Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How to cope school with learning difficulty: Copying from the board

I shall pen down my journey with guiding JT through him school life with minor learning difficulty/ dyslexia. This is also for my own reference and for some parents who wants to help the kids to cope better in school. I truly believe that giving them a strong foundation at the beginning of school life can help to teach them how to manage themselves better later.

So at the beginning of school, he came back with this note.

I was shocked to find out that he has problem with copying from the board. To many people this is "common sense" and you just copy as what teacher write. However, after some observation not only JT has issues with this, but some other students without learning difficulty also faced the same issue.

So this is what I did.

1. Identifying the problem.

I got the note from some of the parent and wrote on a big whiteboard and asked JT to sit and try and copy.
 I wanted to know why he has problem copying from the board. Is it because of his eye sight problem, or he doesn't know how, or etc. So some of the problems that I noticed is that :

  •  he copies alphabet by alphabet and not word by word
  •  for maths he tried to write the answer before he finish copying
  •  busy underlining or writing answers in colour
  •  busy chit chatting with classmate while copying (this is through the conversation we have before sleep each night)
  •  friends coming over to borrow stationaries so he doesn't have ruler/eraser for himself and have to wait. (for eraser  problem : I did this )

2. Solving the problem.
I found out that he copies alphabet by alphabet, looking up and down the book and board. So that's why his writing is up and down up and down, and here and there, sometimes he misses a line, sometimes the lines got mixed up, and by the time he want to copy more, teacher has already erased and wrote something else. I did try and speak to the teacher about this, however I think I should work on my side too cos it's not really fair for the teacher to check on 37 students notes and also waiting will slow her down.

problem - he copy alphabet by alphabet and not word by word
solution - So since JT has no problem reading suku kata, I asked him to read few words and then copy without looking up the board instead of alphabet by alphabet. He tried it and he said "hey this is much easier".

For the rest of the problems, I did this.

I wrote on sticky notes and paste on all his buku latihan on the page where he will start copying to remind him. He has excellent memory about everything but not on his studies :P. Well, most dyslexic students have the same issue. So the tips is REMIND, REMIND and REMIND!

3. Practice a few times at home.
And after recopying this was the outcome and I showed him the before and after picture. 

And you know what?
He improved so much with better notes, and most of the time he manage to pass it up to teacher on the same day.  Some of the parents that knew he has Dyslexic, wondered how come he manage to copy and finishes his work while their kids struggles. So I shared with them what I did and now they are also practicing it with their kids. So not necessary only kids with learning difficulty have this issues. In fact I think that many of us take for granted that we assume they know, actually they don't. So it's better to teach them step by step how to do it.

However, I still have to work on his writing with spacing words issue, capitalisation of words, punctuation marks and most important of all his ability to understand Bahasa Malaysia , which I am still working on and will share it later on.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Teaching Dyslexic Kids Punctuation Marks

Another problem that Dyslexic/Kids with learning difficulties will face is with punctuation marks. I didn't know until my son came back with a 0 marks for an english section. And I realise that he writes in a linewithoutanyspaceandpunctuationjustlikethis . I have been trying to teach him for the longest time to apply capital letters at the beginning of a sentence, spacing his words and the full stop. He also have problem remembering that names and places should be capital letter in front too. So happen I was browsing Dyslexic Tutor in Facebook and I saw one of her post about punctuation marks and then I remember that dyslexic kids are more visual learners and best is when you can apply pictures and cartoons for them to remember easily. How cool is that. This is a keeper!

How not to mix b and d up

For a dyslexic child, writing b and d will be a struggle. I have blogged before a technique on how to help them on this, however I think this is even more awesome and easier to understand.
I showed it to my son and he smiled and told me "got it".