The Hand-Holding Method

Many students with dyslexia and dyspraxia often feel that people just don’t listen to them. And those working with them often feel that they just don’t make any sense. This often happens when the student is trying to share their unique ideas about something.

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I myself am dyslexic and a bit dyspraxic, so I can relate to this. As a young teacher, once a week at staff meetings an issue would be raised, we would discuss it, choose a solution, and then go off and do it.

Of course, as the ‘different thinker’ in the room, I always had a solution to offer. No one took any notice – except my friend Bernie, who would repeat my idea in his own words. Everyone would immediately love “his” idea and it would be executed on.

It wasn’t until I was 50 that I realized why this always seemed to happen to me.

Dyslexics think in patterns and associations. This allows them to see connections that others don’t, making them excellent problem solvers. But we’re the minority, and the other 90% of the population thinks more linearly. As the minority, it’s on the dyslexic/dyspraxic student to adjust.

The student needs to learn how to take their audience by the hand, like a four year old, and explain each step of the logic to them. The student needs to watch their eyes – as soon as the listener looks away or glazes over, they need to step back to where the listener got lost and helping the listener connect the dots in a more gentle way, before moving on to the next logical step.

The student sees patterns others don’t, so they can jump straight to the destination. The rest of the world needs to be led by the hand in a more step-by-step way, as they can’t make the same connections.

This applies both in spoken situations and in writing.

We have been teaching this to dyslexics and dyspraxics for years, and we reckon it’s the single most important lesson those students can learn. We’ve seen students who have practiced this turn their lives around. Bullying has disappeared, communication with teachers has improved and even family relationships have mended.

This concept is easy to understand on a 30,000 foot level, and some students “get it” in a way they can actually use the first time around. However, it usually takes at least some coaching and careful adaptation to make the magic happen – and lots of practice. And magic it truly can be – being heard is one of the most fundamental human needs, and this skill is also necessary for professional and academic success.

If you would like to talk with one of our experts to discuss what would be the best approach to tutoring your dyslexic child, book a free consultation today.

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