Various tips for educators who must work with boys and girls with this disorder.
Dyslexia has become one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders in the child population in recent years. Although it is very complex to detect an exact percentage of prevalence due to the problem in order to rigorously establish a clear diagnosis, the latest studies affirm that approximately 15% of school students present these difficulties. For this reason, it seems increasingly necessary to define which psycho-pedagogical and psychological orientations are most effective to effectively serve this population group.
Dyslexia: main indicators
Dyslexia is the usual nomenclature that receives the Specific Learning Disorder (ASD) related to the presence of difficulties in the ability to read and write. As provided by the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in its most updated version (2013), it refers to the presence of difficulties in the fluid recognition of words, poor reading decoding in spelling ability and deficits in reading comprehension.
It can also be accompanied by alterations in written expression or mathematical reasoning, which must be additionally specified in the initial diagnosis. Another key aspect is the presence of a preserved level of general intellectual capacity, so that ASD-Literacy is incomptible with significant levels of mental disability, nor can it be explained by sensory deficits, whether visual or auditory. The difficulties indicated must be persistent for a minimum period of six months and must cause a significant interference in the academic development of the student.
More specifically, when observing the following behaviors that are exposed below, the presence of an ASD-Literacy can be suspected, from which it is necessary to propose an exhaustive psycho-pedagogical evaluation that corroborates these indications:
- Altered placement or omission when writing the letters that make up a word.
- Difficulty in acquiring reading ability, poor reading fluency.
- Confusion or forgetting some words.
- Difficulty establishing the temporal sequence between days, months, etc.
- Alteration in attention span and concentration difficulties.
- Greater control in manipulative tasks due to verbal activities.
- Better oral than written expression.
- Lack of command of the alphabet or multiplication tables.
- Need to read a text several times, poor written comprehension.
- Greater command of creative or imaginative capacity.
Orientations in educational care in children with dyslexia
As educators, it is essential to take into account the following guidelines when dealing with a child with this particularity, since an empathetic attitude, reinforcing their potentialities and flexible according to their difficulties will have a protective effect in order to avoid low self-concept or self-esteem problems and even more long-term school failure situations:
1. Establish a daily reading habit of about 20 minutes maximum duration
The content of this reading is recommended to be on a topic of interest to the child, regardless of whether it is a story, a magazine or a comic. The relevant point is that you acquire a positive attitude for reading. It will also be necessary to assess whether the volume of school readings to be carried out during the course should be limited.
3. Make spelling correction more flexible
It seems more effective the priority work of 3-4 spelling norms until their mastery to later add new ones.
5. Facilitate brief, concise statements and requests
Use short sentences to give directions using visual support that can serve as a reference. The indications must be segmented and expressed gradually. It also seems essential to adapt the statements of exercises and exams so that they can be understood by the child, allowing specific explanatory clarifications.
6. Establish a plan of objectives adapted to each case
In these objectives, realistic goals that can be assumed by the student must be specified, either weekly, monthly or quarterly.
7. Facilitate a planning of activities, homework, exams well in advance
In this way, the student with dyslexia will be able to organize their study time, dosing their work in order to avoid the feeling of feeling overwhelmed.
8. Positively reinforce the effort made by the student
This should be done by not prioritizing the result obtained at a quantitative level. In many cases there is a decrease in motivation to do school work, so the support of the educator will be essential for the child.
9. Avoid as educators comparisons with other class children, siblings, etc.
As has been indicated, it is very common for the self-esteem of this type of student to be affected. This fact can greatly harm their academic performance and the achievement of their potential.
10. Emphasize their autonomy when doing their homework.
It is very positive to convey the idea to the student of their potential learning capacity. It is recommended to flee from overprotection regarding non-compliance with their academic responsibilities.
Due to their preserved general cognitive ability, the child is capable of assuming their school obligations, although these are adapted to their specific difficulties. The application of these adaptations is assessed from the educational center in order to quantitatively and qualitatively adapt the methodology, correction criteria and learning objectives for each student individually.
As has been commented in the text, usually the assimilation of the presence of psychopedagogical difficulties in the student himself is a process that can significantly interfere in the psychological development of the child, causing in certain situations a worsening of the initial diagnostic situation. For this reason, an early detection and intervention of the indicated deficits is a fundamental process to prevent further deterioration in the different vital areas of the minor, whether in the academic or emotional aspects.
- American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
- Tamayo Lorenzo, S. Dyslexia and difficulties in the acquisition of literacy. Profesorado, 21 (1): 423-432 (2017).