The dyslexia is a very common disorder in our society, so that is estimated to affect between 4 and 10 percent of the population. Despite this high prevalence, it is common for dyslexia to be confused with other disorders and to have a misconception about what dyslexia actually is.
Developmental dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by the presence of difficulties in reading and writing. In order to carry out the diagnosis, it is necessary to rule out that there are intellectual or sensory difficulties and confirm that the schooling has been adequate.
The confusion that this disorder creates may be due to the fact that the picture can be complicated if there are a series of associated disorders, something that is usually common. Some of the associated difficulties that people with dyslexia may present are:
– Dysgraphia : Difficulty to make the correct tracing of the letters.
– Non-Verbal Learning Disorder : Affects motor coordination, visuospatial integration, psychosocial skills and school learning.
– Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity ( AD / HD ): Attention difficulties that can be accompanied by hyperactivity and / or impulsivity.
– Dyscalculia : Specific difficulty in learning arithmetic.
IT IS COMMON TO DETECT DYSLEXIA AT 3-4 YEARS
All those who doubt about the real existence of dyslexia, as there are people who even today question this disorder, should know that it is a genetic-based disorder, with an important hereditary load even though they have not been located even the specific genes that cause it to be passed on. Its neurobiological basis is more than proven and many studies have shown that there are differences in the brain activity of children with dyslexia, even before they start reading. This indicates that the brain’s ability to process the sounds of language is different . What is called phonological processing is affected in children with dyslexia, in addition to verbal memory and verbal processing speed, hence their difficulties in reading and writing.
Being a neurobiological-based disorder, difficulties in reading and writing will be present throughout the person’s life. However, the development of dyslexia responds to early intervention , therefore an early diagnosis and intervention in at-risk children could avoid future difficulties and frustrations at school.
HOW SHOULD TEACHERS ACT WITH CHILDREN WITH DYSLEXIA?
Teachers must take into account the following aspects in order to act with students who have dyslexia:
– The most suitable system for learning to read and write in children with dyslexia is the phonetic / phonological system.
We must associate each letter with its sound, not with its name. This principle is basic when starting literacy in children with dyslexia. It is advisable to start with the vowels and continue with the consonants that are easier for them to discriminate and leave until the end those whose articulation is more difficult. What interests us about each letter is its sound, not its name. We can associate them with a drawing that contains that sound. It is necessary to work on phonological awareness throughout the childhood stage.
– The method to be followed must be the analytical-synthetic one.
We must work on the process of breaking down words into sounds or forming words from the sounds worked on. Reading and writing must be taught simultaneously. In addition, we must try to make reading comprehensive from the first moment, so that children see its usefulness.
– The work methodology must be multisensory.
The more channels we use in learning, the better. We can use touch by touching the different letters using different textures or drawing them to each other on the back with the aim of guessing them, for example. As we have said, the use of drawings, as well as the use of different colors, will favor visual learning. E l ear canal work through different sounds . All those manipulative tasks will also favor learning. We can work with different materials, with plasticine, cut out the letters, etc. Above all, it is essential to work on the audio-vocal channel, exaggerating the articulation of sounds for their correct assimilation.
– Motivation is essential in the learning process
All children need a significant motivational load. Especially children with dyslexia, for whom the literacy learning process will be especially difficult.
DEMAND THE SAME, BUT IN A DIFFERENT WAY
Beyond the mere learning process, we must bear in mind that the supports and adaptations will have to continue throughout the educational life of the students. As we have said, dyslexia is not something that can be cured, but rather a difficulty that accompanies the person throughout life.
However, we have also mentioned that children with dyslexia do not have a lower intellectual capacity than others . Therefore, adaptations will have to be directed at the teaching and assessment methodology, not the content. Some of the recommended guidelines to follow at school are the following:
– Reading aloud in front of their classmates or writing on the board will be terribly difficult for them. Also, they will get even more nervous showing their difficulties to others . We should avoid these actions as much as possible.
– Children with dyslexia will make more spelling mistakes than their peers . What’s more, they are likely to commit them throughout their lives. We must try to correct them, but being aware that it is due to their difficulty and not because they do not notice or that they are lazy. It is not convenient to penalize them for spelling mistakes or correct all their mistakes in red.
– Given their difficulties, children with dyslexia will be slower in their homework. By having extra time they will be able to demonstrate their knowledge and by being more relaxed they will do so more successfully . They will need more time to take their exams and more time to study. We can make the task easier for them by making them more effective by eliminating, for example, the need to copy the statements of the exercises. They will generally be more successful expressing themselves orally, so whenever possible we should evaluate them orally and not in writing.
TEACHERS SHOULD NOT REFUSE TO MAKE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR CHILDREN WITH DYSLEXIA
If a student has explicit difficulties in this field, is he not the one who is at a disadvantage? Just as we make adaptations in cases of sensory or motor disabilities, it is logical that we make these adaptations with children with dyslexia, demanding the same, but in a different way . A common mistake is to withdraw these adaptations when results improve. Dyslexia is always present, so the adaptations must also remain.
GUIDELINES FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH DYSLEXIA
The main and most important guideline that parents must follow is also the one that often entails the most difficulties: ensuring that the guidelines and adaptations mentioned above are carried out in their children’s school.
There are many professionals who are aware of what dyslexia really is and who, therefore, include these adaptations for their students in their work methodology. However, it is likely that many times you have to deal with complicated situations. Having a reference professional or belonging to some type of association can facilitate the process . The primary objective is that our children can exploit all their abilities in the appropriate way for them.
These are the essential guidelines that we must take into account with our children with dyslexia:
– Children with dyslexia are generally very forgetful . We must be especially patient in this matter and try to help them by using visual notes or agendas, to help them remember their activities or important dates.
– The use of the computer can facilitate the learning process, therefore having a computer or tablet at home can be helpful.
– As in the classroom, we should not force them to read . We can propose different books to them in different formats and themes, but we cannot force them. On the other hand, it is recommended that we spend some time reading to our children, especially when they are young.
– We should not give many instructions in a row to our children . If we say to them: “Get up, wash your face, get dressed and come down for breakfast” it is likely that after washing your face you will not know what to do next. It is better to give orders one at a time, but accustom them to obey the first time.
– When choosing an after-school activity , it is preferable to give children some margin so that they are the ones to choose within their preferences or abilities. They spend hours at school doing activities that require extra effort. Let them have some time to have fun and excel at something that they are especially good at.
– If we help our children with their homework , it will be of great help if we make them concept maps or diagrams, that we read them the theory to be learned or even that we record our voice so that they better assimilate the theory through the auditory canal.
– If our child needs an extra reinforcement at school , we must make sure that it is a professional who is knowledgeable about dyslexia, prepared to intervene with them in the appropriate way.
In general, we must be especially sensitive to them and their notes , finding the middle ground between demand and understanding.