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Overcoming Dyslexia

Education Expert Advice from Barbara Callaghan

Q: My son is conquering dyslexia, but is still having a hard time spelling. Any suggestions on help?

A: Dyslexia is fairly common. Classroom teachers now have many successful strategies for helping dyslexic children.

Many dyslexics find spelling to be very difficult. One approach to addressing this difficulty is to call more than the sense of sight into play when working on spelling. This is called a multisensory approach. An example of this is: a child spells the word aloud as they trace the letters with their finger in a tray of cornmeal. This activity involves hearing (as the child spells out the word); touching (as the child spells it in the cornmeal); as well as seeing (letters in the cornmeal). Another example of a multisensory approach to spelling is moving plastic letters on a table top as a child says the sounds and arranges the letters.

If your child is in a school system and has been diagnosed as having a learning disability due to dyslexia, he probably has an Individual Education Plan (IEP). This plan addresses the most effective teaching strategies that will help him succeed in school.

If your child does not have an Individual Education Plan, you need to become your child's advocate. Make sure that teachers understand the degree to which your child is affected. Also, tell your son's teachers what strategies have been helpful in the past so that they know to use these strategies with your son.

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After teaching in California for nearly ten years, Barbara Callaghan moved to New Hampshire in 1985 and became a principal. After 10 years as a principal, she returned to teaching, her first love and true vocation.


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