TEACHING SOLUTIONS FOR DYSLEXICS
How the Right Brain Learns
STEP ONE:The Dyslexia Victoria Online approach to teaching the Dyslexic student begins with accepting that the right brain thinks in whole pictures, images and concepts as described under Seven Major Causes of Dyslexia.
Letters and numbers by themselves are very abstract and represent nothing to the right brain. "C-A-T" are only letters on their own or sounds which have no meaning to a Dyslexic. You can't put a real picture to a sound or a letter. This is not a disability, but a learning difference. Also, most of the words in our language are abstract and difficult to put an image to.
STEP TWO: Dyslexic students should be taught the appropriate skills for learning to print, spell, read, write sentence answers and work with arithmetic and mathematical concepts using their thinking and processing style.
These enable the right brain to change whole concrete images into the words and numbers the left brain understands. Most Dyslexic learning problems arise from the student having the wrong skills to print, spell, read and write.
For example, learning to spell words as they hear them (phonetically) they will spell most words incorrectly rather then use their natural ability to remember words as whole images that represent something. As a result they lose most of the decoding information that gives meaning and recognition to the words while reading which destroys comprehension.
STEP THREE: They should be taught their learning skills in complete, structured wholes. This will help the right brain recognize and identify images such as words and numbers and transfer that information to the area where language is processed in the left brain. This language area of the left brain will then give the word a sound.
A few of these problems and their solutions are listed below. A full coverage of dyslexic learning problems, their causes and solutions can be found in our manual "How the Right Brain Learns".
THE DYSLEXIA VICTORIA ONLINE METHOD FOR TEACHING THE DYSLEXIC STUDENT
The Dyslexia Victoria Online Method was created when we realized that Dyslexic students think in whole concrete images. This learning style is what causes their academic problems and determines which skills and teaching solutions they need for learning.
UNDERSTANDING THE DYSLEXIC LEARNING PROCESS
The right and left brain work together to process and store thoughts. The process begins with the right brain and left brain collecting incoming information through short term memory, then changing it into images and thoughts it can store in long term memory.
To work with words or numbers the right-brain dominant thinker primarily needs to recognize them as whole visual images that represent something they know or can relate it to, give it a name or meaning and then send this information to the left brain where language is processed.
When the right-brain dominant thinker has words and numbers processed and understands them they can then start to think, verbalize, write and analyze.
"WORDS ARE LIKE FOOTPRINTS"
One of my favourite examples of how to understand how the right brain recognizes and gives meaning to whole image symbols is the idea of foot prints. On their own they mean nothing other than an impression in the ground.
But for primitive man foot prints represented a real animal he could hunt and eat or one that would "hunt" and "eat" him! By identifying which animal this footprint symbol was connected to he could process this information, give a name to it, verbalize it to his hunting group and then decide to run to it or away from it!
Letters on their own represent nothing other than sounds. As part of a "whole" word image/symbol the combined letters will be a name that can be connected to something a right-brain thinker can imagine like what animal made a particular footprint.
Changing whole concrete images into printed words requires a totally different teaching approach for the Dyslexic student in which even the obvious learning tasks must be pointed out and demonstrated.
Also these students are intelligent and intuitive which means they can often unexpectedly fill in the blanks in an assignment. This fools teachers and psychologists into thinking the students are doing well enough not to warrant special training that accommodates their needs.
Five important teaching factors addressed by the DYSLEXIA VICTORIA ONLINE Method that help dyslexics learn:
1. Thinking in concrete images means they see everything in wholes, even a page of printed words. We must teach to them in concrete images.
2. Many of these students may not be able to read, spell, write or do mathematics using the traditional methods taught in school to express their thoughts and answers. We must help them develop appropriate skills for all of these learning topics.
3. They must be trained how to distinguish the parts within each"concrete whole" such as the printed letters inside words , words in sentences and sentences on a whole page. Until they can read the words (parts within the whole) and know what they represent, these students cannot locate the answers to questions in a story or poem.
4. Thinking in concrete wholes also causes them difficulty with the abstract. Numbers, sounds, letters and words all seem abstract to the student who processes information mostly form the right half of the brain. They need ways to work with abstract words and ideas that the right brain cannot easily change into concrete images or visualized pictures.
5. Thinking in wholes and unable to distinguish the parts within the whole image makes sequencing letters, words, numbers, sentences, ideas, lessons and instructions a major learning problem. This problem occurs in almost every learning situation they have from arithmetic factors through to writing essays.
Consequently, teaching the skills the dyslexic needs means teaching spelling, reading, writing and mathematics using methods that are based on real images and examples seen in the real world. These ideas are taught as "wholes": whole lessons, whole assignments, whole concepts, and complete systems of thinking and learning procedures. No shortcuts.
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