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Do you, your child, or someone you know have dyslexia? Are you wondering about the different types of dyslexia treatment programmes available?
Like all learners, dyslexic children are unique. The way that you approach reading, writing, and understanding will be different for each child. Yet certain dyslexia treatment options have been proven effective for many with dyslexia symptoms.
What treatment options should you be aware of? Your school may have other approaches to treating dyslexia to help your child keep up.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects a child’s ability to read, write, and spell. Learners who suffer from dyslexia may display their intelligence in other ways, but they will have trouble making connections between letters and letter sounds. Some people are diagnosed with dyslexia when they are children, and others may not realise it until they are adults.
The part of the brain that processes language is different in a child or adult with dyslexia. Symptoms of dyslexia in young children include difficulty forming words and remembering letter names.
School-aged children with dyslexia read below their grade level. They may demonstrate difficulty with spelling or problems remembering the order of things. Dyslexic kids may avoid any activities that involve reading because they find it difficult.
Teens and adults with dyslexia often have difficulty reading out loud. They may have trouble understanding jokes or summarising a story. You may also notice that it takes a long time for these folks to complete reading or writing assignments.
How is dyslexia diagnosed?
Your paediatrician may not be able to diagnose dyslexia. However, they may refer you to a dyslexia specialist, who will use a variety of tools to diagnose dyslexia.
The specialist will test things like word recognition, rapid renaming, and spelling. They will look at your child’s ability to understand phonics, as well as reading comprehension. Vocabulary and decoding will also be assessed.
Dyslexia is a lifelong condition, and early diagnoses and assistance are important. Those who are assessed later in life, however, can still succeed and thrive in their pursuits.
How is dyslexia treated?
If your child is enrolled in public school, they are required to provide the support and educational plans that will help your child succeed. This may include an individualised education plan (IEP) that gives them certain accommodations during the school day.
Your child’s IEP could include extra time for tests and class activities or instructions read during assessments. Your child may also be given the option to record classroom instructions. Reading programmes at your child’s school can also help to improve your child’s phonic skills and improve their reading speed.
Your school may, for example, provide a list of vocabulary words and reading that they can do ahead of time. Or they may encourage them to mark the text with lots of visual cues such as sticky notes and highlighters. Your school may also provide audio versions of books, so students can learn texts differently. Or they might be able to provide pneumonic devices.
If your child is not making the kind of progress they should be in a public school setting, you may want to send them to a school that specialises in teaching dyslexic students. Many such institutions offer scholarships and financial aids. If this isn’t an option, an after-school programme or tutor can help support your child in the best way possible. Many schools and programmes utilise a variety of techniques that focus on auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic approaches to learning the language.
One important method is the Orton-Gillingham approach. This is multi-sensory and helps children to learn about the parts of words such as prefixes and suffixes that help them understand them more completely.
How can I help my child with dyslexia?
When your child suffers from dyslexia, it can be tempting to simply encourage additional reading. This will, however, rarely help if it’s not accompanied by other activities.
As a parent of a younger child, it’s important to read together at home and make the activity as fun as possible. Have a special reading corner, blanket, or tent. You can make a special snack and make reading your bonding time.
Younger children may enjoy lots of illustrations, and teens or tweens may prefer graphic novels. This may give them a different way to take in the information. It can also help to get them excited about reading in a non-academic setting.
Make sure to encourage your child to choose books that interest them. They may enjoy stories about video games, sports, or fashion.
These days, there’s also a lot of technology that can assist your child with their reading. They can use automated extensions to check their spelling or apps that provide text to speech.
It’s also critical to praise your child for any progress they make. If they remember more vocabulary than usual or are able to spell a few tricky words, it’s important to let them know you notice.
Praising your child will teach them to think and talk positively about themselves. It can also give them a powerful tool for rising above obstacles throughout their lives.
While dyslexia presents some challenges, it also provides your child with some unique gifts. They are often good big-picture thinkers, entrepreneurs, and folks who can think outside the box. With the right dyslexia treatment, your child could be on their way towards a bright future in no time.
Don’t stop getting smart about your child’s dyslexia now.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.