How to Support Your Child with Dyslexia

How to Support Your Child with Dyslexia

Parenting a child with dyslexia in Singapore presents unique challenges, but they’re not by any means insurmountable. Properly informed, understanding, and supportive parents are entirely capable of transforming these challenges into opportunities for growth. This guide aims to help parents navigate the landscape of dealing with dyslexia and provide tips they can employ to support their children.

Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty often referred to as a reading disorder. Indeed, for the most part, the condition affects the skills involved in reading and spelling words. Regardless of their actual intelligence, individuals with dyslexia may have trouble with the following:

  • Phonological awareness, or the ability to identify and manipulate the sounds of speech
  • Verbal memory
  • Verbal processing speed

No two individual cases of dyslexia present exactly the same, and the identifying signs may in fact vary widely from case to case. However, there are many common indicators that concerned parents can watch out for, including:

  • Difficulty learning new words
  • Spelling errors
  • Difficulty reading aloud
  • A tendency to confuse letters that look similar, such as p and q or d and b
  • Difficult-to-read handwriting
  • Needs more time to process written information
  • Performs better at oral methods of academic evaluation than written ones

Dyslexia is recognised as one of the most common learning difficulties. In Singapore, the incidence of dyslexia is around 10%, with 4% of cases being severe enough to necessitate professional intervention. About 20,000 primary and secondary school students in the country have dyslexia in some form. It is important to remember, however, that the challenges faced by people with dyslexia don’t indicate anything about any individual's intelligence or potential. By exploring a diagnosis as early as possible and working with a qualified educational therapist in Singapore, parents can set their children up to thrive throughout their time in school, and even beyond.

Dyslexia Diagnosis and Testing

Diagnosing dyslexia is a multi-step process that typically involves a thorough assessment conducted by an educational psychologist or a specialist dyslexia organisation. This process may include tests for cognitive abilities, reading and spelling skills, and verbal and non-verbal reasoning. The diagnostic process may also include a review of the child's developmental, medical, educational, and family history.

Parents and caregivers should be vigilant for early signs of dyslexia, as early intervention can help mitigate both the academic and the socio-emotional impacts of the condition. If a parent notices that their child is consistently struggling with reading and spelling, frequently reversing letters and words, or avoiding activities that involve reading, despite regular practice and traditional instruction, it might be time to consider a professional evaluation.

How Parents Can Help Kids with Dyslexia

Proactive parental support makes all the difference to children growing up with dyslexia. Here are five things you can do to ensure that help your child succeed in the classroom and beyond:

Break Material Down into Manageable Units

One effective strategy for helping a child with dyslexia is to break down lengthy learning materials into more digestible pieces. This technique, often referred to as chunking, can make complex information easier to absorb. A child with dyslexia may, for instance, have a hard time reading an entire page of text at once. Parents may be able to help them get through the material more effectively by encouraging them to read the text a paragraph at a time, or even sentence by sentence. It’s also possible to use this strategy for other subjects like mathematics by breaking down complex problems into individual steps.

Set Up a Dedicated Study Area

Children with dyslexia often find it difficult to filter out distractions coming from other people and the environment, such as ambient noise or visual clutter. Therefore, setting up a quiet, well-organised study area can significantly help. This area should be well-lit and comfortable to help the child focus on their work. All necessary learning materials should also be prepared and within reach, so the child can apply themselves to their tasks without having to get up and look around for what they need.

Nurture Their Self-Esteem

The difficulties children with dyslexia encounter in their learning lives often take a negative toll on their self-esteem. Many may compare themselves with peers who do not have dyslexia, which can only worsen their sense of self-worth. Therefore, parents must affirm their child's worth, emphasising their strengths and non-academic talents. By the same token, it’s always worthwhile to celebrate their child’s victories, no matter how small. Encouraging words and understanding can help build resilience and a positive self-image in a child with dyslexia.

Build Critical Thinking Skills

Dyslexia primarily affects language-based tasks, but it does not impede a child's ability to think critically. In fact, many individuals with dyslexia exhibit can think creatively and develop imaginative solutions to complex problems. Encouraging these skills in a child with dyslexia could thus help nurture a love for learning that can further motivate them to work through their difficulties. Activities that parents can employ to help build critical thinking and problem-solving include puzzles, strategy games, or open-ended questions that promote reflection and reasoning. 

With the right support and a conducive learning environment, a child with dyslexia can flourish and achieve success in their own unique ways. It is their diverse strengths and capabilities that can lead them to thrive in the future, proving that dyslexia is not a roadblock, but a different path to success.

03 Jul 2023
SG Expats

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