Normally the first thing parents or teachers think about dyslexia is that the child is writing in a mirror-like image or it is difficult to read because the words or letters are moving like in the “Tare Zameen Par” movie. Dyslexia is not only about dancing letters. Dyslexia is actually a person who has problems with reading but is intelligent where IQ is the same or higher than children of the same age. Sometimes dyslexia students at school will be considered slow by teachers and peers because they have difficulty in reading, writing and counting skills. This can be a little detrimental to a child’s self-confidence. There are six major aspects of dyslexia.
Pupils with dyslexia is said to have poor working memory. They might also have difficulties with remembering sequences. For example they might feel difficult to remember the sequence of information such as instructions, new set of vocabularies and even names in order. They actually lack the ability to connect the word from the sound and to the letters to images to display meaning or semantics. They actually rely on situational memory hence to help them give same types of instructions in different places. For example, give them the same instruction in different areas in the classrooms.
Auditory is very crucial in a pupil’s development however they might fall into dyslexia if not monitored carefully. Pupils with dyslexia can be identified as they have difficulties in breaking words into sounds. Their hearing are also can be distorted. Alternative ways of recording that can help are such as the use of computers for word processing, audio tapes for recording lessons that can then be written up at a later stage or may be a written record of the pupil’s verbal account, or voice activated software can be used.
Vision development plays a vital role in language acquisition. Pupils diagnosed with dyslexia however do have few limitations. For instance, during lessons they might face difficulties in copying off the board or may see text as moving or blurry. There are also some instances where they actually reverses letters. Most commonly they skip words or lines and loses place. To tackle this, provide them with more visual aids repetitively and ensure the movement of visuals is suitable with their cognitive memory.
When it comes to reading, the pupils may have difficulties in reading a paragraph, sentence, and phrase or even a word or letters. They can’t read fluently, often misreads words, and finds reading is hard. Pupils with dyslexia doesn’t always understand what was read. So teachers, try to avoid a dyslexic child to ‘read aloud in class’. Reserve this for a quiet time with the teacher. Or, perhaps give the kid more time to read pre-selected reading materials, or to be practiced at home the day before. This will help to ensure that the child is seen to be able to read out loud, along with other children. Story tapes can be of great advantage for the enjoyment and enhancement of vocabulary. No child should be denied the pleasure of gaining access to the meaning of print even if he cannot decode it fully.
Writing and spelling is another difficult task for them. Most probably they tend to have poor spelling, poor punctuation and grammar. They also feel difficult to structure a text. Since they already have some limitations in reading, writing turns out to be an obstacle if not guided. To help them use different colour markers for each line if there is a lot of written information on the board, or underline every line with a different coloured marker. Please make sure that the writing is well spaced on the board. Teachers please , leave the writing on the board long enough to ensure the child doesn’t rush, or that the work is not erased from the board before the child has finished copying.
The neuro development part is a bit complicated where these kids have slow processing speed, poor organizational skills and word finding skills. Neurotically they have slow or limited developments which actually causing late reflections and reactions. Thus causing them poor motor skills. Reasons for poor handwriting can be from poor motor control, tension, badly formed letters, speed etc. A cursive joined style is most helpful to children with dyslexic problems. Make sure a small reference chart is available to serve as a constant reminder for the cursive script in upper and lower case. For ESL, even the Malaysian Government school textbooks has this reference chart. Improvement in handwriting skills can improve self confidence, which in turn reflects favorably throughout a pupil’s work.