Sharing from Mrs. Chow – The Unusual Way for the Special You
Mrs. Chow has two lovely children. Based on her experience with the elder daughter, she used the same method to teach the younger son Harvey. She soon realized that the one method may not be effective for everyone.
When Harvey was in Primary One, his English teacher suspected that he had reading and writing difficulties because he had problems in learning phonics. Mrs. Chow recalled that when Harvey was at pre-school age, he learnt phonics at a learning centre like his sister, but was unable to pick it up as quickly as his sister did. Mrs. Chow was not too concerned though, since she thought that it was only because Harvey’s memory was not that good.
Not Aware of Dyslexia
“I didn’t notice the problem at the time. In fact, he would occasionally reverse certain letters in writing, or mix up the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’. If I had known that he might have reading and writing difficulties, he could have received learning support much earlier, and that would have helped him more.”
When Harvey was assessed and diagnosed with mild dyslexia, his teacher suggested that he should repeat Primary One, and provided Mrs. Chow with information on dyslexia, including seminars and brochures.
From the information provided by the school, Mrs. Chow learnt about Pathways, an organization dedicated to serving students with dyslexia. She searched the internet for more information and studied reviews about Pathways, and then decided to enroll Harvey in the Chinese and English After-School Support Programmes.
“My first encounter with Pathways was at the English subject assessment. I was most impressed by the teachers’ praise and encouragement to my child, which made me realize that there are many minor instances which can serve as sources of encouragement for our children.”
Mrs. Chow also learnt a lot while accompanying her child. Apart from how to show praise, she also realized the importance of patience.
Harvey enjoyed learning phonetics in Miss Windy’s English class very much. His progress in the first year was not very noticeable, but when Harvey got to Primary Three, the progress became more apparent. When he encountered new words, he would try to spell them out phonetically. At the same time, Mrs. Chow mastered how to create stories to help Harvey remember the context of the words. Supported by all these efforts, studying became much easier for Harvey.
“Like most parents, I used to think the child would be able to remember new words by copying them several times. Now I know that children with dyslexia need special methods to help them learn.”
We are Ultimately Responsible for Helping Our Child
After every class, Miss Windy would also take time to communicate with parents, showing them how to help their child study at home. Even with simple materials parents can prepare games for the child to play and learn at the same time, as the child will have a natural desire to win. This way, the child can learn the language without even knowing. Mrs. Chow also found that if she practiced together with her son, his progress would be more apparent.
“I really appreciate the teacher taking the initiative to communicate with parents. Parents should take the time to follow the teacher’s guidance and work together with the teacher, because we are ultimately responsible for helping and supporting our child.”
Mrs. Chow also praised the Chinese teacher Ms. Lam for helping Harvey to be more attentive in class. By giving him riddles to solve at the beginning of class, she created a happy atmosphere to start. After class Harvey would sometimes act as teacher and ask his mother to solve the riddle. Again, through playing games Harvey began to enjoy learning Chinese.
“In the course of Harvey’s learning, I discovered that every child is unique. Past methods may not always be effective. It is necessary for parents to find the suitable learning methods, and be more understanding towards their child’s needs, in order to minimize conflict and nurture a happy relationship,” Mrs. Chow concluded.