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Dyslexic Champions

What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning difficulty which primarily affects reading and writing skills. However, it does not only affect these skills. Dyslexia is actually about information processing. Dyslexic people may have difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear, which can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills. Dyslexia can also impact on other areas such as organisational skills. It can range from mild to severe, and it can co-occur with other learning difficulties. It usually runs in families and is a life- long condition. There is no cure for dyslexia and individuals with this condition must learn coping strategies. A common misconception about dyslexia is that it involves reading backwards. Reversed words and letters may occur, but might be only a small part of the picture. Simply put, dyslexia is trouble learning to read and write despite average intelligence and conventional teaching. Dyslexia affects both males and females.

Research indicates that dyslexia has no relationship to intelligence. Individuals with dyslexia are neither more nor less intelligent than the general population. But some say the way individuals with dyslexia think can actually be an asset in achieving success. Many people with dyslexia have gone on to accomplish great things. Among the many dyslexia success stories are Thomas Edison, Stephen Spielberg, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Walt Disney and Charles Schwab.

The accepted definition, adopted by the International Dyslexia Association in 2002 reads as follows:
“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological [a difference in the brain] in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding [sounding words out] abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language [matching sound and letters] that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instructions. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”

Characteristics of Dyslexic Students in the Classroom may include:
•    Trouble with reading (silent or aloud)
•    Poor spelling
•    Trouble organizing and writing thoughts and ideas
•    Poor grammar
•    Poor handwriting
•    Weak memory
•    Difficulty sounding out short or long words
•    Weak vocabulary
•    Trouble understanding what is read
•    Family members with similar problems
•    Delayed spoken language as a child
•    Possible trouble pronouncing long words
•    Possible difficulty with mathematics

What we do at our school to support children with dyslexia:
•    Use dyslexic friendly fonts for our slides/ presentations and activities where possible.
•    Use pale coloured backgrounds on slides/ presentations.
•    Spellings on the children’s desk that they frequently spell incorrectly for reference in all lessons.
•    Block out extraneous stimuli (reading windows to block out parts of the book that they don’t need to read yet/ have already read).
•    Coloured overlays for reading.
•    Coloured exercise books for all subjects.
•    Use of an ipad/ laptop for different ways of recording work.
•    Given 5 spellings instead of 10 so there is not as much information to remember.
•    When asking questions- we pause for longer before asking for answers.
•    Print out activities and slides to minimise any copying from the board.
•    Visual timetables.
•    Use multi- sensory ways for the teaching of spellings.
•    Break information and instructions into smaller ‘chunks’.
•    Pre-teach new vocabulary.
•    Maintain daily routines where possible.
•    Provide additional practice activities.

Dyslexic Font:


10 ways you can help at home:
1. Read to your child: this will instil a love of words and stories. Also, by reading to your child, you can discuss words, their meanings and sounds, while enriching their vocabulary.
2. Read aloud together: this may sound counterintuitive as it takes more time for a child with dyslexia to read aloud, but reading aloud helps your child to understand the flow of a sentence.
3. If your child reads to you, bear in mind that black letters over white paper can be very difficult for them to decrypt, and some fonts are easier to read than others. Look out for Dyslexia friendly books and fonts.
4. You could also use a ruler to help your child find their way through a sea of text.
5. Listen to audiobooks. They’re a great way for your child to acquire familiarity with a text. 
6. Overlearning: read and re-read the same text. You may get bored of it but repetition is definitely an ally, as it reinforces understanding of and familiarity with words.
7. Follow your child’s pace as it'll take your child longer to process the information they read.
8. Give them plenty of praise and encouragement when they’re completing a writing or reading task. It’s not easy for them and sticking at it is fantastic.
9. Practise spelling patterns with your child, highlighting difficult letter combinations with coloured pencils or highlighters e.g. receive, autumn. It’s been proven that learning spellings by heart is counterproductive with dyslexic children. 
10. Have a multisensory approach to learning spellings. Who says words have got to be written down? You could use wooden blocks of letters, air writing, wax crayons on A3 coloured paper or even ‘acting out’ letter combinations!

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Recommended Websites

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