Teaching a gifted child with LD …

When I started surfing the net to learn how to guide my son through his school lessons , I stumbled on many sites on parenting and homeschooling dyslexic children. As I have very poor short term memory I gathered every thing I found useful and started to work from there .

First standard was a complete mess . I used negative strokes to reinforce his memory  . Because I always thought he was too lazy to do any thing .

Later I learned how easy it is to teach the child with postive strokes and consistency . Over the two years we have developed our own way of learning school stuff .

Before going further I want to tell you when I was a student myself I was not at all the day to day learning type. I relied mainly on the study holidays for my marks. But for my son I had to change every thing .

  • Every day he is given enough time to play , to watch TV ,  to read books and unwind . The study time is kept the same every day . ( one – one and half hrs ) Every 20 or 30 minutes depending on his concentration , he can take a break  for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • The key point is to start from day one and be consistent . That is the best and easiest thing to do . Child will also be relaxed and confident . ( The last thing you would want to do to a LD child is stuff him with new lessons on the  day before exam . He will surely black out. )
  • I keep two rough note books at home . It helps me to save time and write questions  or check answers while Ruby is doing his work  . That way I sit with him through his study time.
  • I write every possible question down on the rough note book . We answer them once in detail . Then for every revision he goes through this note. Then we do model tests .
  • I note down the spellings that are difficult for him on the side page and the clues we used to memorise it so that we can check it further just before the exams. As he is basically a pictorial thinker we rely on pictures a lot for reinforcing what has been studied.  If he has difficulty to remember notes we draw pictures in different colours on the side . Rather than artistic skills we concentrate on personal clues and jokes that will make it easier to remember .
  • Once Ruby wrote one word answers to paragraph questions . That is one another trait of dyslexic kids. To the point answers with no explanations . So we make it sure that he knows how to answer the same questions for different marks. For essay writing we follow this technique of answering ‘Wh’ questions related to the topic and writing the answers in a para. Then giving an opening and closing sentence.
  • Other than for very important ones we don’t concentrate on spellings . The spelling lessons are given differently for a lesser level. ( he takes resource help from school )
  • Basically we divide our every day study time into two. One half for learning the day’s portion and doing home works if any . The second half for revising what was learned the previous day . Then 15 minutes for doing some extra work ( out of syllabus . like spelling lessons , cursive writing , puzzles, abacus . alternates it through the week )
  • Saturday Morning – revise the week’s portions and works for the next week.
  • Saturday evening and Sunday – Free .
  • We see to it that we are thorough with the given text book . Line to line . boxes and tables . Even the captions of pictures . ( important especially for CBSE ) . May sound silly . But I have seen that many students who are good in studies  score poor because they are not familiar with the text book.

By saying thorough I don’t mean to mug it up.

This need not be done consciously. Let the child read the lesson completely including all the exercises everyday while it is being taken . ( first day it will take more time but lesser after wards )

  • Then a quick glance after one or two weeks . Once a month . ( This is how our brain works . First revision with in 24 hours . Second revision with in 7 days . Subsequent revisions within 15 and 30 days resp.  With every revision the time taken and effort required will be less .

This is not the only thing we do . As he is very interested in reading I gather books based on his classes for extra reading . We surf net . He can follow anything he is interested in to the level he can take it. We do experiments at home . He is a keen observer .

Having said all these I want to tell you I am not one  of those Moms who always want their kid to come first . I have seen those types and I despise them . I don’t have a competition with any of his classmates or anybody else. I have seen my child’s paper written wholly in mirror writing , like in some alien language  with full of red question marks . When he goes for his exams I can only pray that his brain is correctly oriented for the day.

My aim is not to torture him with his lessons so that he would get good marks . My aim is to get him better of his disabilities . The only thing that I compete with is his future. I don’t want my son to suffer for his disabilities . I want them to be properly taken care of so that he can be proud of his abilities . I want him to be confident , competent and educated enough to pursue his favourite career. Whatever that might be when time comes .

Fourth grade has just started . We will have to improvise our schedule as we move on . May Almighty God lead us through !

Edited to add on June 1st 2011:

What I learned from fourth standard .

1. Read the text . All subjects and languages . Every day till the chapter is completed and revision test taken . word to word . exercises , meanings , grammar ,  every thing .

2. Make it a point to do all the exercises in the Maths text book along with class whenever the text book is send home .

3. Identify which teacher teaches with a vision and in an organised way . Then concentrate on the other subjects more.

He learned to answer correctly even if the qns are twisted . So we skipped the question writing part to some extend .

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