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Dyslexia in Children: Strategies to Help Students Succeed

Students from Lydian academy with learning challenges

If your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, you may have questions about how to support them at home and in the classroom. These strategies to help students with dyslexia or other learning differences can aid you in understanding their strengths and help them overcome their challenges.

What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is medically recognized as a learning disorder that affects the parts of the brain that match letters and combinations of letters with sounds. This directly impacts a child’s ability to learn because it is challenging for them to use reading and writing to gain an understanding of a topic.

Somewhere between 10-15% of children have dyslexia diagnosed, while many more may not have a specific diagnosis but show the signs of dyslexia. These signs are often apparent starting at about 6 years of age, when a child starts school and learns to read.1 While dyslexia is a recognized learning disorder, it cannot be ‘cured.’

Instead, dyslexia in children is treated by changing teaching methods, leveraging repetition and mnemonic devices, and providing tutoring or other support to help these children who learn differently to leverage their strengths and thrive in the classroom.

Strategies for Students with Dyslexia

Parents, caregivers, and educators can use these tools to help with dyslexia and other learning differences that affect a student’s ability to read and spell:

Identify Your Child’s Strengths

Dyslexia in children comes with inherent challenges, but it may also come with talents that will help your child overcome these obstacles. Many kids with dyslexia have strengths in other areas including:2

  • A strong memory for facts and stories. Once they acquire knowledge of facts, visually see a picture, or hear a story spoken aloud, students with dyslexia may have excellent recall abilities. This strength can allow them to connect with other people and build strong relationships.
  • Great puzzle-solving abilities. People with dyslexia often excel at puzzles, both physical and mental. They are naturally good at simultaneous rather than sequential thinking, and can spot patterns and make connections quickly. This skill allows many students who learn differently to become inventors and successful entrepreneurs.
  • Excellent spatial reasoning skills. Young people with dyslexia have been shown to be better at remembering a virtual environment than others, and many excel in engineering fields, graphic design, and architecture.

Practice Reading Together

Student with dyslexia reading at Lydian Academy

While reading and writing may be difficult skills for your child to learn, they are essential ones. With the right techniques and repetition, they can master these tools that open the doors to more advanced topics they feel passionate about. Many children with dyslexia may avoid reading because it is challenging, so your involvement is key to getting over this hurdle.

Consider these tips for reading with a child that has dyslexia or reading challenges:

  • Reading aloud with your child and focusing on repeating their favorite books
  • Listening to audiobooks and having your child follow along in the text version to link the sounds in words to the visual text
  • Encouraging them to read alone, quietly or aloud, on topics that interest them and modeling that behavior yourself
  • Books that are all text can be difficult to process, so offer some alternatives like age-appropriate picture books, magazines, graphic novels, and comic books

Partner with Teachers and Educators

If your child has a diagnosed learning challenge, they are entitled to accommodations and a specialized education plan, such as an individualized education program (IEP), designed to meet their needs in the classroom and achieve their educational goals. Staying connected with your child’s teacher and exploring the options available to your child is a very important part of helping your student succeed in school.

Some of the ways parents and teachers can work together to support students with learning differences include:

  • Creating a quiet study spot. Set aside a place for your child to do schoolwork at their own pace which takes into account reducing distractions while making it easy for them to ask for help with unfamiliar words or other issues.
  • Posting a visual calendar to track progress and deadlines. Using visual clues as reminders of deadlines and to show progress on a project will help them stay on target and internalize their step-by-step progress.
  • Engaging a tutor for summers and challenging subjects. A long break from school can cause setbacks for students who are challenged with reading, especially if they have just mastered new skills or are struggling with certain subjects. A tutor can help them with one-to-one attention and teaching methods designed to meet their needs.

Focus on Emotional Support

Because dyslexia runs in families, you may have had your own challenges that can help you guide your child in overcoming them. Spend time with your child on activities that do not involve reading and writing, and let them know that you recognize their efforts and their talents.

Celebrate your child’s success in all areas, and remind them that famous people with dyslexia include Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Spielberg, and Albert Einstein. Once they learn to leverage their unique talents and overcome the challenges of reading and writing with hard work and specialized teaching methods, they are ready to take on all of life’s challenges and succeed.

Supporting Students Who Learn Differently

Teacher from Lydian academy teaching a lesson to kids with learning challenges

Every student is a unique learner who can benefit from an approach to education that is tailored to their strengths and areas for growth. At Lydian Academy, we offer a one-to-one approach to education that fully focuses on how each student learns best.

This approach can make a tremendous difference for learners with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, auditory processing, language processing, and executive functioning challenges. With the option of both virtual and in-person learning, every student can learn at their own pace in an environment that values their differences and talents.

Would a one-to-one private middle or high school be the best fit for your child? Join a virtual open house or tour the campuses of Lydian Academy and explore the options available to make the best choice for your child while they gain these essential building blocks of higher education.

Sources:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-help-a-child-with-dyslexia-at-home
  2. https://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/dyslexics/learn-about-dyslexia/what-is-dyslexia/the-many-strengths-of-dyslexics

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