How can I boost my dyslexic child's confidence when he's in class?

My son is in the 7th grade and I'm worried he isn't participating in class because he thinks he doesn't understand the reading material. I try to work with him at home and I'm looking into a specialist, but I'm wondering if anybody knows of any tips to boost his confidence and help him speak up?

Answers

Jamie Martin, Assistive Technology Consultant for Students and Adults with Dyslexia

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Lisa Friedman has offered some great suggestions that may help your son's confidence in school. In addition to her guidance, I would strongly suggest that you get him started on using assistive technology to ensure that he has equal access to the class materials.

Bookshare and Learning Ally are great sources for accessible texts and audiobooks. In addition, text-to-speech technology can help him read any material that is on a computer or mobile device. If he has difficulty with reading comprehension, electronic graphic organizers may help him to visualize the content he is learning about, leading to greater understanding.

Hopefully, having a better handle on his readings will give him the confidence to participate more in class discussions!

Tiffany Sunday, Tiffany Sunday - Dyslexic - Author - Entrepreneur

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Jamie Martin and Lisa Friedman have great suggestions on how to help and agree with both of them that making sure your son understand's what he is reading is very important.

A thought to keep in mind is that most dyslexics are visual and verbal learners and listen closely to what the teacher is saying. As a dyslexic student, writing notes was difficult. During class I absorbed like a sponge everything said by the teacher and my classmates. Second, dyslexia can present a delay in providing a response as Dr. Sally Shaywitz discussed in her book Overcoming Dyslexia. As Lisa suggestion, talk with your son to determine if there are other factors involved.

Lisa Friedman, Inclusive Educator, Religious School Director, writer & speaker

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I think that the most significant thing is to be sure that his teachers are all aware of and understand his diagnosis. Recognizing that Dyslexia does not mean that he has diminished intelligence or weak skills in other areas is also important.

I'd suggest meeting with the teachers and working together to craft a plan that will help your son build confidence and participate more. For example, they could establish a gesture or other signal that he could use to demonstrate that he feels prepared to answer, rather than worrying about being called on at random. It would also likely help him if he is not randomly called on to read aloud in class, but rather is given the opportunity to read material in advance and then volunteer.

As a seventh grader, he is likely aware of what works and does not work for him, so I would certainly involve him in these conversations and plans. Ask him what he feels would help!

Good luck!

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