Dyslexia - Implications for Teaching

All teaching programs for children with dyslexia should be mulitsensory. This means they should incorporate elements of all the modalities; visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile. This is important because quite often children with dyslexia have weaknesses in the auditory modality and need to utilise the other modalities to compensate for these weaknesses.

Teaching needs to follow a sequence and this should be structured into small steps so that a progression can be noted. The children should also be able to note this progress.

Children with dyslexia constantly require the learning of new skills to be reinforced. Over learning is the most appropriate way to do this. This should not take the form of repetition, but rather should be carried out by using a range of materials and tasks to highlight the new material or skill that is learnt. This will help the new skill to be transferred from short term to long term memory, thereby retaining the skills for future use. Examples of materials and activities that can develop overlearning include; games where children have to think of the most words ending in that particular letter sound, recognition of key words, vowel discrimination games that help to increase auditory awareness and improve word attack skills, memory games, sequencing activities, mnemonics, free writing games and rhyme songs.

This means that the child should be able to transfer the new information to other learning. There is some research to indicate that children with dyslexia make poor use of metacognitive strategies. Therefore, learning is not very efficient and students may take a long time to learn new material because they are not able to effectively access previous knowledge. It is important to help children bridge new information with previously learnt information. Metacognition means thinking about thinking and how the learner questions her/himself on how a particular response was arrived at. This self questioning can help the learner develop strategies for future learning.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT):
Teachers need to have, or be able to access; a range of knowledge sources about technology and have some knowledge of the hardware and software that is available to support dyslexic children's individual needs. Technology can be extremely useful for children with dyslexia. Computers can therefore be dyslexic friendly. Technology can be useful with; reading (such as talking books, examples of which include "Find Out and Write About" and "Spin Out Stories"), creative writing (such as onscreen word banks, the use of a digital camera to support writing, word processing to remove the laborious task of copying out written drafts and portable writing aids such as "Dreamwriter 500").

Additionally, "Inspiration" is a software program designed to help students develop ideas and organise their thinking. Through the use of diagrams it helps students comprehend concepts and information. "Inspiration" can be used for brainstorming, organising, pre-writing, concept mapping, planning and outlining. "Inspiration" is especially useful for children with dyslexia as they tend to think in pictures rather than in words.

By Giselle_Gavagna