Dyslexia is a type of learning disability that manifests as a difficulty in reading and processing numbers and letters, and translating them into meaningful data. People with undiagnosed dyslexia are often mistaken as either just too lazy to study or “slow” in terms of learning. This is not true, however. People with dyslexia are individuals with average to above-average intelligence and are usually highly motivated to learn and overcome their condition.
If you would like to know how to help people, especially children, with dyslexia reach their full potential, here are some things you can do:
- Keep in mind that dyslexia is NOT a disease. It is not something that warrants pity or is contagious. Dyslexia is a condition that is caused by an impairment in how the brain processes written images into meaningful information. And, as mentioned earlier, people with dyslexia are not lazy or stupid. They are highly capable of learning and reaching full potential, especially if they are given the right kind of support and opportunities.
- Be encouraging and supportive of people with dyslexia but make sure to leave enough room for them to work independently and to not make them feel helpless. Assist them in learning when needed and help them get through difficult lessons, but respect the space they need to learn the lessons and explore on their own. Give them a sense of pride by letting them know that they are just as capable of excelling in academics as regular students are and that having dyslexia does not mean they have limited academic opportunities or career choices. Whenever possible, introduce them to successful individuals who have dyslexia or talk about famous people with dyslexia.
- Be flexible. People, especially children, with dyslexia often need more time to learn new lessons and accomplish tasks so it is best to be flexible with time limits or deadlines and give them the extra time they need to do what you ask them to do. Give them time to finish practice exercises for each new lesson you give them, to participate in discussions, give their opinions and to ask you questions so it can be an interactive learning experience for them too.
- Emphasize that mistakes are okay. Also, create an atmosphere where mistakes are considered part of learning and let them know that it is all right to make mistakes. Show them that you are there to help or assist them all the way.
- People with dyslexia need to be taught using a multisensory approach. You should also take into consideration what their respective learning styles are so you can be more effective in teaching them. Knowing their personalities, cognitive strengths and weaknesses, motivation for learning, and what learning methods have worked for them and which ones haven’t may also help you be more efficient in addressing their needs. It is also important to know their dyslexic characteristics so you can be guided on how to address them properly.
There are numerous ways you can extend your help to people with
dyslexia. Whether it is through teaching them or by simply giving them
the support and encouragement they need, the help you extend to them
will help them achieve more and will always be appreciated by the
individuals and their families.