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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Help for the Dyslexic Child

Following is some information that was offered to me regarding dyslexia.  May it encourage you and offer you insight on teaching your own dyslexic students.

I have found there to be several important points to teaching my dyslexic sons:

Don't let their limitations in reading and spelling limit the level of their learning.  To accomplish this use accommodations (the website listed below has a list of these.)

Make sure they are tutored using an Orton-Gillingham method (I used and am currently using the Barton Reading and Spelling System to tutor my sons).  I can't say enough good things about it.

Every dyslexic is also gifted.  Expose them to sports and the arts.  Many dyslexics are gifted in these areas.  My oldest son (he tested right on the line between moderately and severely dyslexic) just started at the local junior college.  I've homeschooled him all the way through.  I had to do a lot of research and learning to find things that would work for my son.   In all the years, and of all the sources I went through, the best clearinghouse for information on dyslexia and teaching dyslexics I ever ran across was Bright Solutions.  There are even several free video casts.

Math -- As far as math curriculum goes, I would recommend Math-U-See or Teaching Textbooks.

Writing -- After appropriate tutoring, I recommend IEW writing.

Science/History -- As far as Science and History go whatever the family already uses will be fine.   The texts will need to be read aloud (or many audio textbooks including those from Christian publishers can be rented for a year at a time from Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic) and answers dictated.  Personally, I love Apologia (I have a science degree and I find the content not only interestingly presented but outstanding).

Reading -- I use Sonlight History and readers with my youngest son.  This is not a choice all parents of dyslexics would be comfortable with.  I wanted my son to love books even if they seem at times to be his enemy.  I thought I had a better chance reaching this goal with Sonlight.  Currently I read all of them aloud to him.  In 2-3 months I anticipate that he will be reading between a fifth-grade reading level and we will start "modeled reading," i.e., he will read a paragraph, I will read a paragraph.  This will eventually increase to a page each and then him two pages, me one until he is reading whole chapters on his own.

During the first several years of teaching a dyslexic child, it can seem as if you aren't getting anywhere.  It is definitely a "drop in the bucket" but eventually it adds up.  You have to be patient and persistent. Eventually you do get from here to there.

Back in 2008, when asked about her experiences homeschooling two dyslexic sons, Debra Jackson offered the above advice.

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