Following on from last week’s article, ‘Is my child dyslexic?’, we’ve devised some ‘Top Tips’ for parents on how you can best support your child at home.
It is also available as a downloadable PDF. If you are working in school with dyslexic pupils please pass this on to parents and carers.
Check eyes and ears
Ensure that your child has regular eye tests and encourage them to take their glasses to school, as pupils are often reluctant to do so! Your child may require a tracking aid or coloured overlay to help support their reading, so ask the SENDCo for advice about this. Have your child’s hearing tested if you have any concerns at all or if you think their hearing may have been affected by infections when they were younger, e.g. glue ear.
Support the school
If your child is receiving extra support and intervention, ask the school how you could best support this at home. This may be something as simple as helping your child to learn target high frequency words, or talking about key topic vocabulary before it’s taught in class; but this can make a big difference to your child’s progress in school.
Find fun and novel ways to learn
Use songs to learn times tables, or making up a rap to learn facts for a topic. Many children remember spellings better if they can use a memory ‘hook’ such as a mnemonic, for example, ‘they – they hate eating yogurt’. Many children also enjoy using ‘hands-on’ equipment such as magnetic letters or playing games that directly target a skill.
Use colour and visuals for revision
This may be the use of mind maps to plan work or revise a topic, or the use of highlighter pens, felt tips and post-its, for example, to display spellings that need to be learned, colour code work or make a poster about a topic.
Develop their organisational skills
Many children with dyslexia have difficulties with their memory and organisation. You may need to break down instructions and work tasks into small, manageable chunks. Encourage your child to use simple ‘to do’ lists, which can be supported by pictures and visuals.
Explore the use of technology
There are a multitude of IT programmes, apps and technologies available to support dyslexic learners these days. Ask the school’s SENDCo for advice on what might work best for your child; the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) also provide a detailed guide to all available technologies. Encourage your child to learn to touch-type as they get older, using a programme such as BBC Bitesize Dance Mat Typing, which is free.
Be patient and generous with praise
Children with dyslexia may take longer to master school-based skills and have to ‘over-learn’ through lots of repetition. Focus on their successes and keep praise and motivation high.