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Parental Concerns

Music and dyslexia
I am a guitar teacher. I have a dyslexic student who has been studying the piano for 10 years. She has perfect pitch and has never had a problem reading music. However, she seems to have an unusually hard time picking out shapes and patterns on the fret board of the guitar. I’m not sure if this is because she is used to the piano, which is arranged in an entirely linear fashion (the guitar is not traditionally taught this way), or if her dyslexia is causing the problem. Any answers/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. (M.B., USA)

I am a flute and dyslexia teacher. We have so many problems here in Austria with schools. I think we are living in the STONE AGE. I would like to know more about music playing and dyslexia. Can anyone help? I’m looking for e-mail support. (A.D., Austria – [email protected])

Distinguishing left from right on the piano
I teach children music and have a child who has great difficulty in distinguishing Right from Left, and also confuses finger numbers 2 and 4. I draw a picture of the hand he is supposed to use in each section and circle the correct finger, but this does not seem to help much. Once he has done the song correctly enough times, he is fine – I guess that is the sense of touch helping him out?
I found your information very useful, and would love to hear from any other teachers of music (in particular piano) that have helped their students with dyslexia read music. I guess the best way for a child with these factors is to concentrate on learning through touch, sound, sight and give lots of encouragement. (Kaja, USA)

Provide study guides?
I am the parent of a 13-year old dyslexic 7th grader. He attends a private Catholic school which has little resources for the LD child. The school does provide a resource teacher, but she only spend limited time with my son. My question is, what do you recommend I ask of his other teachers in order to help him through the year? It seems like they are put out if something extra is required of them. I do not want to infringe on their time but I feel they should be willing to provide additional help to anyone who should ask. I would like his teachers to provide me with answered study guides prior to his tests, as well as advance notices of test. I see no reason why I should have to spend hours filling out the guides. My husband and I already spend 1-4 hours nightly studying with our son (as you can see we are very dedicated to helping our son deal with dyslexia and school). This amount of study time only adds to the family stress level. I’m looking for ways to reduce the stress and to make the most of our study time. As teachers, can you suggest ways that teachers have helped families deal with simplifying the study hours? We currently use books on tape so that he can listen to his textbooks. In the past I re-read all of his textbooks to him after he read them first. This provided me with the answers to the study guides but now I’m not reading the text.
Also, what can I ask of teachers who do not provide study guides. I feel we need to know the specifics of the test material so as not to be focusing on material that is not necessary.
Now that my son is in Junior High I know the classes will become more difficult – some to the extent that my husband and I need refresher courses. Thank you for any advice you can provide. (US)

My son gave a talk to the class
I’ve only just discovered this site. My 9-yr old dyslexic son had to give a talk to the class. He chose to talk about dyslexia and started: “What do Walt Disney, Richard Branson and me have in common? – No we’re not all millionaires . . . yet, but we do all have dyslexia. And so it went on. The teacher was so impressed! And with his peers my son was the hero for many weeks. (Proud mom, UK)