The first step in treating dyslexia is early intervention, followed by multi-sensory teaching approach and emotional support.
Though the condition of dyslexia is life-long, the first step in treating the problem is early intervention. The earlier a dyslexic child is diagnosed, the easier it is for counselors to help them. With proper guidance, a dyslexic child can overcome his difficulties to a large extent and have a better life. This is done in a two- phased approach. The first phase is teaching the child using a multi-sensory learning procedure. The second phase is the emotional support extended by the counselor.
The multi-sensory approach
The key to helping a dyslexic child is through multi-sensory learning methods. Academic concepts need to be broken into concepts that can be explained using multi-sensory inputs of touch, smell and sound. Dr. Samuel Torrey Orton pioneered this technique in the mid 1920s in US.
As each letter is learned, children also learn to distinguish the sound of it. In a typical scenario of multi-sensory learning, the teacher may make the sound and the child may be asked to write the letter. Emotional support extended by the counselor/ teacher
A dyslexic child may need the help of a counselor who will be working in tandem with the instructor in school, so that between the teacher in the classroom and the counselor at other times, a dyslexic child gets the maximum help that will make him work in the same pace as his classmates.
It is important to remember here that dyslexia does not mean any disinterest to learn, but means an impediment to learning that will need some extra help. One way to help such children will be to give them extra time to finish their assignments, help them in taking down class notes etc. Often taped books and texts help them learn better, as does the use of a computer in helping them to write.
A dyslexic person will also be requiring counseling to deal with the stress of additional work hours, and emotional problems associated with it. There are some technologies available in the markets that are designed to help the dyslexic people.
Some of these are the following -
- HELP ReadTM - Also called Hawaii Education Literacy Project, this program reads web pages and texts. The program supports English language and can perform a number of functions like customizing the pronunciation of mispronounced words, highlighting words or sentences while reading, looking up definitions, linking through the net to classic works of literature and many others. This is free software package that can be downloaded from the site the HELP Read site.
- TextAssist® 3.0 - This is a program that not only can perform some of the functions of HELP Read, but also some extra functions like ability to read any form of Windows applications like HTML, or Word, or emails. It also has increased text size and ability to highlight text as it reads.
- Java Jive - This software is jointly developed by IBM and Sun Computers for hands-free PC operations for dyslexic and blind people. The program is able to read aloud the icons in the screen along with instructions for using the keyboard in lieu of mouse.