Reading Help! What Parents Need to Know to Help Their Special Needs Child Read
Is there any bigger educational skill to develop than reading? Probably not. READING is everywhere in our lives and is required in most anything we want to learn or do. And, if you’ve ever tried to see how to help your special needs child read, you will notice there is a monumental amount of material; programs, apps, teaching tools, learning games, etc. The development of this skill is so multi-faceted; everything from connecting letters to sounds, understanding the meaning of words, saying words in sentences, reading words for daily activities, using words to learn new skills, hearing words put together for enjoyment, learning about the world; and everything in between. And, let’s not even talk about the challenges of writing, spelling and using grammar correctly! In other words (pun intended), being able to help your child with special needs enhance their reading skills can be a daunting task.
4 Simple Ideas to make your efforts more successful and FUN!
Unless, perhaps, you consider some of the following simple ideas, which will help you combine “reading development” along with everything else you do for and with your child. As you read each simple idea, I hope you will take a big breath in … and as you let it out … remember what a great teacher/parent you are!
Simple Idea #1: Realize you have a professional support team who are eagerly awaiting your feedback and direction to help them teach your child the actual skills to read. At home, then, you can add “reading practice activities” to all those other “life practice activities” you already do.
Maybe…send his/her teachers an email and ask them about the vocabulary and concepts your child is learning and/or some simple ideas to practice what they are learning at school.
Simple Idea #2: Identify what you wish your child could do right now when it comes to reading. Notice what would make life easier for everyone if he/she could just fill-in-the-blank.
Maybe…put a list on the refrigerator that everyone in the family can add to like: read a menu, listen to an audiobook, identify objects in the kitchen, write a message, etc…
Simple Idea #3: Invite other family members and friends to participate in helping your child practice his/her daily life reading skills.
Maybe…the rule is that any and all practice must be creative, playful, easy, and fun for all. It is not a “have to” but a “get to”… for everyone to have their quality time. Perhaps, there could be prizes for the most creative or best activities!
Simple Idea #4: Remember there is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are unlimited opportunities to practice reading and just as many vehicles. Nor, do we have to be directly involved in all the practice since we want our children to learn independence, too.
Maybe…you use your iPad, iPhone, tablet or computer apps for games (pictures/words matching, vocabulary development), or YouTube (video stories) and your Public Library (print and audio) to bring books to life.
Also…let’s not forget that the world around you and your child is your classroom when it comes to reading. Every activity, task, game, video, movie, book, magazine, even a ride in the car…requires seeing, hearing, communicating or writing/drawing words.
Simple Idea #5: Celebrate all successes! Every one of us loves being told how great we are doing and that goes double for learning any part of a new skill.
Maybe…do an even more special celebration with reading successes, now that you’ve realized how important it is to all of you. And, most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate yourself for making it all happen!
Lynda Sloan Allen, MEd provides unique tutoring, coaching, and training for academic, personal and professional success through her company, Make Your Mark in Life Learning Center, located in Vero Beach, FL.