While dyslexia is a lifelong problem, there’s a range of specialist educational interventions that can help children with their reading and writing.
These interventions are generally most effective if they’re started at a young age.
The type and extent of intervention necessary will depend on the severity of your child’s difficulties. A specific action plan for your child may be drawn up and implemented by their school.
Most mainstream schools should be able to offer suitable interventions for your child, although a small number of children may benefit from attending a specialist school.
A number of educational interventions and programmes are available for children with dyslexia.
These can range from regular teaching in small groups with a learning support assistant who delivers work set by teaching staff, to one-to-one lessons with a specialist teacher.
Most interventions focus on “phonological skills”, which is the ability to identify and process word sounds. These interventions are often referred to as “phonics”.
Phonics interventions can involve teaching a child to:
These interventions should ideally be delivered in a highly structured way, with development in small steps, and should involve regularly practising what’s been learnt.
It can also help if your child is taught in a “multisensory” way, where they use several senses at the same time. An example of multisensory teaching is where a child is taught to see the letter “a”, say its name and sound, and write it in the air, all at the same time.
As a parent, you might be unsure about the best way to help your child. You may find the following advice useful:
Parents also play a significant role in improving their child’s confidence, so it’s important to encourage and support your child as they learn.
Many older children with dyslexia feel more comfortable working with a computer than an exercise book. This may be because a computer uses a visual environment that better suits their method of learning and working.
Word processing programmes can also be useful because they have a spellchecker and an auto-correct facility that can highlight mistakes in your child’s writing.
Most web browsers and word processing software also have “text-to-speech” functions, where the computer reads the text as it appears on the screen.
Speech recognition software can also be used to translate what a person is saying into written text. This software can be useful for children with dyslexia because their verbal skills are often better than their writing.
There are also many educational interactive software applications that may provide your child with a more engaging way of learning a subject, rather than simply reading from a textbook.
Much of the advice and techniques used to help children with dyslexia are also relevant for adults. Making use of technology, such as word processors and electronic organisers, can help with your writing and to organise daily activities.
Using a multi-sensory approach to learning can be helpful. For example, you could use a digital recorder to record a lecture, and then listen to it as you read your notes. It can also be useful to break large tasks and activities down into smaller steps.
If you need to draw up a plan or make notes about a certain topic, you may find it useful to create a ‘mind map’, rather than writing a list. Mind maps are diagrams that use images and keywords to create a visual representation of a subject or plan.
If you’re in work, let your employer know that you have dyslexia, as they are required by law to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace to assist you.
Examples of reasonable adjustments may include:
SOURCE: NHS UK