Archive for September, 2023

Steps to help a Dyslexic child to overcome the challenge of reading and writing

Friday, September 1st, 2023

Irrespective of age group, to develop phonics skills, it is important to work on identification and naming of letter sounds before facilitating reading. This can be achieved through chunking teaching sounds as,

  1. Passive listening of sounds, where the child is expected to listen to the sounds of letters as in rhyme , A says “aa”, b says “ba” etc
  2. Identification of consonant sounds by asking the child to pick up the letter relevant to the mentioned consonant sound from a given set of consonants. Ex: Give me “Ga” among B, C, G, L, M .(It is important to avoid such practice for vowels as children will usually have trouble differentiating vowel and vowel sound)
  3. Naming of consonant sound by presenting the consonant letter. Ex: “S” says what? “P” says what?
  4. Practice the sounds that are usually challenging Ex: the sounds of H,G,J,V,W,C,K,Q and Y,

To facilitate reading, the words shall be categorized into two groups, sight words and phonetic words, which can further have cluster of words grouped hierarchically to ease teaching. For any cluster of words in both the groups, the following steps can be used to facilitate.

  1. Passive listening: Words from a world list are read aloud to the child with their spelling which provides an opportunity of auditory learning and familiarity before actually learning the words.
  2. Identification from flash cards : a) with spelling b) without spelling

Since children would then be good at consonant sounds, they can be encouraged to identify words from a set of 6 to 8 words, by identifying the beginning consonant sounds of the words. Here, specifically to dyslexic children, the words can be CVC words with two groups, set of words A) with different starting consonants like (Cat, BAT, RAT, MAT, SAT, VAT, FAT) B) with same starting consonants like (RAM, RAT, RAG, RAD, RAF, RAK) etc and the same applies for all the vowels. Inclusion of non-meaningful words in the above list would specifically improve phonemic awareness in dyslexics by helping them pay attention to different consonants involved in a word.

In order to work on the knowledge vowel sounds, Identification from words sets where the vowel alone is changed can be encouraged. Ex: TAP, TIP, TUP, TEP, and TOP.

  1. Reading with spelling: Reading can be encouraged by reading with a) teacher spells the word “C-A-T” and the student reads “CAT” b) students reads the word with spelling.
  2. Reading without spelling: As the child learns to read the words with spelling, he/she can be encouraged to read words at the sight by modelling.
  3. Forming words using letters (where writing is a challenge) / dictation in writing

Writing: Since dyslexic children make spelling errors in writing mostly because of phonemic awareness and decoding problems, working on forming words using letters pieces or cards helps better than traditional dictation. Once spelling knowledge is improved, writing though dictation can be encouraged.  Letter reversals arising due to phonic confusions can be worked by physical modelling of those letters by conditioning one specific word for the sound during practice. Ex. Use only “DOG” for d and “BAG” for b and so on.


Gayathri Mahadevan



IEP for the children with Special Needs

Friday, September 1st, 2023


The individualized education program (IEP), is a program developed for each child with special education need that specifies the student’s academic goals and methods to achieve those goals. It forms the pillar of a quality education for children with special needs.

Learning disability (LD):

LD can be defined as a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to process, retain and reuse information. It is the ineffective communication between the neural networks in the brain that results in difficulty in learning such as reading, writing, listening, speaking, reasoning, memorizing, and doing math.

Comparing LD with AUTISM, ADHD, and Intellectual Disability:


Though children with both LD and Autism may have difficulties in learning academics the key features of Autism such as social communication deficits, restricted interests and routines, stereotypes and in severe cases, maladaptive behaviors are not usually present in children with LD.


Unlike in LD, where difficulties in learning are due to ineffective ‘wiring’ in brain, ADHD occurs as a result of chemical imbalances in brain. The key features such as inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity are not the main area of concern in children with LD.

Intellectual Disabilities:

Most children with LD’s usually have average/ above average intelligence and children with below average intelligence do not fall under the diagnosis of having LD.

IEP for student with LD compared to that of students with Autism/ ADHD:

The most important factor in implementing an IEP for a student with LD is providing the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), where the student is placed in regular class rooms with their non-LD peers as much as possible and benefits fullest from inclusion.

IEP of an LD primarily provides strategies for specific learning problems in a specific subject/ content where the child has difficulties. Whereas an IEP for a student with Autism/ADHD focuses more on  providing the child a learning environment that helps the child to maintain proper arousal level , manage sensory overloads, control impulses, channelize energy level, cope with social communication problems, prevent or control maladaptive behaviors and facilitate learning academics.

Providing an IEP as much at the LRE as that for student with LD would be comparatively harder for the student with Autism / ADHD.

Example to show difference in IEP for students with LD, ADHD, and Autism at Grade 2.





Doesn't do addition in Math

Doesn't learn any math concept in whole group instruction in Math Class

Doesn't score well

Possible causes for the difficulties

Doesn't understand steps in addition

Has difficulty writing numbers at proper place value

Doesn't like math

Fidgets a lot in Math class

Knows all the steps in math concepts

Gets anxious/ lost or upset during tests

Short term goals to include in IEP

Use a place value chart to practice writing numbers in proper place

Teach addition with and without carry over separately

Teach regrouping in addition first and then progress to paper pencil task

During Math class, pull the child to last bench initially to avoid disturbance to the class

Encourage to child to workout simple, well-known concepts and improve the self-esteem of the child

Teach grade level math on one on one basis in a resource room and proceed to gradual integration

Prepare the child ahead with social stories for tests/exams

Reassure the child during episodes of anxiety to changes in routine during tests/exams

Consider the performance during regular classes also to assess the learning.


Gayathri Mahadevan