In the final part, we will discuss technology, self-esteem and home life. Many of the other previous blogs ideas can be incorporated together as they tend to over flow and interact with one another.
- Assistive Technology (AT) gives invaluable support. Most children experience it from a very young age now and can use their parent’s phones all too well.
- There are so much hardware and software available that it is easy to be overwhelmed by the choice. Don’t jump at everything out there, a lot of it is very expensive and may not be of use at home anyway. Ask your resource teachers for advice on what if anything might help your particular child.
- Most secondary schools now use a tablet instead of books so make sure your child knows how to use one.
- Develop keyboard skills such as typing. We used Mavis Beacon for this, I think you can get a free trial. Even if your child isn’t really into computers explain that this will help them in second and third level.
- Check with the school if they will allow your child to use a word or a similar product to produce written homework instead of writing it by hand.
- Use calculators earlier if possible in primary school. A lot of primary schools now use calculators from 4th class anyway.
- From my discussions with students, the new maths curriculum is very “English written” based, so a lot of reading. This has according to my research made it a more difficult exam for children with dyslexia but don’t give up. Most parents end up using private tutors in secondary level and this one to one support should help.
- These websites will help further your research into AT:
UCC Assistive Technology Outreach have online videos showing how to use AT at
Dyslexia Association of Ireland (www.dyslexia.ie) and UrAbility (www.urability.com) have courses on AT.
- Self-esteem means young people feel competent and capable of achieving new goals/challenges when sitting in front of them.
- This can be fostered by you as parents taking an interest in their activities and giving praise for their achievements.
- Encouragement is needed, so get them to take up activities that will give them successes and focuses on their strengths and what they like. This could be in the areas of sports, drama, music, art, scouts, or voluntary social activities.
- Spend time together as a family and allow them to contribute and be listened to. I always found that when we engaged in family discussions over dinner it enabled everyone to have a say. But you may have to act as referee to ensure that all get a chance at voicing their opinions. Believe me, dyslexic kids will voice their opinions from an early age. It continued on in our house, even today with many debates going on over the dinner take when we get together now -all my children are now adults.
- Ge them all involved in planning outings at the weekend. Encourage them to bring a friend. It’s amazing what you learn about your child by just observing them with their friends and listening to their conversations. This will help promote social skills and verbal expression also.
- Watching TV programmes, films – these don’t have to be movies but documentaries as well – or the News together will also encourage opinions to be expressed and knowledge to be gained.
- Ask them to help with decisions about holidays or home decoration. Particularly about their bedrooms or playroom.
- Don’t forget about clothes and food shopping. You need them to learn to cook and make a budget, these are good life skills but they are also good ways of teaching maths and reading in a non-pressurised way as you tell them the words they don’t know.
- Never put them under too much pressure here it’s about having a good time with you and the rest of the family.
- Dependent on age and trust your gut instinct on this. Be open about the fact the student has learning difficulties, they learn differently from other kids but they are not stupid. Don’t attempt to do this until you know what dyslexia is and what it means for your child. Reassure them that they can talk to you and you will listen and try to help.Always keep the lines of communication open even when you only get a grunt in reply, they’ll come back around again.
- You will have needed to have a discussion about the assessment with them, the amount of information you need to give before you have a diagnosis will depend upon their age and amount of information you deem appropriate.
- By the time they finish the second level they should know how dyslexia affects them, what their learning style is and all their strengths and weaknesses. This will aid them to make appropriate decisions in the future and for learning at third level.
- Don’t treat them any different than other children, yes they need extra support but over all they want you to love, care and support them just as you do your other children. And just like your other children they need rules and guidance maybe just repeated a bit more often.
- Help your child to be organised in the house. But pick your battle carefully. Get them to pack away their books etc in school bags the night before and have a copy of their timetable alongside your calendar so you know the PE days.
- When old enough they can make their own lunches the night before but still check the bags for these in the morning along with pens, glasses etc.
- Have a box of pens, pencils etc handy because if they are anything like mine they will never have a pen or pencil and every day you will need a new one. Although one of mine was very particular about her pencils and no one could use them.
- Home should be a safe place away from stress. Some children will tend towards being naturally untidy, that’s not unusual. I often found a toy left behind when my son was in the toilet or kitchen. He had simply become distracted by what he was doing and forgot it. They will become distracted easily so be prepared for this.
- Have consistent routines. Use calendars and give one to each child for their room. Fill them in during the Christmas holidays and at the beginning of the school year. Fill in each calendar with days off, holidays, exam timetables etc. As the children get older they can help fill them out.
- Plan out some after school activities too something they like that doesn’t put them under pressure. Eventually, your child will pick what they like to do best.
- Make lists of jobs and chores to be done. Don’t expect them to be perfect but in time the child should get the idea of how to cook and clean a home. This is a valuable life skill they are learning.
- As I said, keep a master file where all the school reports and assessments are held. The assessment report is an important document and may be needed in future
years alongside any exemptions granted in primary and secondary schools.
- Be informed about dyslexia, read books, attend lectures or courses and talk to professionals so you are aware of what is available and can help your child. Talking to other parents of dyslexic children will help to support you. Join a brand of DAI near you and get involved.
- Encourage the development of keyboarding skills, more and more secondary schools are using tablets for school now. So encourage the use of electronic devices from an early age if possible.
- It is tough during the primary and secondary school years but it gets better, you need to be highly organised unfortunately and thinking ten steps ahead all the time. But this stops once they are old enough to take over.
- A word of caution though on the third level, yes it is their responsibility to contact the services in their university or college but you will have to remind them and have all documentation ready for them.
- You want to foster an independence in them like all other children so go for it.
I hope you have found this series of help if you have a specific question to ask please do so I’m more than happy to help as I know what it was like to raise 5 dyslexic children. It’s tough at the start but it gets better and you’ll never change a moment of it.
If you have any questions about dyslexia or anything else please contact us we would be happy to help. Mobile 0894373641 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or by PM on Social Media: http://www.twitter.com/DBpsychology or http://www.facebook.com/DBpsychology
#ablehour is a great support for people with disabilities. It is on every Thursday night at 8pm If you know of other hours please leave them in the comments below for others to see.