CONSIDERATION FOR A SCHOOL PROGRAM FOR A DYSLEXIC STUDENT
1. Assessments for:
- Irlen Syndrome screening
- Eye test for convergence and tracking problems
- Determination of the student’s dominant ear
- Best environment for school and home for studying:
-music or tv on or off
-minimize distraction from other people or family pets while studying or needs the noise and movement to focus
-standing or sitting down at home and school
-sitting at front of class to aid with less distraction from other students, have dominant ear in direction of teacher and see the board easier
-testing in separate room from other students to help concentration and focus,
-extra time for tests or do tests orally
-movement accommodations for kinesthetic children
-lighting issues(fluorescent lights can be very aggravating and cause issues for those with Irlen Syndrome)
-other testing if appropriate for other issues indicated
- Psycho-educational testing through private or school psychologists
2. Dyslexics are picture thinkers first and then words. This accounts for being tongue-tied, slow to answer, using the wrong word, etc. Give them time to sort out what they are trying to say or write. If they want assistance, give it but don’t automatically correct or jump in with what they want to say. They will start to shut down due to the embarrassment. See our “Dyslexia or Being Right Brained”
3. Teaching Dyslexics in concrete big picture top down methods. See our “Dyslexia or Being Right Brained”
4. Dyslexics do not due well with straight memorization like the times tables or sequential teaching. They need to understand something completely and concretely. If teaching something abstract like division, find ways to physically demonstrate it and then connect it to the abstract part. For example, fractions can be demonstrated with whole objects such as oranges and extra oranges to cut in fractions. The parts of the orange can then be connected with quarters. = ¼ Always remember to have a whole orange there also. They need the “whole” to see the “part”. See our “Dyslexia or Being Right Brained”.
5. Use teaching methods that promote sight word spelling and reading. See our “14 Steps to Teach Dyslexics how to Spell & Read”.
6. Learn to teach Dyslexics in specifics, not generalizations. Dyslexics tend to not see the obvious when listening to new information, but instead create many different takes on what they hear and need to know what you want them to focus on. See our “Dyslexia or Being Right Brained”
7. Assist students with Dysgraphia with methods that can improve their writing skills and directionality problems and accommodate them with different aids including a computer.
We often hear this is not fair to other students. Dyslexia experts such Neil Mackay say the computer levels the playing field for Dyslexics working with other classmates who don’t have reading, spelling and writing issues. See our “Dyslexia or Being Right Brained”
8. Determine what the student’s best sense and second (kinesthetic, auditory or visual) and then work them into their class and home work. This is where multi-sensory teaching can be so effective but needs to be focused on for that particular student.
For example, if a person does not do well with auditory information – can’t understand it easily or retain it, they need to utilize their more effective senses. Say they are strong visually and kinesthetically; the use of videos, mindmaps, charts, posters, hands-on materials would be much more effective.
I always ask adults to think how learning something new is best for them and if they don’t get info their way, how difficult it is to learn new things. Now understanding that, apply it to children who are in a constant environment of learning that is largely abstract and often presented mostly auditorily.
Creating a strong multi-sensory teaching program can help all students in a classroom do much better for learning, processing and retention. See our “Dyslexia or Being Right Brained” and “How the Right Brain Learns”.
9. I cannot emphasize enough how important an Irlen Screening is for all students and especially Dyslexics. Irlen Syndrome is a perceptual processing disorder due to a problem with the brain’s ability to process visual information. It causes the sufferer to have visual distortions when trying to read or look at something on a white background such as a book, a white board, smart boards or computer screens and working under fluorescent lights.
They can also experience headaches, stomach issues, dizziness, and other physical issues. Irlen Syndrome affects about 20% of the general population and 44% of Dyslexics and other people with learning disabilities. If the student is experiencing it slightly to the extreme, any learning is impacted, especially reading. I suggest going to www.irlen.com for more information. There are many accommodations and adjustments to deal with this problem. Irlen.com can direct you to local certified screeners and diagnosticians for glasses and contacts in your area.
10. Some Dyslexics are experiencing convergence or tracking problems that can severely affect the student’s ability to do their school work. We strongly suggest a specific eye exam for these issues along with a normal vision test. There are vision therapy programs available through opthamalogists who special in this type of treatment. Ask your pediatrician, eye doctor, or check through the internet for a local doctor who specializes in vision therapy.
11. Dominant ear is beginning to be recognized as an important part of an effective teaching program for Dyslexics. There are many different ways to determine this. Easiest is take note which ear the Dyslexic uses to talk on the phone. Next make sure the student sits at the front of the classroom and has that ear pointed at the teacher. Teachers will sometimes notice a student staring out the window and think they are daydreaming. The student might instinctively be turning their strong ear towards the teacher. This is not an issue with hearing loss, this concerns which of their ears processes what they are hearing most effectively.
12. Utilize mind mapping techniques in the classroom for all subjects for all ages. Dyslexics can learn, retain and access information so well, bordering on a photographic memory with this technique.
These methods, accommodations and more can be found in our “Dyslexia Victoria Online Teaching Program for Dyslexics”.