Why Your Dyslexic Child Should Be Taught Visualisation Skills
It can be very difficult to decide what your dyslexic child needs to be taught - especially as there seems to be an overwhelming amount of things to do! One skill which I believe makes a significant difference to dyslexics is learning to visualise - learning to see words in your 'minds eye'.
Research By Vanderbilt University as far back as 2010 has shown us that skilled readers use part of their visual system which dyslexics do not. They looked at the brain activity of non-dyslexic adults who were asked to judge whether words rhymed or not. They found that part of their visual network was activated along with the networks responsible for sound. This means that your brain uses both a visual and an auditory network when a skilled reader reads.
What about dyslexics?
In my experience, a dyslexic child has one of the systems working well - either visual or auditory. This means that they don't have the benefit of both systems working well, leading to reading and spelling issues. I have found that to help my students progress, I have to concentrate on bringing on the weaker system with the help of the stronger system.
In effect, I teach them all visualisation skills because if this is a weak area for them, they simply won't make that much progress with their reading or spelling; if it is their strong system, then they are taught to use it to help them make quicker progress whilst strengthening their auditory system.
Would your child benefit from being taught visualisation?
If they already have a strong visual memory then learning to see a word in their 'minds eye' can move on their reading and spelling skills rapidly. This means that they will catch up to their peers and begin working at the level they should be.
If your child doesn't have a strong visual memory, then this skill is key to them moving on from sounding out words to being able to recall whole words that they have seen before. It will also help them to realise when they have spelt a word incorrectly, as it won't 'look right'. If these skills aren't developed, they will always have a lot of trouble with spelling, as they will be relying on their auditory system to 'sound out'. Unfortunately, our language isn't just phonetic, so relying on your one system of 'sounding out' isn't going to work that well for you.
In summary, skilled readers and spellers use both their visual and auditory system to help them with these skills. A dyslexic child needs to be taught how to do this - for some this will be a quick skill to master whilst others will take longer.
I am holding a Visualisation Workshop (online) on Tuesday the 20th March at 7.30pm ( GMT). At this workshop, I will be teaching parents how to teach visualisation skills to their child. You will have a workbook so that you get the most out of this time and you will also receive the recording of the session by email, meaning that you can watch it over as much as you need to.