How Parents Can Support Children with Dyslexia
11 Mar 2014
As announced at Budget 2014, the School-based Dyslexia Remediation (SDR) programme will be expanded to cover 20 more primary schools this year, bringing the total to 62 schools. Sending children with dyslexia to external remediation centres on a consistent basis may not always be a convenient arrangement, so a programme conducted in school should offer much relief for parents and would also encourage early intervention for these children.
“The School-based Dyslexia Remediation programme aims to enhance access to specialised remediation for dyslexia,” said Angelia Chua, a Senior Specialist in Educational Psychology with the Ministry of Education.
Interim findings from the two-year pilot in 2012 and 2013 had shown that students who took part in the SDR programme saw improvements in their reading and spelling skills. The involvement of parents also had a positive impact on the students’ achievements and attitude towards dyslexia remediation.
Here, Angelia shares some ways parents can further support their children who are coping with dyslexia.
- Ensure your child’s attendance
A regular attendance is the best way for your child to benefit from the SDR programme. So treat it as a priority and make time for your child to attend the sessions after school.
- Show support and understanding
Children with dyslexia face persistent difficulties with reading and spelling. This presents a source of frustration to them, so having their parents’ understanding and support can make a big difference.
One way of building up your child’s self-esteem is to let him or her explore other interests, and discover their strengths, says Angelia. The academics is one aspect, but trying their hand at aesthetics, sports, music, art and other activities would give them a more balanced development. It is also important that your child learns to recognise his or her strengths and weaknesses.
- Encourage a habit of reading
Though children with dyslexia struggle with reading, they generally still enjoy stories like any other child. Angelia shared that children with dyslexia often prefer being read to by others or may sometimes pick books with more pictures and less text. Some may exhibit a dislike for books for a period of time.
But practice is key, so parents can start by reading with their children, bringing them to the library and even encouraging them to attend storytelling sessions. Parents can also use reading booklets provided by the SDR programme, and work on literacy activities during school holidays.
- Observe the little signs of progress
Parents should get regular updates from teachers to understand their child’s behaviour in class. This is in addition to the pen and paper assessment, which may not reveal the subtle progress that your child is making. For example, one can observe if the child has become more confident in reading aloud in class and answering questions, as well as attempting comprehension questions independently rather than giving up easily. Schools would usually update parents of students in the SDR programme using a progress monitoring booklet.
The quality of writing can also be another indication of a child’s progress. Children with dyslexia sometimes simplify their ideas when putting pen to paper, to reduce the likelihood of errors. So parents and teachers can observe if their children are able to spell better, describe more and elaborate ideas in written form.
These are just a few recommendations for parents to support their children during the developmental years. If you have any other tips or suggestions, please share them with us!
The SDR programme is a two-year intervention for Primary Three and Four students who are identified through a systematic screening process for dyslexia conducted at the end of Primary Two.
To find out more, watch this video on the School-based Dyslexia Remediation Programme!