Colorful Minds: How to help your dyslexic child build strengths beyond reading
What Is A Colorful Mind?
My colorful background... I'm a dyslexic mom with two learning disabled teens.
One child shares my dyslexia, and the other has what's called an auditory processing disorder and cerebral palsy.
We found that kids who have learning disorders compensate in amazing ways to learn, love and lead an exceptional life.
Intervention is the key to a dyslexic’s success. If you identified the problem and are getting an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), your child is already ahead of the 1/3 of the unidentified dyslexic students who are not receiving any help at all.
Honestly, there are no costly programs that will have your child magically reading within a month. A dyslexic’s ability to read and write is a development that only comes with time. But you can help your child improve skills that come naturally to dyslexics.
Teaching your child the basics of active listening, showing them how to identify important information, and supplying them with the tools for proper participation, gives your child a good foundation for their education.
I’ll begin with the most important:
Simply listening gives dyslexics a huge advantage in the classroom.
Active listening is a skill that gives dyslexics power over their weaknesses.
How Multi-Sensory Memory Works
Active listening means giving speakers full attention.
A dyslexic listener has the ability to take information from several sources, like teachers, other students, home and classroom media, and pull it together to form a complete understanding of the material presented. From there, they create a multiple-sensory memory in their mind.
Skilled active listeners can quickly and easily absorb and own any material without the added stress of relying on reading.
Teachers encourage active listening by establishing eye-contact and engaging the students with questions and open forums.
Parents can do the same by asking specific questions and discussing the answers. Examples:
- What did you do today? Is too open and you’ll never get an answer.
- What did you learn in history today? Will get you results.
Parents can support and develop active listening at home by reading non-reading class materials and text aloud. This will provide an extra opportunity for questions and review of the day’s class work. Also, offer to read homework instructions and homework questions for your child.
Non-reading class coursework includes, history, math, science, health, ect...
Do be available to help with works for reading class homework.
The Body Language of Teachers
-Sorting Out What Is Important-
Let them in on the secret. Teachers don’t want their students to fail so they offer clues which outline their expectations. As they teach, they'll feed students everything they need to know for a exam or a project. Some of these clues are unconscious and nonverbal.
Help your child identify the body language and verbal cues of teachers that say, “This is important.”
- They will take a step forward during a statement.
- They will make a forward gesture with their hand.
- They will take a pause from talking. (This says "you should be writing down the last thing I said.")
- They will write it on the board or ask you to write it down.
- They will simply say "This is important"
Great Learning Tips For Perceptual Memory Learners
- Supply Tools for Participation –
It’s important for dyslexics to learn how to engage and participate in and out of the classroom. Since it will be awhile before they catch up with peers in reading and writing, they must be able to communicate effectively.
Begin by helping your child increase his/her vocabulary. A child who sounds smart and has something to say, won't be ignored or patronized by adults and teachers who don’t understand dyslexia. Plus, they won’t feel dumb among peers when questioned about why they can’t read simple graffiti.
However, vocabulary drills are boring. Many dyslexic kids have a vocabulary above their grade level. Read books beyond their grade level aloud to them. This increases their vocabulary and stimulates visual imagination in the brain. Read your child great books and they will know what they are missing by not reading, and they will try harder, really!
Still, nothing is worse than making a fifth-grader read a kindergarten level book with talking ducks just because you want them to read for themselves.
Go to the bookstore or library and explore, graphic novels, magazines with topics of interests. There are also thousands of cheep picture books on everything from Deadly Animals to Ripley’s believe it or Not on the sale shelves. Reading anything is better than reading nothing.
Finally, encourage your child to be vocal.
A dyslexic child must not be afraid of asking what might be silly or dumb questions. This is important because if they stumble on a 3-letter sight word, they'll need to ask adults and peers for help.
Bring them on museum and educational tours and encourage them to ask the guide questions. Junior Ranger Programs at parks are also a non-threatening way to get them to participate, plus they’ll learn something.
Incorporating these basic skills into your child's educational plan will enable them to become a lifelong participant in their education. I wish you and your child the best.
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