important.
Students with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, also display many other talents. Nurturing these talents is integral to ensure that learning remains fun. Remind your child that there are many high achievers with specific learning difficulties, and that they are constantly finding successes for themselves!