web analytics
May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Painting With Your Feet: Battling Dyslexia

Schonfeld-logo1

Eric McGehearty, a nationally acclaimed artist with advanced graduate degrees, is also an inspirational speaker who shares his struggles and successes as a dyslexic. His artwork reflects his difficulties reading and helps audiences see into the world of reading disabilities. He explains a breakthrough moment in his life as fundamental to his understanding of his ability to succeed:

I was in the 5th grade, and I was enrolled in a summer school art class. I broke my arm that summer, and at the time, I felt I would have to withdraw from the class because of the injury. When I went into the classroom for my first day I let the teacher know I could not participate. “What do you think people who can’t use their arms do if they want to be artists?” she asked. “They don’t let their disability stand in their way. They hold a paintbrush with their mouth or in their toes to draw. Just because your right hand isn’t working doesn’t mean you can’t be an artist.”

The rest of that summer I did just that: painting with my mouth and feet. I learned that if having a broken arm wasn’t going to stop me in art class, my dyslexia wasn’t going to stop me in life.

McGehearty’s lesson is an important one to teach our children with dyslexia or any other learning disability – if you can’t paint with your hands, paint with your feet. If you can’t read the way other people read, find your own way. To that end, it’s important to understand in what ways children with dyslexia have difficulties with reading in order to teach them how to maximize their strengths.

What Is Dyslexia?

The National Institute of Health defines dyslexia as characterized by difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition, and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. Dyslexia is a learning disability that is neurological in origin and often runs in the family. Children with dyslexia experience trouble reading when taught through traditional instruction.

Though the symptoms of dyslexia manifest themselves in different ways depending on the age of the child, some common symptoms for a kindergartener through fourth grader are:

1. Difficulty reading single words that are not surrounded by other words.

2. Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds.

3. Confusion around small words such as “at” and “to,” or “does” and “goes.”

4. Consistent reading and spelling errors, including:

Letter reversals such as “d” for “b.”

Word reversals such as “tip” for “pit.”

Inversions such as “m” and “w” and “u” and “n.”

Transpositions such as “felt” and “left.”

Substitutions such as “house” and “home.”

Children with dyslexia are often well-adjusted and happy preschoolers. However, research shows that they begin to experience emotional problems during early reading instruction. Over the years, their frustration mounts as classmates surpass them in reading skills. Often, these children feel that they fail to meet other people’s expectations. Teachers and parents see a bright child who is failing to learn to read and write and assume that he is simply “not trying hard enough.” This can cause dyslexic children to feel inadequate and inept.

In addition, children with dyslexia frequently have problems in social relationships. Often, this is because they have difficulty reading social cues or because dyslexia affects oral language functioning. As both non-verbal and verbal language are essential for forming and maintaining relationships, children who struggle with reading are at a disadvantage socially as well. Additionally, without proper intervention, these children will fall farther and farther behind peers their own age.

Therefore, helping dyslexic children gain confidence and skill in their reading not only improves their test scores, but perhaps more importantly, builds their self-esteem. This increase in self-esteem can work wonders on the playground and in the home, promoting positive social interactions and explorations.

Effective Reading Programs

The National Institutes of Health have conducted several long-term studies that indicate the best ways to get children with dyslexia comfortable reading. Among those strategies are:

First things first. Recognize that students need to learn to read in a certain order. First, that words are made up of different sounds, then that sounds are associated with written words, and then that they can decode written words.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Painting With Your Feet: Battling Dyslexia”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Israel Envisions Regional Cooperation with Arab Nations
Latest Sections Stories

How is it possible that some of our people cannot see what I see, the miracle of the existence of the state of Israel?

Road sign in Russian and Yiddish greeting visitors on the road just outside Birobidzhan. (photo by Ben G. Frank)

Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters

Ayelet Shaked

She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

The nations of the world left the vessel to sit rotting in the water during one of the coldest winters in decades and with its starving and freezing passengers abandoned.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

Schonfeld-logo1

All of these small changes work their way into the framework of the elephant and the rider because they are helping the elephant move forward.

While indecision can stop you in your tracks, it’s important to point out that it’s not always bad.

How do we ensure that our students aren’t studying for the grade or the end-of-the-year pizza party? How can we get them to truly want to learn for learning’s sake?

But Pi Day is worst of all
I want the extra credit bad
But trying to remember many numbers
makes me sad.

The teenage years are not about surviving. They are about thriving.

She wasn’t paying attention to what the child did when the mother was not in the room. Rather, her main focus was on what the child did when the mother returned.

When any student in the building is in danger of failing, the equivalent of tornado warning sirens should wail around the school.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/painting-with-your-feet-battling-dyslexia/2013/06/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: