By: Laura Pearson
Children with disabilities are no strangers to becoming discouraged in the classroom. Dyslexia can turn some of the most basic classroom activities into a major challenge. Even with great resources such as those provided by Upper Arlington Kids Identified with Dyslexia (UA-KID), the extra effort to make classroom work click can take a big emotional toll.
Fortunately, there are plenty of fun, low-pressure ways to learn outside of the classroom. These educational activities are excellent ways to supplement your little one’s in-class experience. They give your child a chance to practice investigation, discovery, experimentation, and exploration. A child’s love of learning can get a little bruised in the classroom, but you can nurture it back to health with these extracurricular ideas:
Narrative Games and Comic Books
Some children develop an aversion to reading due to undiagnosed dyslexia. Although early screening can help prevent this, narrative video games can be a great way to re-introduce reading for fun. There are more and more video games out there that are, in effect, interactive books. Although all dyslexic children are different, narrated story-telling video games could be the bridge toward reading appreciation for many. If you’re new to gaming, you may want to check your connection speed — a slow WiFi network can make some games less enjoyable.
Comic books and graphic novels are other great options for children with dyslexia. Their benefits ultimately boil down to the same features — short, consumable bursts of dialogue surrounded by visual cues that enhance and round out the storytelling. There are comic books and graphic novels out there for every reading and age level. They can easily be a dyslexic child’s path toward a love of reading.
Some kids learn things best when they can see it for themselves. Astronomy is a great subject for further scientific research and exploration for kids of any age. After all, kids of any age can look up at the sky. With a telescope (and an adult on hand to keep equipment and kiddos safe) even very young children can get a closer look at the celestial bodies above us.
Space also has the power to capture our imagination. Practice storytelling with your child by mapping out your own constellations. Name them, and come up with family legends for how your constellations came to be. Try to memorize their locations, or make it a family tradition to come up with a new one every time you catch a good view of the sky.
You can give this kind of outing extra oomph by heading to your nearest dark sky spot. These are areas far from light pollution that often have ideal weather conditions for seeing the stars. Make it into a family camping trip, and you can also take the chance to get up close with nature.
Arts, Crafts, and Other Forms of Expression
Although text might be a challenge for dyslexic children, other forms of creative expression can help your child blossom. Many people with dyslexia report a stronger draw toward creative pursuits than their neurotypical peers. This is due, in part, to the simple fact that they offer an accessible way to communicate and express oneself.
You can get kids involved in some form of artistic expression, no matter what age they are. If you’re not sure where to start, do some digging to see if you have a local arts center. These are often excellent resources for age-appropriate projects, and sometimes even provide low-cost crafting kits for families. They also often offer affordable art classes, so families at any budget can invest in their little one’s passions.
Learning disabilities don’t have to ruin a child’s love of learning, but they often make it difficult to find joy in the classroom. We hope these ideas inspire you to find the activity that reminds your little one how fun it is to learn.
If you have a child who has been diagnosed with dyslexia, check out the UA-KID resources page for more ways to empower your little one.