This morning as I was scrolling through Facebook, I noticed an article from Understood.org, written by a mom of a child who has Dyslexia. (Now before you stop reading my post because your child does not have Dyslexia, or because you think this is all that it's about, it's not. There's more.) Normally I would keep scrolling, but the title of the article drew me in. It is called "Now I Understand What My Child With Dyslexia Is Going Through". As I read the title, I thought to myself, "how could anyone possibly know what a child with Dyslexia is going through, unless they've gone through it themselves?"
According to the author of this article (Lyn Pollard) one way to understand what these children are going through is to see for your self through simulation. As a special education teacher of children with multiple learning disabilities, I had to find out what this simulation was all about.
But before I tell you more about this simulation and my thoughts, I want to explain what the site, Understood.org, is all about. (Keep in mind that I am in no way affiliated with Understood.org, I simply thought this would be a good resource to share.) Understood.org is a site dedicated to helping parents access information needed to help them understand their children with learning and attention issues. It provides resources, tools, and support. Understood.org is supported by 15 non-profit organizations (including the National Center for Learning Disabilities) , and countless numbers of experts and advocates.
The experts at Understood.org have put together a simulator in order for others to experience what a learning and attention issue might look like. Each simulation starts with a video of a child and/or expert speaking about the specific issue (You can skip these videos if you'd just like to try the simulation). Afterwards there is a simulation that takes you through what that child might be experiencing. Keep in mind that each child's experience is going to be unique for them. The simulations are short, and if you are interested, it should only take you a few minutes.
I, myself, still don't fully understand what my students are going through even after experiencing the simulations. It did, however, give me a different perspective. It is not the child's fault that they struggle on a daily basis (yes, I already knew this, but it was a reminder I needed). As teachers and parents, it is our job to help these children find ways to cope, adjust, and succeed with the tools they are given. Each time I get impatient and frustrated, I am going to come back and revisit this site as a reminder of what these children are dealing with.
If you take anything away from this, hopefully you will have a little more understanding, compassion, and patience for these children.
Please continue reading for step-by-step directions on how to access the simulations.
(You do NOT need to set up a profile in order to access the simulator.)
1. Click on the link Understood.org.
2. Go to 'Your Parent Toolkit'.
3. Click on 'Through Your Child's Eyes'.
4. Find the box that says 'Experience It' and click GO.
5. From there click your child's grade level (I clicked grade 1 since I teach K-2)
6. Click on 1 or ALL (Reading, Writing, Math, Attention, Organization) issues. ( I chose to click on ALL since I deal with all on a daily basis.) It will prompt you to begin, or continue.
(Feel free to click on the direct link below)
I hope to have helped open your eyes just a bit, as this did for me. It is one thing to know that a child is struggling, but it's another thing to experience it for yourself.