Dyslexia can be a complicated learning difficulty to help, mostly because you can’t be completely sure what your child is struggling with since it’s all going on inside their head. As someone who has lived with Dyslexia all their life. I’m going to give you 5 ESSENTIAL Strategies To Help Dyslexic People
I’m also including tips for Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia & Left-Right Disorder in this list. As discussed previously, they are different conditions but for the sake of brevity and since they tend to be diagnosed together, they are included.
Before we get started if you’re unsure what the terms above mean, it’s all covered in our previous blog “What Is Dyslexia”. It’s a base knowledge, easy to understand blog that I highly suggest you read before you get to this one. If you fancy reading it click the link below:
Ok cool, read it? Great! let’s get started with 5 ESSENTIAL Strategies To Help Dyslexic People
#1: Multi-Sensory Learning
So before I get into this tip. We need a little bit of background into the science of Dyslexia. (I’m sorry, it’ll be brief I promise). Dyslexic and Non Dyslexic brains work in different ways. Let me explain.
So the brain is broken up into 2 hemispheres, left and right, and these are in charge of different things [top represents frontal lobe and bottom represents back lobe] (see below)
LEFT BRAIN —————————————————RIGHT BRAIN
ANALYTIC THOUGHT HOLISTIC THOUGHT
LANGUAGE (Reading) CREATIVITY
Dyslexic brains focus more on the right hemisphere, especially at the frontal lobe (Holistic Thought) than those without Dyslexia. This means when they read a word it takes longer to get to the part of the brain that allows them to decode it.
OK SO WITH THIS IN MIND Tip 1 of 5 Essential Strategies To Help Dyslexic People. Multi-sensory Learning!
If Dyslexic people struggle with traditional ways of learning language and literacy because their brains are different from their peers, then you should engage the parts of their brains that they use most. In this case the creative part by creating a multi-sensory learning environment.
Some examples include:
Writing Words With Tactile Materials – Don’t make homework or teaching boring, your Dyslexic child will probably fight to do it. Instead, use materials like glitter glue, sand or lego to help that child engage in their learning. They will find it easier because they are using the most prominent parts of their brains. They will relate learning to have fun.
Also if your child is struggling with maths, get them to add using legos. It’s a visual way of solving math problems. Especially if they are like me and can’t visualise the numbers in their heads.
Practice Spellings By Moving Around – Get a skipping rope, draw a hopscotch grid or grab a football. Then get your child to spell out words as you kick the football to them. (one letter each time they receive and kick the ball). This can be great if you work with your child, first, take alternate letters and then let your child do the whole word.
A variation of this can be used for learning facts, put post-it notes around the room and get your child to walk from one to the other reciting them. Then after a few times, get them to do it by heart. Each time they get one wrong they start again until they reach the end.
Another way of helping your child spell is to cut the pieces of paper and break all their spelling words down into syllables. You say the word and they flip all the papers over and have to match the right syllables for that word. If they get it right, they get a point and the word goes face up to the side. You repeat until all the words are gone!
As a kid, this was the only way I could do spellings or learn facts for a test and it’s super handy!
Scavenger Hunts For Letters and Words – This is again great for engaging your child and allowing their Right Brain to be prominent while learning typical left-brain activities. Split the students into teams (this also works solo) give them a word. Put the letters onto notes and hide them around the learning area. The students have to find the letters, arrange them properly and spell out the word!
Breaking Down Math – So on the weekend I work at a bar and when I’m giving change I breakdown the problem in 2 ways. Let’s say they’ve given me £20 and the product costs £3.30.
I count up from £3.30 until I get to £20 – 3.80 + 5 = 7.80 + 10 = 17.80 + 2 = 19.80 + .20 = 20
17+13 – 10 + 10 = 20 + 7 = 27 + 3 = 30
#2: Assistive Technology
Assistive technology can be great for giving Dyslexic people a hand so that they are on a level playing field with their peers. Despite what people (and some teachers) will tell you, it’s not unfair for your child to have this technology, it’s unfair for them NOT to have it. Below are some types of technology that might help your child.
Laptop – A child with Dyslexia will most likely struggle to write at the same pace as their peers, a laptop can really help speed up their note-taking speed. I would highly suggest teaching your child to touch type as well as then they can just focus on the looking at the words they are typing rather than their fingers.
