Dyslexia: strengths, advantages and opportunities
Despite not always being high achievers in certain areas such as reading or spelling, dyslexic children can excel in many activities. The way in which they approach their work can often give them a great advantage. Here are some typical – positive – characteristics of dyslexic children:
Children with dyslexia are often more determined to succeed and can be more hardworking than most children their age. In fact dyslexia can in itself be a motivating factor in a child's attitude towards work, giving them greater patience and perseverance with tasks.
A dyslexic child often excels in lessons which encourage creativity and the use of imagination, such as drama, art, and music. This freedom of expression enables unique and personal responses to activities.
Awareness of shapes
Those with dyslexia often have an innate ability to visualise 3D images from 2D plans and rearrange them mentally in order to create unique ideas. Architecture and design roles which require them to build and construct are ideal and help unleash their creative potential.
Dyslexic children often retain and decipher information in a different way to other children. They can think laterally and see a link between sometimes unconnected ideas which means they can ‘see' what others may not.
Dyslexia doesn’t have to be a barrier to success. Many well-known figures have had dyslexia. It is believed that Albert Einstein was dyslexic, as well as actors Orlando Bloom and Whoopi Goldberg, boxer Mohammad Ali, Virgin boss Richard Branson, artist Leonardo da Vinci, musician John Lennon and politician Winston Churchill, to name but a few! The success and achievements of these individuals shows that with motivation and support, dyslexia need not be a stumbling block.
Supporting children with dyslexia
Every person has their own unique learning style. Understanding how dyslexic children learn best is vital to creating a positive and constructive learning experience for them both in school and at home. Try these tips:
- Using creative materials, such as clay or paint, will help your child visualise what they are trying to learn. Encourage your child to paint the alphabet or words on a big piece of paper and later on when having a bath, recap what they have learnt by drawing on the wall with bath crayons. The hands-on approach will make word-play fun and consolidate learning.
- Use colours to organise things, such as books, folders and notebooks so they correspond with each other making it easier for your child to access their work.
- Read your child a bedtime story but with a twist. Choose their favourite story book but tell them they have to read one specific word each time it appears. The fact that they are concentrating on reading their assigned word will help them remember it. The next night give them two words to remember and so on.
- Play ‘hide and seek' with your child and their favourite object. Simply hide the object, for example a toy, and leave short notes around the house giving them clues as to where it is hidden. This will encourage them to read in order to find the item.