Dyslexic children

Tips for parents supporting Dyslexic children

Categorised in: Insights | Posted on: 16 January 2024

Last year, Kate and Sarah were invited to share their expertise in their webinar, “Practical Strategies for Parents in Supporting Children with Dyslexia”, as part of Dr Kathy Weston’s Tooled Up Education parent webinar series.

We now present their advice as bite-sized clips on the topics that they covered. The tips, learning strategies and resources that they have found useful in their teaching practice and advisory roles are by no means exhaustive; there are many strategies, products and useful websites available. Our aim is to provide a starting point for parents as well as teachers in supporting dyslexic children effectively.

Every child with dyslexia, or dyslexic type difficulties, has their own unique profile. This is why understanding the individual’s profile and one-to-one tuition are often the most effective intervention, providing a safe place to learn. The work that Sarah and Kate are passionate about focuses on a holistic approach that meets individuals needs. Their approach empowers parents and dyslexic children alike.

1. Introduction to Dyslexia

In this first clip of a series of seven by Sarah and Kate, Kate looks at what we understand by the term ‘Dyslexia’ and what difficulties we observe. She explains the assessment process that can result in a diagnosis, and how dyslexia overlaps with other diagnosable difficulties that affect learning and daily life. Kate also explains why taking a holistic approach that considers the development of a child is important.

2. Reducing cognitive load & scaffolding

Kate explains what is meant by the terms ‘cognitive load ‘and ‘scaffolding’ when we are supporting pupils who find any aspect of learning, or daily living challenging. Our understanding of these underpins how we can effectively support pupils.

3. Early years and KS1 tips to support reading

This short webinar gives parents an idea of how to support children in the early stages of learning to read. Sarah includes a short 2-minute clip to demonstrate reading with your child. She discusses:

– The importance of rhyme
– Engaging reluctant readers with a text
– Making use of flashcards
– Reading games
– Magnetic alphabet letters

Exposure to hearing stories being read aloud can be really helpful for young children. Whilst there is no better way than finding that precious time to read with your child, when time is short, subscribing to a YouTube channel such as @storyvisionstudiosuk191  can be a good way for your child to access story time. There are also useful apps such as ‘Hairy Letters’ for fun, game-based phonics practice, which is the precursor to the brilliant online Nessy Reading and Spelling Programme.

4. Support spelling & fine motor skills in Early Years & KS1

Sarah gives parents an idea of how to support children in the early stages of learning to spell. She discusses:

– The importance of clear articulation as well as pronunciation
– How cursive handwriting can help some children with spelling fluency
– The importance of the vowels
– Chunking words into syllables
– A variety of ways to remember tricky spellings

She also discusses how to support fine motor skills for writing, the use of pencil grips, and a variety of fun activities at home.

5. Supporting reading and literacy KS2

Sarah shares ideas on how to support dyslexic children with literacy during KS2 and preparing them for secondary school.

She discusses the importance of reading with your child and shows a short clip that models paired reading. Sarah also explains the 5-finger test for choosing a book independently.

Sarah discusses the use of writing frames for creative writing such as use of the brilliant Story Star method by BulletMap Academy as well as the use of graphic organisers to plan written work.

6. Touch typing & assistive technology

Sarah discusses the importance of Assistive Technology in helping dyslexic children achieve their full potential. She references the importance of touch typing proficiency and making use of many of the free assistive technologies that are available.

7. Dyslexia and maths

Kate explains how dyslexic type difficulties can impact on maths and what we mean by the term ‘dyscalculia’.

She explains the importance of gaining a concrete understanding of number and place value. Kate explores why this is needed as a secure foundation in mathematical learning.

Using simple concrete resources Kate demonstrates how to build a real understanding of different maths concepts to aid retention.

Kate also shares how to progress from concrete materials to virtual manipulative using the resource mathsbot.com and how 1:1 intervention for maths fills gaps and reduces anxiety.

Dyslexia specialists

Sarah Cox

Sarah Cox is a trained Dyslexia Specialist, SEN Consultant for Osborne Cawkwell Tuition and Head of Learning Support for an Independent Pre-Preparatory school in Hampton. As an SEN consultant, Sarah bridges the gap between the guidance a student receives from a diagnostic assessment report or SENDCo in school, and the work a tutor does with a student at home.

Sarah also delivers tutor training on how to support neurodiverse students effectively and advises parents on SEN-related issues. She believes all educators should have a basic knowledge of Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) to support children effectively and to understand the implications on learning, as well as mental health. Teaching for neurodiversity is helpful for all. It is crucial for the children whose mental well-being can suffer greatly when in a learning environment that does not effectively support their needs or learning style.

Kate King

During nearly two decades experience as a specialist teacher and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator in the independent sector, Kate King has provided support for children, advised parents and managed the school-wide provision of support both in and outside the classroom.

Kate has a comprehensive knowledge of how difficulties can impact learning, relationships as well as everyday life. As a passionate supporter of a neurodiverse approach, recognising and respecting neurological differences as human variation, she advocates an approach that is centred on the needs of the individual.

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