Embrace their learning differences
Refrain from writing your child off as lazy or slow.Geetha Shantha Ram, director of MOE-aided DAS Literacy Programme & Staff Professional Developmentadvises parents to “embrace dyslexia completely” and be fully aware of what their kid is struggling with.Instead of adopting the “wait and see” approach, she also advises seeking professional help early if you notice any warning signs.There is currently no cure for dyslexia. Neither will your child “outgrow” his learning difference. But it is possible for him to cope and do well in school with the right strategies, says clinical psychologist Vyda S Chai of Think Psychological Services.Research has shown that intervention is most effective when given at an earlier age, at six years old rather than at nine, adds Dr Hugh Catts, professor and director of the School of Communication Science and Disorders at Florida State University.If you wait too long, it becomes more challenging to help the child cope with their learning issues.“Moreover, by the time you wait until the kid is older, he would have missed out on opportunities to acquire vocabulary and knowledge from books,” says Dr Catts, who has spoken on the topic at a talk organised by DAS.The DAS conducts free screening tests. If you suspect that Junior has dyslexia, you can send him for a screener to see if he needs additional support, says Geetha. But note that your child can only be diagnosed after he is exposed to reading and writing.Related: How to raise a child with critical thinking skillsClick on arrows for more.
Teach them to have a healthy self-esteem
Offer plenty of encouragement and acknowledge his effort, no matter how small the achievement may seem, advises Geetha.Reassure him of his potential by sharing success stories. Geetha suggests: “You can describe the similar struggles of other individuals with dyslexia and how they achieved great success in their fields through hard work.”At the same time, involve your child’s teacher in supporting his learning, too. Research has shown that a supportive school and home environment are important factors – in addition to quality intervention – in boosting self-confi dence in dyslexic kids, she adds.Related: 3 ways to boost your kid's memory skills
Work on other areas of strength
While learning to read, write and spell is important, so are other non-academic pursuits. Does Junior seem to have a knack for sports, visual and performing arts or an unusually good sense of business acumen?Help him find his own unique strength and provide opportunities for him to grow his abilities, says Geetha.Related: 3 ways dance lessons help your child's development
Tell them to never give up
A child with a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia may have poorer working memory or processing speed. But this does not mean they are any less intelligent, says Vyda.Not all dyslexics have the same learning difficulties, but you may notice your child taking a longer time to process information, instructions or complete a task. He may also appear more disorganised than his peers.To compensate for this, children with dyslexia are usually encouraged to “over-learn”, shares Vyda. That means, you will need to reinforce new skills repeatedly.But rein in your tiger parent instinct. This method should be done in a fun and positive manner, not scare your kid off learning, adds Vyda. Get tips from your young one’s teacher or therapist.Structure and routines are also tremendously helpful for the disorganised dyslexic. “A structured schedule will help Junior know when to concentrate on work, and play during different times of the day,” says Vyda.Related: 3 way to raise a kind child(Photos: 123RF.com)