Chapter 3: Literature Review
Supporting The Child
One of my primary focuses was to find out how different literatures dealt with Dyslexia and how best to support the child. Dyslexia can be described from a number of different perspectives as we see in Ball et al (2007) who explain that it can be “how one learns (Cognition), what parts of the brain are involved (neurology), what genes are involved (genetics) and behaviour (p14). Their book entitled ‘Dyslexia: An Irish perspective’ is very relevant to my research as it gives a great insight into the history of the special education sector in Ireland. It also looks into some of the key debates that are facing the educational sector today. Perhaps most importantly this book dedicates a full chapter to Dyslexia in the primary school system which is the area where I want to focus my research. Ball et al (2007) explains that at this stage there is a certain level of development expected from a child in the early stages of primary school and that it is here that we begin to see the first signs of struggle with children suffering from Dyslexia. Children will find it hard to understand or grasp “letter-sound matching, phonological analysis, handwriting, spelling, sequencing and others...” (p102). The support that can be shown by parents and teachers is also a vital aspect to the child’s development at this stage. Therefore it is crucial that if the child is indeed struggling from Dyslexia there should be additional support provided for the child in order to allow him to catch up with the rest of the class. Children with dyslexia can avail of learning support. This could be on an in-class basis or small group withdrawal from class. The school might be able to offer more than this, but this is down to whatever resources and demands on those resources that the school have. In Ball et al(2007) we see that the issues that arise in children throughout the primary school years as they point out that “ as the primary school child moves away from junior to senior classes, issues around self-esteem and motivation may arise” (p105). This may lead to the child using avoidance techniques when asked to read-aloud or complete oral tasks which would just contribute to the child’s poor-self-image. An important aspect which seems to come up in various literatures is that when Dyslexic children produce homework or assignments it should not be compared with the work of others in the class. A negative approach to mistakes will just lower the child’s self-esteem and make them become frustrated with other homework assignments. I feel that the main teacher should never become over dependant on the special needs assistant, as building a trustworthy relationship between child and teacher will greatly benefit both. The Dyslexic Association of Ireland states on its official website that teachers should “not correct every error, but instead concentrate on a small number of errors and set manageable targets, take time to correct the work and focus on content rather than presentation”. The next book that has proven very useful in my research has been ‘Understanding Dyslexia: a guide for Teachers and Parents’ by Lawrence (2009). He explains how dyslexia has always been seen as a lack of cognitive and neurological skills but we should be looking at Dyslexia as a “difference and not a deficit at all” (p16). While Dyslexic children find it hard to read without making mistakes or to follow instructions this should not mean that teachers should ignore their struggles against the mainstream approaches to teaching. Lawrence feels that the solution is to find a suitable way to engage the student and follow a teaching style that the student to learn at their pace. Before a lesson begins with a dyslexic student it is a good idea to briefly go through what areas will be covered and “break down the lesson into smaller units so that the child does not feel overwhelmed with what has to be done (p56). Lawrence further...
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