Greetings and welcome to another edition of Education Matters. Delighted to say, my inbox is over flowing with questions and to the many folk who made the effort to contact me, I want you to know that I value your comments and appreciate your needs. Consequently, as a matter of course, I always respond to every question put to me.
Bob of Canggu writes, “this morning I sat down with my child and went through the reading book she’d bought home from school. To my horror, she could barely read it! So then, I asked her to say her two times table, she couldn’t get past 3X2!! About now my head was spinning mainly because all the problems she was having, were almost identical to the ones that I too had experienced at school. I’ve always had and still do have problems with literacy and numeracy. Still get particular letters and numbers round the wrong way and my spelling is rubbish! My wife has said on a number of occasions that I may be Dyslexic but I‘ve never been tested. Is it possible my daughter has a Learning Need or even Dyslexia”?
Thanks for your candour Bob. You have described a number of issues that indicate you and your child may have Dyslexia. However, first and foremost, it is critical to conduct a Dyslexia Assessment and Evaluation by a qualified Education Specialist. This will eliminate the guesswork and determine exactly what, if anything you/your child exhibit. Dyslexia is a Learning Need where the brain processes information differently and thereby interprets data received from the eyes atypically. (Not the same way as typical functioning brains do). In my experience, I have over the years, encountered many children and adults who exhibit low levels of Dyslexia. Such as getting the letters “b” and “d”, “p” and “q” round the wrong way and reversing numbers. This can be addressed with consistent and effective Learning Strategies. In this scenario, it is important for everyone to remain calm without causing a fuss that will impact on the child’s desire to learn.
Before we go much further, I want to address some of the myths surrounding Dyslexia namely:
- It can be cured by swimming with dolphins, jumping on trampolines, coloured eye glasses, submerging the child in a high pressure tank, suspending them upside down or even cranial surgery! Such bizarre and cruel treatments must be called out for what they are, totally fraudulent! Rather, effective Learning Skills must be taught to develop self confidence that will in turn raise the child’s level of motivation to successfully complete academic tasks.
- It’s a result of poor or neglectful parenting.
- The child is lazy or trying to avoid Learning Tasks.
- The child is intellectually “disabled”.
- There is something wrong with my child’s eyes.
- A diagnosis of Dyslexia will mean my child will fail academically, restrict them from progressing to university and generally limit their choices in life.
I am of the opinion, (regardless if your child has a Learning Need or not) it is imperative for as many adults as possible to take a genuine and consistent interest in your child’s Learning Pathway. I still do come across beautiful home settings where grand parent/s take a passionate and active interest in what and how their children are learning at school. Without doubt, this is probably the most challenging and also rewarding role for any individual, yet the Education of the child must be the Number One Priority!
Consider the following:
- Change your mindset and become a Pro Active Parent when it comes to the Education of you child/children. Namely, GET INVOLVED! Find out when parent/teacher meetings take place and make a point of attending them.
- Ask questions! If you are unclear as to what is going on at your child’s school or perhaps unsure about what the school’s expectations of you are, then find out. You’ve got abundant easy to use technology…you know, use the phone part of your hand phone. Talk to someone!
- Talk to your child often. Sit down and have a conversation to find out what actually happened today at school. (Don’t take yep or nup or dunno as an answer!) Use probing questions, i.e questions that require more than a simple response.
- Consistently check your child’s Communication Diary or Homework Book. Invariably, your child will have homework so make sure you know exactly what it is and if your child has completed it to the best of their ability. Also, this provides the ideal opportunity for you to monitor your child’s academic progress to see if he/she has not grasped a particular concept.
- Be the parent you always dreamed of being or at least be the one you never had. (Rather obvious I know, but it needs to be said).
Finally, my homily for this edition of Education Matters is:
“ If you can read this, thank a teacher!”
Dr. Leith is a qualified Primary, Secondary and Special Education Teacher. Has a Master’s Degree in Cognitive Stimulation using Music as a Therapy, A Ph.D in Education Evaluating how Special Education Classroom Teachers Manage Challenging Behaviour. Has lectured and conducted Post Doctoral Research at The School of Psychology and Human Development at The Institute of Education, London University.
If you have a question that you would like to put to Dr. Leith, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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