Dyslexic students have great difficulty in reading, writing, spelling, and numeracy: the extent of an individual’s dyslexia may range from mild to severe; indeed, approximately 40% of dyslexics also suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): this disorder is manifested by inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive behaviors.
So, what should you, as a novice EFL teacher, be aware of as it concerns recognizing dyslexia? Here are a few useful tips worth remembering.
Generally speaking, the dyslexic student is quite bright but has problems in reading, writing, and spelling: this results in poor marks in written tests; invariably, the dyslexic student should be allowed more time to sit tests than non dyslexic students. In fact, the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) allows dyslexic students more time in exams.
The dyslexic student also has the tendency to daydream and has difficulty in sustaining attention during lessons. If dyslexia is accompanied by ADHD, the student might constantly fidget, feel restless, and be easily distracted by trivial events. Behavior is probably the first sign that something is not right: the dyslexic student might be the class clown or a disruptive element; however, the dyslexic may also be excessively quiet and somewhat withdrawn.
In class, the student might complain about not feeling well when reading: complaining of dizziness and headaches. The student will often read a text with little understanding. The student will also experience difficulty in writing and copy work: writing instruments are usually grasped in an awkward manner; the handwriting is often quite difficult to read in part or in whole, and letters may be reversed or omitted. If you have never seen dyslexic handwriting, follow the link below:
The student will also experience difficulty in putting thoughts into words; this may be manifested by several actions: phrasal transposition; incorrect pronunciation, the tendency to stutter in stressful situations, mispronunciation of long words, speaking in halting phrases, and the utterance of incomplete sentences.
So, having decided that a student is dyslexic – what should you do next?
The situation should be brought to the attention of your director of studies: hopefully, the student will be referred to an expert who should then recommend a course of action that is tailor-made for the student. However, in the case of a minor, the parents will have to be consulted first. Incidentally, don’t be surprised if some parents refuse to accept that their child is dyslexic.