We just talked about ways to create a book nook at home, and since it’s “Apraxia Monday,” I thought it a good day combine creating a reading space with teaching your apraxic child to read.
Learning to read is a tricky thing. Do you remember when you finally “got it?” Do you remember struggling to learn? I do. My parents had inherited some old teaching manuals from a teacher friend. They were the kind of books with words and a little picture or symbol to represent a word. The reader would know what word to substitute when they came across this familiar symbol within the text. I found it sort of silly, even then and wouldn’t recommend it. I can remember my dad patiently helping me sound-out words by placing his fingers of the rest of the word and showing just a letter or two at a time, “What sound does this letter make? And this one? Now put it all together and…”
I tell you this as a reminder that it’s not easy. It’s not easy to learn to read and it’s not easy to teach it, either.
I know what you’re thinking, “But my child has apraxia. He can barely even talk, let alone read—this is going to be darn near impossible!” Let’s talk about it. Why is it so hard for kids with apraxia to learn to read?
Well, researchers say kids with apraxia have several problem areas to consider when reading comes into the picture:
- Kids who aren’t making sounds accurately (or at all) have a decreased visual representation of what letters look and sound like.
- Kids with speech-language disorders have a distorted sense of representing symbols (and letters are just symbols representing words, right?)
- Kids with apraxia may have differently-wired brains, affecting the way they read, learn, and interpret information.
O.k., that’s great and all but what can you do about it?! That’s a big question and I don’t really have all of the answers, researchers are working hard to give us parents and educators some better guidance. But, the best things we can do for our children with apraxia is to continue to read to them (rhyming books are particularly helpful). Point out the words on the page as you read them; have them complete the sentence when you get a part you think they are capable of “filling in.” Teach them to clap out syllables in familiar words like their own name and favorite toys and charcters, and make time to play with letters and letter shapes (Foamie stickers, letter stamps, letter stickers, letter magnets).
What other ideas do you have? Do you have a success story you’d like to share?
I love to hear from you! Please consider posting a comment in the “comments section” of the blog or email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Monday!