Another one of my student was Remy. He was hyper active and would not sit still for more than about 20 minutes. As such, every 15 minutes or so I'd ask him to walk around the room for about 2 minutes and that was all it took for him to go on for the next 15 minutes. So I had three breaks with him in an hour. I also had to look for different material every 15 minutes. He insisted on not reading the same material or do the same kind of task that we did before the break. I'll take a different book , ask him spelling, just read to him (he enjoyed this the most) and work on puzzles and told him jokes which he also enjoyed tremendously.
Another thing that most of my students, especially Remy, enjoyed was riddles. I would ask them to ask their parents the riddles I have asked them. In the following session I would ask if their parents got the answer. Remy would be so happy to say that neither one of his parents could answer.
Try jokes and riddles with your child and see his response. He can learn a lot from the riddles. As the riddles are logical very often he will get the answer right. My students have got the correct answers for riddles that even adults find difficult to solve. Look for logical riddles and ask your child. One a day will be just fine. When he gets it right make sure to make a big fuss. This is also important as he begins to gain confidence. Now he feels he knows the answers to riddles that even the adults do not know. Once the children ask their parents riddles the parents in turn ask the children riddles. Many times my students ask me some riddles that their parents had asked them. Often I would pretend not to know the answer and you should see the ‘cheeky smile’ on their faces. Now they feel they know answers to questions that even their tutor does not know. Again this is to build their confidence and dispel the notion that they are stupid.
Remy and about half of my students had problems with pronunciation. There was a girl who could not pronounce 'cat'. She would say 'tat'. Other words that the others including she had problems with were words beginning with 'sh'. Instead of 'should' they'd say 'sod'. This is no big deal either. Write down any and all words that a child cannot pronounce in a list in a book. A few of the words my students had problem pronouncing were : through, fishes, library, plural, laugh and hungry. Write such words in a vertical column.
Each day begin the class by going through these words. Ask him to look at your mouth and observe what you do with your lips and your tongue. Ask him to repeat each word after you about three times. Continue this every day. Some of these words can even take up to 10 days or longer but believe me he will get it in the end. Again do not drag this on for a long time. Stop after three attempts and repeat the next day.
Draw 3 columns beside the first column of words that he cannot pronounce well. The day when he can pronounce, one of the words, place a tick in the first column after the word. If he can pronounce the word correctly over three days, you will have 3 ticks in the vertical columns, strike the word out. Make a big fuss. They enjoy when you say words like – “‘wow you got that correct . I am sure you will be able to pronounce the other words in the list soon” Continue adding new words that they cannot pronounce and do the same until they have no problem with pronouncing all the words. When too many words have been struck out carry forward the remaining words, to a new sheet, so that it does not look untidy.
There were a few children whom I thought will never be able to pronounce the words properly because their pronunciation was just terrible. But eventually all of them, including those that I thought will never be able to pronounce properly, got it right. Patience is the key word here.
To repeat myself, let the child see your mouth and tell him where you are placing your tongue. Also ask him to look at the formation of your lips. Ask him to do exactly as you are doing and then pronounce the word. Do this for as many days as it takes to get him to pronounce the word correctly.
One of the problem words with Remy and a few others was 'there'. I would tell them to stick out their tongue slightly out of their teeth and pronounce the word and after sometime they pronounce it as if they never had a problem with that word.
There will be many who would ask you to consult a speech therapist. Give a few months to try the above before you go around looking for a speech therapist. I have ‘cured’ some of the worst pronunciation problem just by repeating the words each day and asking the child to look at my mouth. I also tell them how my tongue is positioned. This is important as a child will learn from all his senses. If your teaching techniques involves all his senses he will learn much faster.
See you tomorrow.
Your work only goes on to prove that individual attention is the key ingredient to enabling these students to achieve their learning.
So far you have demonstrated that student self concept is crucial to the enhancement learning. You have built a trust and respect relationship and it works both ways.Having gained that trust removes the obstacles to learning.
The basic psychological needs once met, breaks down most learning barriers and that you have done.
With each student it appears that you have undertaken an individual learning needs analysis and catered for each student according to their particular needs.Hence achieving their remarkable steep learning curve.
Believe me these students will be eternally grateful. You have and are giving hope to a group of people who are being given the opportunity to excel in life which they would not have otherwise.
Your work is impacting on society and I hope at some point the educational authorities in your country will embrace your innovative work and embrace it as a model for teaching and learning of this special needs group.
Thank you for your very encouraging and well thought comments.I hope to get to as many parents of dyslexic children as possible through my blog.I have written to some newspapers in UK but sadly they do not even respond.I hope that one of the leading papers there will accept my findings and publish my articles one of these days.
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