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How to Teach Dyslexic Kids Self-Advocacy

Speaking up for oneself may seem like commonplace to some of us, however, it’s twice as hard for those who have language-based learning disabilities like children with dyslexia. While their disability may curb them from expressing their own feelings accurately, others who express their preconceived notions of dyslexic people may also deter them from practising self-advocacy. Therefore, if your child suffers from dyslexia, it’s important to equip them with the skill of self-advocacy in order to spur their self-confidence, build their self-awareness and in the long run, contribute to their success.

Step 1: Learning to describe their own condition. 

Dyslexia affects each child differently, some can be affected in terms of reading and speech, while others have problems with numbers and directions. The simplest way that they can explain it to a peer or teacher would be to mention that they have a learning disability which affects their language skills. They can also mention that their brain works differently, and that they have trouble reading and spelling. By speaking up, others will be aware of their condition and refrain from thinking that they are underperforming.

Step 2: Understanding the learning style that suits them best.

Since each child is different, the learning style that works for them would also vary. Some children with dyslexia would work better by using audiobooks or a verbal presentation instead of a written paper, while others may need time extensions and an example of what the assignment should look like. Whichever aid they might need for their assignments, it’s important that they know their preference and alert the teacher or facilitator of the class in advance. This allows those with learning disabilities to perform at the level that they are capable of intellectually.

Step 3: Getting help when needed.

There may be some occasions when a child is faced with a difficulty and a teacher or parent will not be near enough to help. It is important for each child to know where the student services centres are in schools so that they can get the help that they need. Sometimes, extra support from someone externally will give them that little bit of a confidence boost.

Step 4: Knowing when to practise self-advocacy.

It’s common for children to be shy about their conditions, especially when their self-confidence can be easily affected by their learning disabilities. It’s important for you to let them know that they should explain their disability and need for aids to others whether it’s in school, during extra-curricular activities or even if they are out at a doctor’s office. In the long run, practising self-advocacy as they grow into teen-hood and eventually adulthood will help them to integrate better and enable them to live independently.

If you have experience with dyslexic children, what advice do you have to add about teaching them to practise self-advocacy? Share with us in the comments below!

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