Following on from Part 1 I would like to say that if you learn the following and nothing else that's great:
- Learn everything you can about what dyslexia means for your child.
- Be able to communicate with the school your child is currently attending and keep communication open with them.
- Make sure your child has a safe haven away from academic pressures at home.
- Get your child interested in activities that are of interest to them and that is not academic, to raise their self-esteem.
- Keep the lines of communication open between yourself and your child at all times. This is important for any parent and any child. Even when it gets tough and all you receive back are grunts keeps talking with them, not at them.
- Stop feeling Guilty.
- Join a support group for you. It's great talking to other parents, they are a wealth of information. You also learn you are not alone.
This is not an extensive list above but it may help just to remember or work on these at first.
- Never do your child's homework, the teacher needs to see where the child is struggling so they or the resources teacher can help
- Use the homework diary as a means of communication between you and the teacher(s). This is a two-way street so the teacher can communicate with you. So check daily.
- As suggested last week no distractions, see these ideas from part 1.
- Be in the background and check the homework is done to the best of their ability, don't correct it. but help them to learn how to lay out their homework. Use mind maps for story or essay writing as well as learning about new topics. ( see my blog post on how to do this)
- Ask the teacher can they use a laptop or word processor to complete their work on and print out the results to hand in.
- Organisation and planning are key particularly for teenagers with so many classes. Using a calendar to keep an eye on key dates for assignments. Having a system of colour coding their timetable and books etc to match particular subjects. This will also help them get used to the idea of doing this at Third level.
See also some suggestions from last week about the environment around homework.
Communication with school - crucial!
- Make sure the school knows about your child's diagnosis as soon as you do.
- Make an appointment to see the principal and teacher together to discuss this.
- Before the school starts to talk to the teacher or year head involved and give the teacher(s) a copy of the summary at the end of your child's assessment. Make sure the teacher(s) knows about dyslexia and what it means for your child. Give them a written outline if possible of how they could help your child.
- Suggest through the parents association and principal that the school hold a training on dyslexia for the staff if they don't understand dyslexia.
- Make sure the teacher knows you will use the homework journal as a means of sending notes and vice a versa.
- If your child doesn't read fluently make sure the teacher knows this and doesn't call on them to read aloud in class nothing destroys confidence as quickly as being made to do this
- Ask the teacher for written copies of homework and notes be given to the student, particularly in secondary and third level.So they can get organised and take notes in class, thus concentrating on what is being said not on trying to read as well.
- Ask if the child could sit in front of the class if it helps with concentration but be mindful of friends in this regard.
- Make sure the school knows if the child is getting stressed about anything.
Key dates for Secondary and Third level (Ireland only Please check with your school in other jurisdictions)
- Long before your child starts secondary look at the subject choices the school has to offer and the types of programs for completing the leaving cert also. There are so many ways into college these days that it is worth finding out about these and how they can help your child.
- Ask your child what they would like to do, what subjects would they like to take, show them what's on offer, discuss all the possibilities with them. Look at their assessment what is their strengths. Again don't forget friends in all of this, moving away from friends can be hard but not impossible.
- Before entry to secondary school, make sure the school has a copy of your child's latest report and a copy of your child exemption from Irish if already granted in primary school.
- Meet with the principal and new year head as soon as possible. If they have a parent liaison office and resources teacher meet with them also.
- Send the report to the school in advance of this meeting as well as a note about what you wish to discuss is helpful to everyone.
- Don't assume all the teachers will know your child has dyslexia, make sure they do, send in a summary section of your child's report to each of them and keep in communication with them. Every Year you will need to do this and any time there is a change of teacher.
- Again make sure they understand how dyslexia affects your child.
- Third-year applications to accommodations are made in October of the start of the third year (RACE). If these are granted for the junior cert exam please make sure they are also present for the mock exams in February. You may have to remind the school about your child's need to apply -don't be surprised by this it happens.
- Third year /Transition year. Make an application for an exemption from Irish language and a foreign language to NUI - if your child has one. You will need a copy of exemptions granted from the schools your child has attended. ( see NUI right click this link for pdf from NUI) they are very helpful.
- Other colleges can be approached separately if your child is applying and if they need a language exemption. Remember to read the application criteria for entry before contacting the college involved, as some colleges don't require a language as entry requirements to their courses.
- DARE routes please find out everything you need about these in Transition year and how and when to apply - CAO application in the sixth year - see www.accesscollege.ie (http://accesscollege.ie/dare/making-a-dare-application/)
- Application for RACE is made in May of Firth year Not the Sixth year so keep Christmas exam scripts to help in your application. Again you may have to remind the school about your child's need to apply -don't be surprised by this it happens.
- Remember it's the student's responsibility to complete the application for the CAO and all its components. So make sure you as parents understand the application form and are there to help. Fill in the declaration of disability and the application for DARE. Sections B and C These must be with DARE by 1st April.
- It is also the student's responsibility to ensure the CAO has notification of any exemption from language requirements. The NUI will write to you with their grant of exemption.
As I said at the start of these blogs helping your child requires a lot of information and keeping an eye on the future at all times. Take your time reading these posts, make notes, print them off and place them in a reference file you can go back to in the future. Next week we'll tackle technology, self-esteem and home life.
If you have any questions about dyslexia or anything else please contact us we would be happy to help. Mobile 0894373641 or email email@example.com or by PM on Social Media.