Pocket Spell Checkers – SPELLINGS AS AN EXERCISE IS STUPID! Literally outside of school when was the last time you had to rely on your brain to use a spelling where you didn’t have autocorrect to fall back on. Ok, rant over. Pocket spell checkers are great for Dyslexic students as they are more likely to spell words phonetically. It will help the child’s self-confidence and allow them to learn words an easier way.
Line Readers – Line readers are great because they magnify and highlight the part of the text they are placed over. This helps Dyslexic readers to move through a book faster and keep their place better. This is especially helpful if they experience the words “jumping around”, it’ll provide them with a space to focus on
#3: Needs Based Arrangements
Dyslexic students will find an EDHP (or IEP in other parts of the world) helpful. These are individual plans to help your child succeed in school with the right measures put in place. If you want to find out more about them why not check out these blogs:
Some of these arrangements can be as follows:
Basic Points Worksheet – Make sure the child is given a sheet at the beginning of the lesson that covers the basic information you’ll be covering. Blank out the keyword and let the child fill them in as you go along. This allows them to focus and keep up with the rest of the class instead of having to worry about taking down all the notes.
Give Extra Time For Homework – Homework can often take a substantial time longer for a Dyslexic child to complete compared to a non-dyslexic child. With this in mind, you should consider asking your child’s teacher to leave long assignments until the weekend so that they can take their time completing them without stress. You can also ask for a homework schedule so you can work with your child on those topics before that week is here.
Recording Equipment – If the child is anything like me then they can’t listen and take notes at the same time. The way I got around this was carrying a recording device to university. Recording everything and then writing notes when I got home. This made my life so much less stressful and allowed me to really listen to the instructions of what I needed to do within the lectures rather than worrying about what I was writing.
Other arrangements include:
Extra Time On Tests
Eliminating Oral Reading in Class
Audiobooks as an alternative to reading
#4: Educational Games
If learning doesn’t feel like learning then Dyslexic students will be more open to doing them. I remember that I hated doing homework but when I went on my laptop to play learning games I would spend hours on them.
Some great resources include:
Anagram Scramble: This is a great Phone or Tablet Game that allows your child to really have fun exploring lots of different words. It allows them to practice their spellings based on phonics and prior knowledge
ABCya: ABCya is full of games that were created and approved by teachers. It has a range of dyslexia games for children from nursery to Year 5. It covers letters, numbers, strategy & skills development and so much more!
Crazy Cursive Letters: Learning Cursive can be extremely boring. Tracing the same letters over and over again was the bane of my life as a child. Especially since I don’t use it now. But Crazy Cursive Letters allows your child to physically trace over letters while sound effects play in the background.(allowing them to use the right side of their brain). While the word is spelt phonetically as they trace allowing them to increase the way they learn. It also is playing on a variety of backgrounds allowing your child to be engaged throughout the process.
Dyslexia Quest: This is a great app that focuses on identifying your child’s strength and weakness and improving them. It tests working memory, phonological awareness, processing speed, visual memory, auditory memory and sequencing skills. It’s great because it has 6 different games with 3 different paths (great replay value) and has 3 levels of difficulty: 7-10 years old, 11-16 & 17+. It’s also fantastic because it focuses on lots of skills rather than just one.
#5: Rewiring The Brain
So I’m not 100% sure the science behind this but I know it works because I’ve done it, so I’ll explain it the best I can. Through intensive multi-sensory intervention, Dyslexic people can change their brain and improve their reading. You can train your brain to break the language down and teach yourself to decode based on syllable type and spellings rules. rather than the sound of the word itself.
I did this by reteaching myself to read. I would put instrumental music on in the background and trace a line with my finger fast enough so my brain wouldn’t be saying the words out loud. This allowed me to be able to read a word based on letter shapes rather than the sound itself. Increasing both the speed of my reading and how far away I can read words from.
It also helps to find visual tricks with words for example:
The word bed looks like a bed with the headboard, middle and bottom board.
As you can see there are lots of great strategies to help with Dyslexia. I hope that these 5 ESSENTIAL Strategies To Help Dyslexic People have given you a jumping-off point. It should be noted that not all of these will work for everyone. Most are based on my own experiences and work well for the kids I have taught.
Next in our series is “8 Things People With Dyslexia Wish You Knew.” If you fancy reading it why not check it out below:
To Read Our Whole Series Plese Go Here:
If you want any more support, somewhere to vent or just want to meet some like-minded people in a supportive environment, why not consider joining our Facebook Sensory Support Group!