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Archive for the ‘Dyslexia’ Category

Tutoring and Dyslexia

Friday, July 30th, 2010

We often get enquiries from parents of children with mild to moderate dyslexia. They often want to know whether we can help, and whether or not tutoring is effective for individuals with the kinds of difficulties with literacy associated with dyslexia.

The short answer is yes – we can almost always help. However, we do come across a few common questions:

Should I hire a subject tutor, or a specialist dyslexia tutor?
At 121 we specialise in tutors for English, Maths, Science and many other subjects, offering help to students at Primary through to A-level and beyond. In our experience, dyslexic students with difficulties in particular subject areas do very well with standard subject tutors.

If your child has substantial problems with dyslexia, the chances are that he or she already gets additional help in school. An external dyslexia tutor may not be able to add much to that, and probably won’t be able to give the subject-specific guidance that older children, in particular, need.

Will my dyslexic child struggle with a tutor?
Most children with dyslexia can work with a tutor just as effectively as other children. Nearly all of our tutors have experience of dealing with dyslexic students in classroom situations. In fact, students with problems like dyslexia may derive particular benefit from working with a tutor, as it allows topic areas to be covered in a way that suits the individual student’s learning style.

It is worth remembering that “dyslexia” is something of a catch-all term that is used to describe a relatively wide range of specific problems, all broadly associated with processing written information, and which may have an impact on your child’s reading or writing abilities, or both. It is not a question of intelligence – in fact, some children with dyslexia-type problems are very bright indeed. Very many children have some of the difficulties associated with dyslexia, and most have mild or relatively mild problems that can be overcome with help and effort.

Very severe dyslexia requires in-depth specialist attention. However, the majority of students with dyslexia-type problems can benefit from tuition in much the same way as other students.

What does the tutor need to know?

Before starting tuition, it would be useful to know a little about the specific problems your child has experienced in the past, especially with reference to the subject being tutored. This might include problems with the spelling of particular scientific terms or difficulty making sense of long Maths problems. Usually, however, your child will be best placed to explain to his or her tutor the nature of the difficulties faced, and the steps that have been taken in school to address them.

I think my child might be dyslexic – can you help?
If you think your child might have a problem with reading comprehension or fluency – which, very broadly, are the most common difficulties that the general term “dyslexia” is used to describe – it is important that you talk to his or her school in the first instance so that a proper assessment can be carried out. If your child is well into secondary school, it is likely that any severe problems would have been spotted before now, and that he or she has evolved coping strategies to deal with minor difficulties. However, if in doubt, it’s always best to raise your concerns with your child’s teachers in the first instance.

Will my child get extra time in exams?
If you child has a dyslexia-type problem or other learning disability, there’s a very good chance he or she will get extra time in examinations – it is worth checking with your child’s teacher and/or examination officer that the exam boards have been made informed. Some children with specific learning difficulties are also allowed to type answers on a laptop or have an amenuenis (someone to write the answers for them).

For most children with dyslexia, extra time can make a substantial difference. In our experience, many don’t even use the extra time – just knowing that it’s available helps them stop worrying that their dyslexia is going to have an adverse effect on their results.

However, extra time and other concessions are only available to students whose dyslexia has been formally identified – another reason why, if you’re in doubt, you should talk to your child’s teachers.

My child has a different condition – can s/he still work with a tutor?
Special educational needs aren’t limited to dyslexia. In our experience, children with other learning difficulties – such as behaviours on the autistic spectrum, or hyperactivity and attention disorders – can also do well with one-to-one tuition. Many such children actually thrive with an individual tutor in a way that they find difficult in a classroom situation.

Of course, everyone’s circumstances are different. If you’re thinking about taking on a tutor to work with your child, but you’re not sure where to start or what exactly is needed, feel free to get in touch for a no-obligation chat. 121 Home Tutors can help with students with independent and grammar school entrance tests, GCSEs, A Levels and more and we have qualified private tutors in Manchester, Stockport, Wilmslow & Cheshire areas.