If I Have To Teach A Dyslexic

by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku

Dyslexic children are a little hard to come by in my part of the world and I guess this is why I’ve not run into one yet. Dyslexic children are said to be mentally challenged children who have a defect somewhere in a part of their brain that makes it a little difficult for them to recognize and understand written language.

But first things first – if a child has a little defect in his brain is not to mean that that child is sick. He shouldn’t be handled as one. In fact, the minute I begin to see that child as dyslexic, I think that moment is when I would begin to drive on that raggedy road to Failureville. My project here is mostly to determine how I could get around that little problem the child has if I don’t have any of the gizmos normally used as instructional materials.

If I had to teach that child, I should be a teacher. No, not just everybody or anybody who’s there for the money. I should invest the kind of patience and commitment I did when I attempted to teach my doggy, Smallie, the letters of the English alphabet.What I mean is that I may or not be a professional but I should have at the back of my mind that dogma that every human being has a teachable spirit.

I should be a little more grounded in the area of child psychology. That is, I should embark on some research especially with Jean Piaget’s as my area of concentration. It should interest you to know that communication for the child begins when he/she is just a mere fetus in the womb and a lot of our lifestyles as parents when we are pregnant with our child is worth considering. Piaget is among one of the few psychologists who believe that thought processes usually precede language and that is why I should focus in any way I could, develop the thought patterns of that kid rather than focusing too much on letters and phonemes and all that jazz.

I should want to know something about the medical history of that child. I should ‘partner’ with the parents of that/those child(ren). If I know something of their medical history, perhaps we would find out that the poor kid(s) are not dyslexic at all. They may just be children who need a lot of attention, love and care.

I think I should visit the kid(s) at home once in a while.

I should watch them play. If it is possible, I could play with them. I was told somewhere that one of the best ways to teach any child or children is watch them play or you play with them – again no, not the passive one but by being an active participant on the field of play. I guess this should help me discover the child’s strengths and build on them. I already know something of his weakness so why should I focus on that area?

I should be their friend. I should refuse to accept their state of mental imbalance. I should accept that they are as bright as any other child who is without this one little defect in their brains that’s mostly not of their making.

I should relate with the child(ren) via a lot of sounds, pictures, instruments of music and poetry. Remember I said that this is what I should do if I don’t have access to those modern language gizmos like earphones, computers and the like. If I do have access to these contraptions, I’d have myself a ball with my kids. Some teachers have said they’d reduce the amount of time they spent on letters with the child. I agree. Others have said they’d use symbols, big symbols the child could play with. I cannot agree more.

This last thing I think I’ll do. A little old fashioned but I should pray with them. If my immediate setting forbids praying with them, I should encourage them to pray.

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