The first years of life are essential in a child’s development. Thus, learning to talk, run, play and read are fundamental parts of the learning process. The pleasure and motivation for reading expand the communication and cognition skills of our learners in this phase of life. However, many children have more communicative difficulties, even more evident in the literacy period. This can be a sign of dyslexia.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the learning of reading in around 5% of the child school population. Although children with this disorder initially try to have an interest in learning to read, over time their performance is not compatible with their intelligence.
Children with dyslexia have difficulty matching words to their sounds. They often swap letters and cannot understand texts or concepts in general. All this leads to serious reading problems, which get even worse at school. This makes, in many cases, parents and teachers think it is laziness or any other type of problem, emotional or behavioural.
The child with dyslexia has cognitive difficulty with auditory and visual processes. That is, they take longer to make associations involving symbols, metaphors, word construction and spatial orientation. However, their ability to learn is not neurologically impaired.
What is the Difference between Dyslexia and Dysgraphia?
Dyslexia is the difficulty in relating sound to symbol and affects reading and textual comprehension. Dysgraphia is also a language problem but linked to writing and the motor ability to draw the letters, which come out irregular or wrong. Now, you just need to put into practice the knowledge presented throughout the text and improve your educational process.
Difficulties in Reading
A child may take a long time trying to read a word. Frustration can make them stay away from books and consequently lose (or not acquire!) the pleasure of reading. Therefore, the choice of books is fundamental in helping these children.
Curriculum adaptation is the first step towards teaching children with dyslexia in a mainstream school. Through this tool, all the pedagogical staff of the institution should analyse the contents that will be presented to the class during the school year. From there, adjustments need to be made in terms of classroom activities, the assessment process, the structure of the topics covered, among other issues.
Initially, books with short and simpler words, small text and capital letters are indicated in the reading process; over time, the text may become larger, with more complex words until the child acquires the ideal speed for fluent reading aloud; instigating, current themes related to their culture may provide greater motivation to keep up the activity.
Using Technology in the Classroom
Technology in the classroom is a teacher’s ally when dealing with dyslexic learners. This is because it expands the learning possibilities. Invest, therefore, in the use of
- interactive games related to literacy, word searches, etc.
- films and documentaries as complementary activities;
- Power Point presentations with images that help in the associative process for textual comprehension.
The Moment of Learning through Play
Depending on the form of teaching with which they come into contact, dyslexic children begin to see the learning moment as something bad. Thus, all work with reading, literacy and textual interpretation should be done using playful techniques. It is the famous learning by playing.
To carry out this process invest in games that work auditory perception, rhythm, concentration, notion of word length and visual perception. Some possibilities are
- activities with rhymes;
- games with clapping, encouraging the student to repeat a certain sequence;
- games with syllable formation;
- games with seven mistakes and word search;
- Where’s Wally” games to find a certain figure in a messy scenario.
Little Ones with Dyslexia can Become Readers!
The family can and should introduce the habit of reading at home. Pleasurable moments always positively reinforce your child’s development!
It is extremely important that the family and school are sensitive enough to detect these difficulties through guidance, monitoring by specialist professionals and adaptations – such as offering more time for the child to read and encouraging reading aloud to help the child’s comprehension. What everyone needs to know is that a child with dyslexia can learn and enjoy reading, provided differential strategies are used and the child’s learning time is respected, which is naturally slower than that of proficient children.
Encouraging the magnificent universe of reading is one of the main tools which will provide the child with security in its school, family, and social environment.