In Singapore, for every class with 40 students, at least one or two have dyslexia. This is a significant number of students that need help if they are to cope in a competitive environment like Singapore. Unless dyslexia is identified and treatment is given, children with dyslexia will have trouble catching up with other students, and this can be frustrating to teachers and parents, but mostly the students.
Dyslexia is a learning disorder. People with it struggle with spelling, writing, reading, and speaking. Unfortunately, children with dyslexia are initially assumed to be slow and not bright. On the contrary, people with dyslexia are often smart. This is why you find them working so hard to get things right, even when they don’t understand why they struggle so much.
Unfortunately when dyslexia is not diagnosed, the child will continue struggling into adulthood. Early diagnosis gives every child with dyslexia the chance to excel in their education and achieve their dreams.
Dyslexia is a condition that results from inconsistency in the part of the brain that processes language. Tests carried out on people with dyslexia show that some parts of the brain do not work as expected when one reads.
A keen parent or teacher will notice dyslexia the moment a child starts learning how to read. When children first go to kindergarten, teachers teach them the sounds of the letters, which is the foundation required in the formation of words. For example, the letter B makes a “buh” sound, while M the “em” sound. A child will eventually be able to say the words ‘bat’ and ‘mat’ after learning the sounds. This will be easy for a child without dyslexia to do.
A child with dyslexia has trouble connecting the letters to the sound. Things get messier when it comes to blending these letters and sounds into words. The words appear jumbled up or in a different sequence. For example, when a child without dyslexia sees the word “bat”, one with dyslexia may see “tab”. This is the primary reason people with dyslexia have trouble reading.
It is important to note that dyslexia is linked to genes. If you have dyslexia, chances are your child may suffer from the same. This knowledge makes it possible for parents to seek treatment once they realize their child also has dyslexia.
People who have dyslexia don’t experience the same challenges. Some have a mild case of dyslexia which is easy to manage, while others have more trouble. Whichever the case, dyslexia can be treated.
Although children with dyslexia face challenges when it comes to reading and identifying words, over time, the child becomes more comfortable with specific words. Parents and teachers can help build a vocabulary of the words the child recognizes easily. This will help monitor the child’s progress over time.
Words are made up of different sounds, some longer than others. Since children with dyslexia have trouble connecting the sounds with the letters, teachers should focus on small sounds that make up words and build on that based on the child’s progress.
Teachers need to understand the individual needs of the students. Unfortunately, it may not be possible for a child with dyslexia to get all the attention he or she needs from a teacher who has a class of 40 students. Parents or the school may seek help from a tutor or a learning centre with a better understanding of the needs of children with dyslexia to supplement and guide the learning.
If a child with dyslexia is having trouble with the traditional education set up, a suitable one can be tailor-made for him or her. The goal should be the same as for any other child in the classroom. However, the method of executing the lesson can be different. Parents need to sit down with teachers to come up with a structured plan that both parties can agree on.
When you find out that your child has Dyslexia, the first thing to do is to speak your child. Help him understand what Dyslexia is and what challenges he or she may face. It is crucial to also let your child know that having Dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of and that you will help him overcome it. This way, you can show him that you understand and support him.
Read as often as possible to your child. Even if your child is too young to read, reading to him will improve his oral and comprehension skills in the future. A child’s development of listening skills is a precursor to his progress in reading and writing. Furthermore, reading aloud to your child at a young age will encourage them to develop an interest in reading. Hence, reading to your child will help him develop literacy skills and cope with Dyslexia.
Some tips to help with reading include:
Use a ruler or pencil and follow the lines while reading