Dyslexia: Five Helpful Tips
Whether you yourself have dyslexia and have grown up living with the challenges faced by people with dyslexia, or you are beginning a completely new subject with your dyslexic child and are looking for advice and assistance, there are a number of computing tools that will help your child to learn and grow in a healthy and safe environment.
It can be stressful and frustrating to have to cope with dyslexia while at school. Children may find themselves struggling or lagging behind their classmates when it comes to reading comprehension, or spelling, and this can be really hard. If a child take a little longer than others in their class to follow or understand a lesson, they are normally called out for being ‘slow’ or even ‘not as smart’ as other children in the class and this really isn’t very fair. In reality, every child has different strengths and weaknesses and different ways in which they learn. Taking a little longer to learn a lesson does not mark your child out as ‘slow’ in any way, although it can be hard to explain this to a small child.
When it comes to reading and spelling comprehension, there are a number of tools you can install on your computer or mobile device – as well as one actual card game – that provide helpful and useful tips and tricks for your child. Above all else, what your child needs to hear from you is encouragement; so give your full support to your child with the help of these easy learning activities and apps.
Dyslexia – Font Face
Dyslexie first garnered attention late last year as a font that had been specifically designed for people and children with dyslexia to be able to read. Because of the shape and size of the font, it makes it easier to differentiate between similar letters, such as p, b and d. The style of the font makes each letter stand out in a unique way, making it harder for the child to mix letters up when reading or spelling out things.
As intelligent life forms we are constantly looking at ways of grouping together similar objects and finding ways to differentiate from one letter to another. The way Dyslexie works is that it distorts each letter, enlarging the hoop of the ‘p’ for example to make it easier to discern it from a b. While this may not seem like a very big difference for people without dyslexia, this can make all the difference when learning to read and write as a child with dyslexia.
TRUGs – Card Game
This nifty little game stands for Teach Reading Using Games and uses a simple game mechanic with specifically designed trading cards to help improve reading comprehension. The game is set out at ‘comprehension stages’ meaning there is a learning stage for each child, depending on how advanced their reading comprehension is. There are also three difficulty levels of the game to play; Get it (Easy), Match it (Medium) and Take it (Hard). Each stage comes with a grey card to be read out by the teacher or parent, which explains what, is covered within that stage.
Each stage also has a corresponding story booklet in which there are two stories that can be read in order to help consolidate what is learned. The story is read by the student and used as a means of assessment, which then allows the teacher or the helper to see how well the student is currently doing at that level.
Alphabetical Keyboard – App
Some children with dyslexia can find it very hard to learn on an average ‘QWERTY’ keyboard; however with an abundance of helpful apps on the Apple and Android (other OS available) stores, you can change the appearance of the keyboard on your child’s mobile device to an alphabetical keyboard. This means that all the letters are in alphabetical order, which helps children to find a more traditional way of looking for the letter that they need while typing.This works particularly well for younger children who haven’t yet started to learn how to type, or for children who really aren’t getting on with the QWERTY keyboard. A good example of an alphabetical keyboard app is DyslexiaKey, an app that is completely free.
Text to Speech Tools
It is important to consolidate lessons learned with spoken word, so text to speech is an incredibly useful tool when it comes to helping children with dyslexia. In addition to this, many learners with dyslexia find information easier to process when they listen to it rather than reading it on a piece of paper or on a computer screen. Many text to speech tools are completely free and easily allow for written text to be spoken aloud to the child using a programmed voice.
Along a similar vein to predictive text when texting on a mobile, there are a number of highly accurate word prediction programs which can be used by your child, making it easier for him or her to construct sentences. The ability to predict what will be typed helps your child to gain a better understanding of reading and writing as well as gaining confidence in their own abilities without having to suffer the embarrassment of trying again and again to spell a certain word or use a certain phrase.
We live in a world where the potential answer to your problem is a mere Google search away, however it can be difficult for teachers who have to supervise thirty children to take time out to help each individual child. There are also specialist companies and schools dedicated to helping children with dyslexia to learn and grow and develop just as swiftly as children without dyslexia. It is all about finding a balance and parents can really help with that
It can sometimes be a difficult condition to live with; however as a parent you must not let that hinder your child’s progress in any way. In fact now is the best time to make use of technologies that help your child to learn in a way in which he or she feels most comfortably.