IT IS NOT REALLY A BIG DEAL IF YOUR CHILD CANNOT:
- Erase pencil marking cleanly and completely
- Use scissors
- Color inside the lines
- Proofread his papers efficiently
- Spell consistently
Children with dyslexia often have difficulty with these tasks which, while seemingly important in my school, may have far less significance to them in the “real world.” Remember, spelling and good handwriting are not moral virtues.
IT IS NOT CHEATING TO:
- Use an electronic dictionary
- Use phonetic dictionaries such as Gabby’s Wordspeller
- Use a calculator
- Use spell check
- Type papers for your child
- Ask teachers for written notes and PowerPoint presentations for lectures in advance (to follow along with the lecture)
- Ask teachers for help (see Annex 1 for possible strategies)
These types of tools and strategies are used by adults daily. It often takes children with dyslexia longer to complete school assignments. Using such tools and strategies can free up time and preserve energy for other substantive aspects of education.
- Purchase an assignment notebook. Your child should use to write down each assignment for each class each day. If there is no assignment then he should write “No Homework.”
- In school find a study buddy. Help each other by studying together and exchanging classroom notes with one another.
- Ask the teacher to give assignments in writing (not to be copied from a chalk/writing board).
- Have your child use his cell phone to take a picture of assignments written on chalk/writing board.
- Break down long term projects or lengthy readings into smaller, more manageable tasks.
- Have your child repeat the instructions out loud before he begins his assignment.
- If your child has to write an assignment, have him dictate it to you. Then he can recopy it.
- If your child has to write an essay and do a related PowerPoint presentation, have him do the PowerPoint first (it can act as an outline for the essay).
- If your child has to write an essay, have him use a graphic organizer such as Inspiration software (www.inspiration.com); it helps organize ideas and details, and generates an outline.
- If your child has problems keeping arithmetic columns in a line, use graph paper. If graph paper is not available, turned lined paper sideways.
- If your child asks how to spell a word, spell it for him or get him a phonetic and/or electronic dictionary.
- For long reading assignments, consider audiobook sources, or other scanned books together with text-to-speech software such as Kurzweil or Read & Write Gold. Even if your child uses recordings, make certain that he reads along with the text. The next option is for someone to read to him. The third option is to take turns reading one paragraph at a time. However, sometimes when students read out loud their energy goes into decoding words and very little room is left for comprehension. Reading aloud can also slow the process down.
- Teach your child that homework is not complete until your child puts everything into his backpack ready for school the next morning, and then turns it into the teacher.
- Get your child a laptop and help her organize a filing system for all assignments (keep everything in one place)
- Have your child learn to type at an early age. Be sure they learn full finger typing, not hunt-and-peck. Try computer games for very young children that teach basics of typing, and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.
- Try using larger fonts or increase point size when reading or typing text.
- If she is interested, encourage her to learn a computer language (many individuals with dyslexia are great at this).