Tag Archives: dyslexia

Home educating dyslexic children.

Heleyna is certainly dyslexic. I am not going to have her diagnosed as there isn’t any reason to while she’s being home educated. She has been doing some free writing over Easter, because she enjoys it, and it’s fairly obvious that she is going to have a tough time ahead as she learns to read and write properly. At the moment she writes from right to left (she’s right handed) with all letters revered and no spaces between the words. This is very much how Iona wrote at that age. She can’t differentiate between b and d, m and n and u p and q and y and g. She has forgotten the names and sounds of a lot of the letters we learned before Easter.

Thankfully Heleyna is the kind of child willing to work at anything and do so cheerfully. She does get frustrated at times but she is so advanced with other areas of learning that she can turn to drawing, maths and geometry when other stuff gets her down.

We are going to have to make sure she reads every day, bit by bit and give lots of encouragement.  I am going to use more Elkonin boxes with her. I am in the process of designing some for her to use for better phoneme recognition. I remember they worked well for Avila when she struggled with reading – but her problems were nowhere near as broad as Heleyna’s in reading and writing.

There are adjustable Elkonin box worksheets on more.starfall which we;ve been using a lot. It’s a method used by Montessori teachers as well from what I can see.

Repetition, word building using the movable alphabet and memory games will continue.

The FREE DOWNLOADS from HEIDISONGS which I’ve only just discovered look useful too.

Also free printables from the American Dyslexia Association

There’s some good ideas on DYSLEXIX LEARNERS too.

I am also going to read this on a Montessori approach to dyslexia (pdf)

I am hoping to design some stuff for Heleyna to use and if I do – and it’s any good- I’ll make sure I send them to Kalei for posting.

One other decision I think I need to make soon is whether to get her learning cursive writing pretty soon. It’s reported to be better for dyslexic children. But I have also read that keyboard skills are much better for dyslexic children. I am not so sure as I think even in the computer age we still need to be able to write.

This site has some cursive worksheets

I am going to make some cursive cards for her with THIS FREE TEMPLATE from Montessori Materials

I’ve been through all this before with the older two and I thought I was going to have more problems with Miss Avila than we’ve had. She is now fluent reading and writing with only a few issues around spelling.

I know Heleyna can overcome things so long as she’s allowed to find the best way of learning for her.

Home Education; Montessori pink tower exercises (with the natural tower).

I bought the natural tower rather than the pink tower. Heleyna is 5 and so she already has the skills in building from largest to smallest in the tower and we have used other objects in her early years so that she can differentiate between heavy and light, big and small and so on.

She did build the tower first and used the correct words such as “biggest” and “smallest” and “cube”.  She then spent some time with the two 1 cm² cubes. She has already done some measuring in 2 dimensions so understands length and breadth. With the cubes I am starting to teach her the third dimension (and I suppose I will do some work on the 4th dimension with Ronan and Avila).

After she had built the tower upright, she set about making the “houses” as we called them from smallest to largest with the cubes lying along the floor. There are two ways for her to build this. First of all she built it with each cube centred and then rebuilt it with one straight edge and the front “stepped” inwards. Using the 1 cm² cube she measured the gap seeing that each cube was 1 cm wider than the next.

The Helpful Garden has free downloads including some cut’n’paste pink tower sheets.

Here are some great photo’s of pink tower and brown stair extension exercises. I don’t have a brown stair at this point.

There are patterns that can be tried out too. Language words are “biggest” and “smallest” and beginning ordinal numbers “first”, “second” etc.

Mixing sizes and angles for different patterns work well. There are places around the net with ideas for different patterns. Heleyna built the tower with the blocks set to a corner so there was a 1cm rim around two sides of each block that the 1 cm block can step down.

Heleyna was particularly pleased with her spiral shape.

The next exercise was to have Heleyna build the blocks into patterns from the pink-square patterns I had made.

This was much harder to do. It involves visual spacial as well as hand eye coordination. She did pretty well.

Avila came to join us after she had finished some of her work and she had a go with the blocks too. I have to admit it would not have occurred to me to offer the exercises to Avila as I assumed she would not be interested – but she did some of them just for fun.

Some of you may remember that Avila struggled to learn to read. She showed a lot of dyslexic tendencies; letter reversals, using any letter in a word to work it out, reading from the wrong direction, not seeing word patterns and so on. There was a lot for her to overcome. She is now a fluent reader and her writing rarely shows letter reversals. In maths however she still reads numbers in a higgley way and reverses order and shape of her numbers.

With the cubes she found copying the patters from the pink square sheets very difficult to do. She did self correct, as Dr. Montessori would like, but she needed feedback on whether her correction was correct – which it often wasn’t. I can’t help wondering if this is a dyslexic thing. Visual perception problems in dyslexia is still hotly contended. As with many areas of interest the research is patchy and sometimes not very well done. But that’s immaterial to Avila. I think I will encourage her to use the cubes and do the extension exercises once I have a brown stair.

Doctors, Dyslexia and life

I asked the smalls to tidy their room this morning. It looked like a tornado had hit it…hard. They set about the task without help and I have to say they have done a good job. They get the CD player out first and put on some music and then singing and dancing (well Avila dances) they get it all done.

DOCTORS: Called a taxi and took Avila off to the doctors, leaving Heleyna and Ronan with Iona and Josh-Alex had gone to college.

At the docs we went through some of the problems we are having with Avila’s meds and her health and the whole constipation-illness-weight gain etc problems. She has made a new referral to the Paediatric team at the Children’s. I was given a form to phone them with and the appointment is already made for the 20th Feb. I’m quite impressed with how efficient that all was.  It is a general Paediatrician Avila will be seeing to begin with as the doc didn’t think it was right to just refer her to the gastro team straight away.  While I am not particularly looking forward to all that hospt appt backwards and forwards stuff-I am hoping we get some answers for Avila.

DYSLEXIA  Alex gave me the full copy of his Dyslexia assessment today. I am in the process of booking Iona’s IGCSE Maths exam for the Summer and the organisers have kindly offered to see what they can do about Alex’s English results. He got a D and was really disappointed – especially as he worked so hard for it; but as he didn’t get the Dyslexia assessment in time for the exam he did not get the extra time or consideration he needed. I am to send his assessment off and see if anything can be done to help now.

The Assessment is quite thourough; Alex has an IQ of 128 with a verbal IQ 114 and visual of 136. He’s bright! But the assessment also shows he is dyslexic.

Apparently, my teacher friend Julie informs me, dyslexia has been added to the DDA so people can get proper support in the workplace.