Friday, June 21, 2013

What's It Like Being Dyslexic?

Back at the beginning of this past school year, I mentioned in my post about Dyslexia in the Classroom that I'd be sharing with you tips, tricks, and teaching methods that I learned throughout the year that seem to help with my kiddos with dyslexia.  Aaaaand, I failed.  It's funny, how even back in September, I could see how busy and crazy this school year was going to be, when I wrote: "No promises though-- I don't know what it is, but I just can't seem to juggle this year like I could last!"

Now, though, that school is out, and I have a few more minutes of free time, I really am going to try my "darndest" ;) to share with you a few nibblets of knowledge that I've picked up over the year...starting with "What's it like being dyslexic?"

For most of us, that's a question that's truly hard to wrap our brains around.  I mean, I had SO much interaction with so many students with dyslexia this year, and I still can't even come close to relating to what it must be like to have dyslexia. 

You may remember this video that I shared back in September on my original "Dyslexia in the Classroom" post:

Now, in addition to that, I have a new, animated video to share today. 

This video was actually part of an app that I downloaded this year, simply called "Dyslexia".  This app has 4 parts-- "What's it like being Dyslexic?", "Tips for Parents", "Tips for Schools", and finally "Take the Dyslexic Quiz". 
In addition to sharing the video with you today, I also want to share the "Tips for Schools" portion...because it truly has some great advice.  Although some of the tips are "no brainers", it is great to be reminded of these things every so often (because actually, many of these tips can be used for ALL students!)
#1 Don't ask a dyslexic to read aloud.  Words are likely to be misread or skipped, causing embarrassment.

#2 Don't punish a dyslexic for forgetting things like books or sports kits.
Offer positive strategies such as having one place to put things away.

#3 Don't call a dyslexic lazy.
Dyslexics have to work harder to produce a smaller amount. Dyslexics have difficulty staying focused when reading, writing or listening.

#4 Expect less written work.
A dyslexic may be verbally bright but struggle to put ideas into writing.

#5 Prepare a printout of homework and stick it in their book.
Provide numbered steps, e.g. 1. Do this, 2. Do that, etc.

#6 Re-establish self-confidence.
Provide the opportunity to succeed. Give praise for small achievements.

#7 Do not expect a dyslexic to copy from a board or book. Give a printout.
They can highlight key areas and draw thumbnail pictures in the margin to represent the most important points.

#8 Accept homework or written assignments created on a computer word processor.

#9 Dyslexics have weak auditory (listening) memories.
Do not expect spoken information to be remembered. Adding funny stories and pictures will make it memorable.

#10 Give the opportunity to answer questions orally rather than in writing, to demonstrate understanding and ideas.

#11 Background noise or activity will cause distraction and prevent concentration.
Dyslexics need a quiet, structured environment.

#12 'Look-Cover-Write-Check' as a way to learn spellings does not usually work for dyslexics.
Draw or visualise a funny picture linked to the word and say aloud each letter as it is written.

#13 Encourage key word bullet point planning of ideas before writing.

#14 Dyslexics have poor sequencing ability, making it very difficult to learn times table multiplication facts.
Use a table square or a calculator.

#15 Look out for signs of stress.
Consequences of dyslexia are frustration, anger, low self-esteem or becoming withdrawn.

#16 Provide worksheets, notes and screens with a coloured background.
Dyslexics often find that black text on white creates page glare making reading tiring.

#17 Allow a dyslexic more time for reading, listening and understanding.

#18 Dyslexics respond well to a multisensory, phonic approach.
Advance in small steps and revise frequently.

#19 Encourage a dyslexic to use their finger to reveal a word in chunks.
Build up the word by syllable and learn to recognise prefixes and suffixes.

#20 Discuss an activity to make sure it is understood.
Visualising the activity or linking it to a funny action may help dyslexics remember.
The above tips were taken from the Dyslexia app.  (Keep in mind that they are a British company, so many of the words are spelled just a teensie bit differently, such as "recognise"!)  :) 
So, what do you think?  What will you use?  What do you already do?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and see if you have any other "tips" to share!
My next post will be about these tips and how I specifically used them.  Later on next week, I'll chat about movement and dyslexia.  Be sure to click on over!  :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I love the videos! This is a great post for general ed teachers. Thank you for sharing such great information.

    Heather at TeachItToday!