Signs That Your Child Might Have Dyslexia and What You Can Do To Help
Dyslexia is a learning disability that often runs in the family. Aside from seeking professional help, parents have a major role to play in their child’s reading journey.
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that causes reading and writing difficulties. According to reading specialist Mr. Jose Cecilio Pascual, dyslexia affects one’s “ability to remember and process sounds within words.” It makes it difficult to connect sounds with the printed symbol, i.e. letters and words.
Largely genetic, those affected by dyslexia are likely to have difficulty in school, and therefore need professional help. Going to learning centers such as Readability Center can help children and adults overcome learning difficulties and become more effective and independent learners.
Signs of Dyslexia
Mr. Pascual, a Reading Education masteral candidate at the University of the Philippines and the administrator of Readability Center, emphasizes the importance of early detection and intervention. Catching dyslexia early can give children a big chance in overcoming the condition and to improve their scholastic performance.
Parents, therefore, must watch out for the following signs of dyslexia, as shared by Mr. Pascual, in their young or school-age children. Difficulty in any of the following does not automatically mean that there is a problem, though, and only a professional assessment can validate your hunch.
Watch out for difficulty in the following in your young child:
• Recognizing letters
• Matching letters to sounds
• Blending sounds into speech
• Pronouncing words, for example saying “mawn lower” instead of “lawn mower”
• Learning and correctly using new vocabulary words
• Learning the alphabet, numbers, and days of the week or similar common word sequences
Watch out for difficulty in the following in your school-age child:
• Mastering the rules of spelling
• Remembering facts and numbers
• Handwriting or with gripping a pencil
• Learning and understanding new skills; instead, relying heavily on memorization
• Reading and spelling, such as reversing letters (d, b) or moving letters around (left, felt)
• Following a sequence of directions
• Trouble with word problems in math
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Helping a Child with Dyslexia
According to Mr. Pascual, “explicit, systematic, and multisensory approaches in teaching are effective ways in helping children with dyslexia and other learning disorders.” The best persons, then, to help a child struggling with reading are trained reading specialists who can implement teaching methods specific to a child’s needs. Getting help from experts is an important step towards helping dyslexic children not only to read but also to be successful in a world that largely thrives on the written word.
This is not to say, however, that parents cannot do anything to help their struggling child. Mr. Pascual recommends the following strategies that parents can do to improve their child’s reading skills as well as to help alleviate feelings of frustration.
• Read aloud to your child as soon as you can. “Early exposure to print and language is the best way to prepare a child in future challenges in reading,” says Mr. Pascual. Stories can be in the mother tongue (dialect), in Filipino, and English in order to expose children to the sounds and rhythm of language.
• Show letter-sound correspondence systematically with the use of flashcards and other phonics activities.
• Expose your child to sight words, which are building blocks in a child’s ability to read, through pictures, music, repetition, and games.
• Break down work into appropriate chunks, says Mr. Pascual, “because the academic demands on a child with dyslexia may be great and the child may tire easily.”
• Ask for accommodation from your child’s school so that alternatives to traditional written assignments can be explored and utilized.
Early detection and intervention are necessary for a child when struggling with dyslexia. However, even though children will greatly benefit from learning sessions with trained specialists, parents still have a big role to play in their children’s reading journey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mariel Uyquiengco
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