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Why Multi-Sensory Learning?
Multi-sensory learning is the use of multiple senses including vision, hearing, tactile and movement to teach a child new concepts and skills. The more types of sensation we use to learn a particular concept, the better the information is retained in the brain. Multi-sensory learning also helps the child to connect information to previous knowledge and experiences.
Children with dyslexia usually tend to be visual and tactile learners. They learn by seeing, feeling and doing. Teaching them through talking and lectures is not the best way to teach them. It's important that we use multiple sensory experiences to teach the child.
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Children with dyslexia need to work with an object to understand counting, numbers and calculations. Here are a collection of ideas to teach multi-sensory math:
- Use stones, beads and small toy animals to teach addition and subtraction
- Use an abacus to teach counting.
- Teach children shapes by asking them to collect different objects that are in the shape of a circle, square etc.
- Help the children pick up rocks from outside and then arrange them in order of size.
- Teach patterning using blocks, leaves or pieces of colored paper
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They also need help and support to learn to read. They also find reading a difficult and frustrating task and need motivation. Here are a collection of ideas to promote multi-sensory reading:
- Follow a recipe from a book to make a simple snack.
- Make a “shopping list" for the children and ask them to collect the various things on the list from the classroom.
- Use tapes where the story is being read out slowly. The child can listen to the tape while following it in the book.
- Allow the child to sit/lie in any comfortable position for reading.
- Use books with lots of pictures and few words to start reading.
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Children with dyslexia have difficulty in understanding and forming letters and this is why they find it difficult to write. Here are some ideas to help you teach writing the multi sensory way:
- Help children understand the shapes of the various letters by making play dough shapes of the different letters.
- Write words with fingers on sand.
- Use a heavy pen or add a little weight to the back of a regular pen or marker.
- Use a black marker to go over lines again and make them bold. This gives additional help to the child and helps them stay inside the line.
- Do craft activities to make various letters. For example, Cut out a huge A in cardboard and decorate it with colored paper.
- Draw large letters on the floor and walk over them.
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Science concepts can be grasped best through multi-sensory learning. Use a lot of science experiments to teach concepts because your students with dyslexia will better assimilate what they have seen and experienced. Also use a variety of animations, videos, pictures and computer software to teach science concepts. Field trips are another great way to introduce concepts in a multi sensory way.
Multi-sensory learning is the best way to teach all children and especially children with dyslexia. Each time you plan your lessons, think about how you can use all the senses in your lesson.