Over the past few months, I’ve seen a notable increase in the amount of children I provide support to who have dyslexia. This is a neurological condition which can affect a person’s ability to spell, read and write; use their working memory; sequence activities; formulate receptive and expressive language; organise themselves; and process their thoughts.
Around 10% of the UK population is dyslexic, and everyone is affected differently. No two people are the same. I’ve worked a child who had good reading and expressive language skills, and needed visual prompts to retain and recall key parts of the text, due to poor working memory. Whereas another child I’ve worked with had good working memory, and received support with their spelling and receptive language due to delayed thought processing skills.
Many children with dyslexia are dual diagnosed with other neurological conditions, like dyspraxia and autism. With this in mind, it’s imperative for schools and communities to be inclusive and provide the right support and learning frameworks for all children to learn, develop and express their creativity.
I recently used some of Twinkl Education‘s lovely resources to support a student with dyslexia who has difficulty distinguishing between the letters b and d. Differentiating between similar letters/numbers is a familiar occurrence with children and adults with dyslexia. As shown in the photos we used Twinkl’s b and d Workbook to help my student slowly differentiate between the two letters.
Within the workbook there was a page multiple b’s and d’s, and I guided my student to only circle around the b’s. Then on another page, she was asked to only circle the d’s. The workbook also has pages with a range of animals where my student circled the ones which started with b or d, e.g. bear or dog. This booklet is highly visual and simplistic for children and young people requiring additional support with their letters. For me, it was refreshing to progress through these activities, particularly in terms of monitoring my student’s ability to focus on finding the correct letters/animals, because at first, there was a tendency to rush ahead, but with verbal prompts and reassurance, she enjoyed this workbook a great deal.
Another activity I like to do with children to support their sequencing and organisation skills, is a sentence game with post-its. First my student and I created this sentence: “The spotty rabbit is my favourite.” Next, I wrote the sentence on post-it notes so each post-it contained one or two words from the sentence. Initially, the post-its were placed in the correct order of the sentence and we checked this together. At this point, I always overemphasise the location of the capital letter (start) and full stop (end) in the sentence.
After we checked and read the sentence a couple of times, I asked my student to cover her eyes as I moved some of the post-its around to change the order of the sentence. When she opened her eyes she read the sentence aloud and was asked if the new sentence made sense. She was then given the challenge to put the post-it notes back in the correct order to reform the sentence.
The sentence game is another lovely visual and simple activity which can be differentiated for more able students by creating longer sentences which they write onto the post-its themselves. In contrast, this can also be toned down for less able students with the teacher writing ordinal numbers on each post-it to provide additional support with sequencing. Either way, this is a fun learning tool which builds on sequencing, literacy skills and working memory.
Lastly, I’d like to point out that if a child processes information differently, and sees the world through a different lens, it doesn’t restrict their intelligence, determination or their aspiration to be and do great things. Richard Branson, Albert Einstein and Keira Knightley (to name a few) are known to have or had dyslexia. Collectively, they are creative geniuses with inner strength and multiple talents that have inspired people across the world. So with the right support, children with dyslexia can grow up to live happy, successful and fulfilling lives.
Miss H ♥