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What Teachers Need to Know About Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a common learning disorder characterized by reading difficulties. Despite its relatively high prevalence, many children with dyslexia can feel embarrassed or frustrated when they have trouble reading. Sometimes, this can lead to delayed diagnosis and can impact a child’s grades.

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So, what can teachers do to help?

The first thing to do is read up on the condition. Armed with the right knowledge, you will be able to spot dyslexia and adapt your teaching style to help children with the condition. We’ve put together a few helpful facts to get you started.

1. Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence

A common misconception surrounding dyslexia is that it’s a sign of low intelligence. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Dyslexia affects how the brain processes spoken and written words and can make it difficult to connect letters with sounds (and vice versa).

It is also important to note that dyslexia can manifest in a variety of ways. Whilst some people find it particularly difficult to structure words, others will have more difficulty with comprehension.

2. Dyslexia is a lifelong condition

Dyslexia is not something that can simply be cured. However, its effects can be mitigated and children with the condition can end up being voracious lifelong readers. To nurture a love of reading, educators need to help them cope with the challenges of dyslexia with compassion and clear instruction. Don’t be worried about giving dyslexic students a little more attention than others.

3. Dyslexia is very common

It is estimated that up to 43.5 million Americans have dyslexia.

What’s more, it is not a discriminatory condition and can affect anyone from any background. Having said this, dyslexia tends to be under-diagnosed in children of lower socioeconomic status, so it is important to take this into consideration when trying to identify the condition in students.

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4. Other learning conditions can mimic dyslexia

Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions if a child has difficulties with reading and decoding words. These problems could flag up a range of other language disorders that require different kinds of solutions. This list of potential conditions shows just how complicated diagnosing language troubles can be.

5. Don’t forget the importance of comprehension

You may feel reassured and optimistic when a dyslexic child starts to learn to decode words more easily. However, it is important to note that they may not be comprehending the words. Reading is useless if they are not able to take in the information on the page.

If a child shows signs that they are having difficulty with comprehension, encourage them to listen to audiobooks. Listening to other people read can help strengthen a child’s vocabulary and ability to handle complex syntax.

6. Dyslexic students benefit from group reading

Try not to put dyslexic students on the spot during class reading sessions. This could cause them potential embarrassment and could severely knock their confidence. Rather, try group reading sessions where students read a text aloud in unison. Joining their peers in this way can boost the confidence of dyslexic students and help them get to grips with complex sentence structures.

7. Dyslexic students benefit from certain accommodations

After diagnosis, most dyslexic students are offered certain accommodations. Some need extra time to complete assignments or tests, for example, whilst others may need in-classroom aids such as audiobooks. Remember not to go too far with accommodations, however. If a student gets used to someone reading instructions aloud, for example, they may become complacent when it comes to reading words for themselves.

Challenging them on a daily basis is an important part of helping them to grow and develop.