Close to 10 percent of children in schools in America have some type of learning disability. Dyslexia ranks at the top of the list. It makes reading challenging, and can ultimately have a negative impact on grades in nearly every class. Dyslexia doesn’t mean your child will deal with bad grades and never get a chance at a scholarship though. They will just need support and dedication to rise above their challenges.
Many children get far behind in school and start rebelling because they are misunderstood. A child getting poor grades or not doing their homework could simply be because they can’t read the work on the chalkboard properly. Recognizing symptoms early reduces the risk of them falling behind. Common symptoms include:
- Being a late talker
- Difficulty rhyming words
- Pronunciation problems
- Problems with handwriting
- Struggling to learn colors, numbers, and the alphabet
- Confusing similar-looking letters
- Trouble connecting letters and sounds
These are symptoms in a young child. If symptoms have gone unnoticed and suddenly you have a tween struggling, don’t rule this possibility out.
How You Can Help
- Make Reading Fun – Most children with dyslexia don’t enjoy reading simply because they’re not good at it. If they are going to have to practice daily, at least give them something to read that they are interested in. Take weekly library trips, and perhaps even order a magazine subscription for them. Reading doesn’t have to always be out of a book. An electronic reader might be a great present, too.
- Talk to the Teacher – If your child struggles to take notes from the board, perhaps the teacher will print a copy for you to go over with them at home. They may also be able to slowly read what’s written, as well. Request that notes be provided discreetly. Your child does not need to be singled out. Children can really get down on themselves, when they feel like they are different.
- Assistive Technology – Kurzweil 3000 and Dragon Naturally Speaking can be very helpful for dyslexics. However, they should not become reliant on these software applications. It is important that they are used to assist learning, not replace it.
- Provide Praise – Don’t only provide praise on reading-related accomplishments. That “A” on a math test deserves just as much praise as a “B” on an English report. It’s crucial that you point out their strengths in all areas.
- Environment – Your child will likely need to study more than the average student. Therefore, they need somewhere comfortable to do this. A desk or the kitchen table is great for homework, but not so much for reading. Medium bean bags are ideal. They are comfortable enough to sit in for hours. Online stores like SoothingCompany.com offer great bean bag selections.