Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects 5-10 percent of Americans. If your child has dyslexia, he or she can receive help at school, but it is also important to support him at home. You can help your child be successful through the many free activities available to children with dyslexia.
Provide Positivity--And Alternatives
Children who have dyslexia are more prone to emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression, often due to lack of self-esteem and teasing that can occur at school. Pay attention to how your child is acting and learn to recognize how they express stress.
Children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities will usually benefit greatly from extracurricular activities, such as art and sports. This allows them to be successful and enjoy activities without having to continually deal with being dyslexic.
Make Reading Enjoyable
A child with dyslexia may grow to dislike reading as it is so difficult for them. Try to make it an enjoyable activity for your child as this will lead him to be more successful. If your child is really struggling, you might try reading to him often, as this allows the enjoyment of books without feeling bound by dyslexia.
Also, make sure that you have plenty of enjoyable reading material available to your child. This may take the form of comic books, magazines, or even audio books. Children who are finding the content of books too immature for them may like "hi-lo" reading material; these are books that have high interest levels but are designed for children with low reading levels. A list of recommended "hi-lo" reading materials is included in the references section of this article; you can look to borrow these books from your local library. Focus more on your child enjoying the book than reading perfectly.
It is also a good idea to make reading a part of your everyday life. For example, if you are at the grocery store, encourage your child to read the names of items on the shelf. Take a trip to a museum or the zoo and encourage your child to read the signs. Be sure that you are also reading regularly and that your child sees you enjoying a book. This will make reading seem like more of an enjoyable activity than a chore.
Support Your Child Academically
Homework can seem like a long and daunting task for a child with dyslexia, but you can help make this easier for her. Creating a homework schedule with breaks can add more structure to this time. Also, give your child small rewards for completing tasks. For example, finishing a worksheet can earn her ten minutes of television time. If your child is having excessive difficulty with homework, you may need to modify it for her--i.e., you can alternate reading paragraphs or lines with your child.
Creating opportunities for your child to write can help to build and maintain his skills. Writing a list can be a short but beneficial activity. You can also get your child a journal or notebook to write down his thoughts or create stories. You can also do some writing as he dictates to you and then give him a chance to do some writing of his own.
Take the time to focus on learning to print and write letters, as well. Many children with dyslexia find handwriting easier than printing, as they are less likely to confuse letters. Try giving your child thick pens to practice writing, or thick markers or crayons, as these can be easier to grip. Using a chalkboard or whiteboard also makes sense. Encourage your child to use the computer to write compositions. This makes it easier for her to keep things neat and she will also have access to spell check. This will help your child to develop her ideas and focus on creating content rather than the troubles attributed to her dyslexia.
Playing games is a great way to help your dyslexic child. There are a number of great websites online that offer free activities that help children with dyslexia, and you may also find board games that help your child. Find links below to these resources:
Scholastic's The Stacks has numerous writing games that range in difficulty from writing captions to creating a story.
Kaboose has reading games designed for children ages 3 and up.
Starfall.com features many phonics games and activities to help your child learn to read.
PBS Kids has a number of circus-themed games and stories that may appeal to your child. These games can help children practice the skills they need while also being fun and enjoyable, which helps to engage them.
Hirsch, David. "Helping Children with Dyslexia", http://www.webmd.com/parenting/helping-children-with-dyslexia
Brown, Dale S. "Strategies for Summer Reading for Children with Dyslexia", http://www.readingrockets.org/article/15569/
Basic Ways to Help Your Dyslexic Child, http://www.beingdyslexic.co.uk/pages/information/parents-guardians/helping-your-child/basic-ways-to-help-in-every-day-life.php