Teaching Children with Dyslexia in Mainstream Schools 1. Introduction- What is Dyslexia? Swarbrick and Marshall (2004:1) state that, “Dyslexia is a learning disability that primarily affects one’s ability to learn to read and develop a strong understanding of language.” Dyslexia is not just related to difficulties faced in reading; instead, it also involves difficulties in “oral communication, organizational skills, following instructions, and telling time” (Swarbrick & Marshall 2004:1)…
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A dyslexic child may gain competency over reading after much struggle in elementary school; but once he goes into high school, he may start facing trouble learning a second language. He may have learnt basic arithmetic after putting in effort; but as he goes into higher grades, he may start having problems with algebra. Hence, the context and level of dyslexia changes as the child grows older. Dyslexia, in short, means that the child will have difficulty reading as fast as his peers, and will also find it hard to comprehend. When dyslexia was not discovered, this disease would go unnoticed, because most of the children in olden times would discontinue their education before they went into high schools. But in today’s modern world, dyslexia is quickly diagnosed when a child is seen not to be coming at par with his peers in showing strong literacy skills in academic performance and standardized tests, when all students are expected to perform at least an average. Today, a child with dyslexia quickly lags behind in his class, converting the “learning difference” of olden times into “a learning disability” (Swarbrick & Marshall, 2004:4). ...
These problems can hinder reading skills in all children who are not even dyslexic, but cannot develop dyslexia. Dyslexia is a disability that occurs when brain shows faulty or slowed down processing of information (Hartas, 2006:11). Still, it cannot be considered as a mental disorder. Hodge (2006, para.6) states that, “Of particular importance is an understanding of the problems that poor auditory short term memory can cause, in terms of retaining input from the teacher.” Dyslexic children show certain problems that are characteristic of this particular learning disability. These problems are associated with language processing barriers, mental processing difficulties, or the competency to imagine successively. To state a few, here are some of the problems that dyslexic children face in mainstream schools: They face difficulty in understanding phonics, like finding it hard to split apart and understanding little units of sound. For example, they will have to struggle with understanding that “cap” comprises of sounds of /c/, /a/, and /p/. They do not remember words, like names of items shown to them. Their vocal answer to visual stimulus is delayed because of not being able to store information in short-term memory. They show reduced digit span, like not being able to remember a short list of numbers. They find it difficult to organize things in order. They show poor visual perception, like confusing /b/ with /d/, /n/ with /u/, /p/ with /q/, /bin/ with /nib/, etc. 3. Teaching Strategies for Children with Dyslexia Helping dyslexic children learn and perform in classrooms can be a very challenging task for teachers, because they may confuse their underachievement with
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