Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dyslexia - Early intervention & Lesson 12

Dyslexia- Early intervention by diligent parents and Lesson 12

Recently one of the members of a group I belong to asked “……..I am not sure if it is just delayed learning or if there is another underlying cause for his difficulties.”

Whatever the underlying cause the fact is he is not reading at grade level. Therefore the best course of action is immediate intervention. Most children with dyslexia can be brought up to their normal grade level within a year of one to one tuition. The longer you wait the more difficult it will become to bring the child to grade level. His self esteem would have been affected and will continue to be affected if intervention is delayed. The longer you wait the more he may refuse to cooperate. The longer you wait the more difficult it will become for him to catch up.

John, my first student came here when he was admitted into primary one again in his second year. (Refer to my first article) He could not read and it was not easy teaching him to read but he was cooperative.

Remy on the other hand was very hard to deal with as he was brought to me when he was already in primary three. He was a very difficult student. He had temper tantrums and would sulk whenever he came in. If you remember to my earlier article, he was the one who had to have a break every 15 minutes or so and I had to change books every time we had a break. I gave in to some of him demands while refusing on others. I practised a little give and take.

Why was the behaviour between John and Remy, both of whom were dyslexic, very contrasting. I believe Remy was “protecting” himself. He was being called names in school and he must have begun to believe that he was stupid. As such he did not want more “torture” after having gone to school the whole morning. Of course he did not want more reading and spelling.

Initially I used to just read to Remy. I read books at his ‘listening vocabulary' level. He loved the stories I read to him. I then began to use that as a bait to get him to read. I gave him grade one books and he read them. I slowly started giving him books that were more and more difficult and after about 3 months he did not have any temper tantrums. In fact he began to enjoy coming for tuition. I found this to be true with all my students who came to me when they were already in primary 3 or 4.

I have noticed that all the students who used to come to my house with long faces changed their attitude after about three months. In fact they would smile as soon as they come to the gate of my house. This was especially the case when their school teachers had praised them in class. So, all the temper tantrums and long faces were because they could not read and wanted to avoid reading. If you, the parent can just hang in there, for the initial few months, everything will fall into place.

Keep boosting his self esteem and confidence and once he gets back his self esteem you will be on the home run. Also, take the opportunity to praise him when he does anything well. If he is good in drawing or football or any other activity appreciate what he does and give him a lot of praise. Take the opportunity to say that a person who can draw (or can swim well, play football well or whatever he is good at) is also a smart person and soon he will perform well in his reading as well.

The parent of one of my students told me that one of the teachers in school had told her that she was over-anxious and told her to wait and see. Lucky for her, another teacher had told her that she suspected that her son was probably dyslexic. As such, if your child is reading below grade level and if his report card shows anything below grade ‘C’ you should have a talk with the teacher immediately to see and compare how the others in your child’s class are faring.

I am not aware of any place in Sabah where children can be tested for dyslexia. However, a parent can easily determine if his child is dyslexic by observing how his child responds to the three articles on sequencing I have in my blog. Asking your child to read and observing how he reads Malay as compared with the English language will also be a guide, in the absence of a professional to help you.

If you do establish that your child is dyslexic then you should try and get a teacher who is dedicated to teaching dyslexic children. This is not going to be easy in this country (Malaysia). So, the best option is for you, the parent, to teach and guide your child. The material suitable for teaching your dyslexic child is in this blog. A one hour a day lesson with the child would be ideal to bring him to grade level in a very short time. The lessons in this blog are specifically tailored to teaching dyslexic children. The lessons are for parents to teach their dyslexic children and not for the child to read by himself. Do read all the notes to the lessons.

For Lesson 12 click here:

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