3 Ways To Support Your Child With Dyslexia
One of the most common learning disorders in Singapore is dyslexia. This disorder makes it hard for the affected child to read and identify speech sounds. This makes learning how to link speech sounds to the right letters and words a difficult task. For instance, they might reverse letters and read ‘pot’ as top, or you may notice them having trouble sounding out new words and only recognising the ones they already know or had learnt previously.
In this blog, we will look at how you can support your child through these difficulties and ways you can help them at home.
What Is Dyslexia
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that alters how the brain processes the written word. Children with dyslexia often encounter difficulties in recognising, spelling, and decoding words. Aside from these, there are also other signs of dyslexia that parents can look out for, such as your child having illegible handwriting. But, contrary to popular belief, having dyslexia does not mean your child is not smart. Because, with the right support, children with dyslexia can still learn to read and do well in school too.
Rhyme Games to Practise Phonological Awareness
Many children with dyslexia have a phonological deficit, as such, it causes false representations in memory and eventually leads to the inaccurate application of sound rules when performing reading tasks. While this does not appear to impair reading or to listen to a noticeable extent, especially if the words involved are already in the individual’s vocabulary, this deficit can restrain a dyslexia sufferer’s ability to learn new written and spoken words.
Hence, an essential first step to improving phonological awareness is through rhymes. So, if your child is a pre-schooler, you can encourage them to sing nursery rhymes or play rhyme games. For older learners, you can always get them to work on smaller units of sounds like syllables or single sounds.
The best part about rhyme games is that they can be played anytime and anywhere. You can just ask them to tell you which two of the three words you have said are rhymes. You can also ask them what the first or last sound in a word is, and ask them to tell you several other words that have the same first and last sound. This can even be played as a game where you take turns to come up with words that have the same starting sound. Older children can also play alliteration games – make them come up with funny phrases that have words that all begin with the same first sound.
Read To Your Child
Reading to your child instills a love for words and stories in them. Not only that, reading also gives both you and your child an opportunity to discuss words, their meanings, sounds, all while enriching their vocabulary. Besides reading to them, you can also get your child to read aloud with you. While this may sound counterintuitive as it will take more time for them to read aloud, but it helps them to understand the flow of a sentence.
Black letters over a white background can make it difficult for a dyslexic child to decrypt. So if you print stories out for your child to read, you may want to use colored paper instead of the usual white A4 printing paper. You can also look out for dyslexia-friendly books and fonts. Alternatively, a ruler would be of great help to your child to help them find their way through a sea of text.
Make Learning Activities Multisensory
Don’t confine the learning experience to just reading, rhyming, and writing. Instead, you can aim to engage your child through all their senses. If your child is ready for letter formation, you can go beyond the usual pencil and paper methods, and use other materials such as play-dough, sparkles, or blocks to form letters.
When explaining the meaning of a word, you can use visuals or a set of illustrations to explore the word being learned. Stick these images up on your fridge or whiteboard while asking your child to come up with more examples together with you. If they like to draw, you may have them draw out the set of illustrations of things that relate to the word.
If your child prefers to create things out of playdough, and are learning the word “ANIMAL”, have them mould different types of animals with names starting with the different first letters to form the word “ANIMAL”- Ant, Newt, Iguana, Moose, Anaconda, Leopard.
Supporting Your Child With Educational Therapy
Having a good relationship with your child as well as your child’s school is one of the best way to support your child through their dyslexia. By keeping your child’s teacher in the loop regarding their needs, they can be on board with your helping your child through their difficulties and come up with strategies to help them learn better.
In addition, you can also enrol your child into educational therapy sessions. MindChamps Allied Care is a one-stop centre providing a range of services to help children with dyslexia overcome the difficulties they face in learning. From a team of licensed psychologists to educational therapists, our team in Singapore will also educate parents on dyslexia and provide useful tips to support them. This approach ensures that the physical, psychological, and emotional needs of every dyslexic child enrolled with MindChamps Allied Health.
As a first step, we will schedule a parents’ discussion to better understand your child’s needs and to come up with a therapy and intervention plan to help them overcome their learning gaps. Professional clinical dyslexia assessments are also offered if you think your child suffers from this learning disorder and requires a formal diagnosis.
It is important that you provide your dyslexic child with the right support and educational therapy they need to excel. Want to find out more about our educational therapy services in Singapore? Reach out to us today or book an appointment to learn more about how MindChamps Allied Care can help.