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How to help a Child with Reading Disability

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Most of the children easily learn to read with the right instructions, but some don’t. Reading disability, also known as a reading disorder or dyslexia, is a neurologically-based condition where the sufferer struggles to read. A child with a reading disability struggles to identify speech sounds and relate them to words and letters. A child with dyslexia does not suffer from a mental or visual illness; they have normal vision and intelligence. This means that they can succeed in school with the right support, special education programs, and tutoring.  Early intervention and emotional support can also help in getting a positive outcome.

Ways to help a child with a reading disability.

NOTICE AND CELEBRATE THEIR STRENGTHS

 One of the greatest mistakes that parents make is to be over-consumed by their children’s struggles in reading, among other learning disabilities. Rather than getting worked out by your child’s weakness, it would help if you also celebrated their strengths. Every child, including those with dyslexia, has numerous strengths and abilities. For instance, a child could have a reading disability and have excellent drawing skills or be a good team player. You should not just notice these strengths and talents; you should also openly appreciate them. It would help if you used your child’s strength to improve their confidence before exploring their weaknesses. Talking of your child’s strengths will make it easy for them to accept and work on their weakness.

SET REALISTIC GOALS

Patience is a virtue, but it is more than that when dealing with a dyslexic child. This is because they are slower in progress, and their abilities are limited compared to other kids. A child with a reading disability will take much more time than other kids to get on grade level. Setting small and concrete goals can help the child to make progress in reading. For example, you can set an hour every day of reading aloud your child’s favorite stories. You can also target your child to read several leveled, independent books in a month or just a single chapter of their favorite book in a week.  Go for quality rather than quantity when helping your dyslexic child to make progress in reading.

STOP POINTING OUT EVERY SPELLING MISTAKE

 A child with a reading disability or other learning disability is more likely to have spelling problems even with basic word patterns.  You should avoid highlighting every spelling mistake whenever your child is reading. It is also vital to reassure your child even when they can’t spell words correctly since they have creativity and thoughts. Please encourage your child to read aloud and write what they want even when they spell and pronounce wrongly. It would help let your child use text-prediction software and a dictionary to improve their spelling.  You can also use technology such as audiobooks, among other strategies, to improve their familiarity with words.

OPEN UP ABOUT YOUR WEAKNESSES TOO

 Speaking about your struggles and letting your child realize that you are not perfect gives them the courage to face their challenges. It also helps them overcome their low-self esteem once they realize that all people have their strengths and struggles.  Besides speaking about your weaknesses, you should also tell them how you intend to deal with your struggles. The idea behind this strategy is to encourage your child to accept their struggles and to work hard to improve their abilities.  A child with a reading disability becomes more anxious about reading due to the pressure they face both at home and school. Once the child realizes that you also struggle with life, they stop feeling like failures, and their struggles become less lonely.

IT IS OKAY TO BE A SLOW READER

 Many children with reading disabilities become slow readers though out their lives.  With proper interventions and integration of other talents, their reading abilities may improve. Nevertheless, they may lack the speed and fluency that their peers have.  Rather than focusing on speed, focus on building their accuracy and memory of what they read. For example, if your child is a good artist, encourage them to draw a picture of what happened in each chapter.

LAST but not LIST

TEACH THEM SELF-ADVOCACY

It is very important to teach your child self-advocacy since reading disabilities may affect them throughout their lives.  Teaching children self-advocacy makes it easy to ask for help and understand their strengths and struggles.  It also exposes them to available resources and to access all tools necessary to attain their goals. Besides, self-advocacy improves children’s confidence in school and public life.

Contact us for more information about dyslexia and steps to take towards improving your child’s performance.

Mom and child reading a book in living room
With proper interventions and integration of other talents, their reading abilities may improve.

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