What do Bill Gates, Kiera Knightley and Richard Branson all have in common? Apart from all excelling in their chosen fields, they also have dyslexia.
Although dyslexia is considered to be a lifelong problem, there is a range of specialist interventions that can help individuals with their writing and reading. These interventions include dyslexia coaching and neuro-linguistic programming.
Dyslexia is better treated at a young age, and the type of help they get will be determined by the severity of the difficulties. If the individual is still in school, a learning plan may be created to help support the child. But if they would like to seek extra help, NLP and coaching can offer tried and tested ways for your child to develop.
On this page we will look at a number of common questions of ‘what is dyslexia?’, ‘what is dyslexia coaching’ and ‘what happens in a dyslexia coaching session?’. We will also discover how neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) can help.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a common type of learning difficulty that affects up to one in every 10 to 20 people in the UK. It hampers the ability to communicate and process written information - i.e. an individual's ability to read and write. Yet, what sets it apart from a learning disability is that intelligence is not affected.
People with dyslexia typically have problems with:
- Phonological awareness - This is a key skill usually learnt during early childhood. Phonological awareness is the ability to identify how words are made up of small units of sounds (known as phonemes). When phonemes change, the meaning of a word also changes e.g. taking away the 'S' in 'sat' and replacing it with a 'P' transforms it into the word 'pat'. Dyslexia makes it difficult to recognise these changes.
- Verbal memory - This is the ability to remember sequences of verbal information for short periods of time. For example, the sequence 'square, triangle, circle', or a set of basic instructions such as: 'get your coat, pick up your wallet and go to the shops for some milk'.
- Verbal processing speed - This is the time it takes to process verbal information, even if that information is familiar. People with dyslexia tend to have a lower verbal processing speed, making things like noting telephone numbers down as someone else reads them out, or writing a word as somebody else spells it out, particularly difficult to do.
What is dyslexia coaching?
Dyslexia coaching is a form of coaching designed to help people with dyslexia with the following areas:
- improve their literacy and numeracy skills
- increase their understanding of dyslexia
- explore and discuss how dyslexia impacts their own lives
- motivate them to feel determined and inspired to overcome any blocks separating them from success and happiness
- help them build confidence and appreciate their true worth.
Just as coaches (the type with wheels and drivers) take passengers from one place to another place, coaches (the type with arms and legs) take people from where they are in life, to where they want to be in life. For example, a sports coach might help transform an athlete from a competitor into a winner; a life coach might help an unhappy client move from a bad to a good place in life, and a business coach might help a company transform from mediocre to successful. Dyslexia coaching helps clients transform from:
- feeling unhappy and undervalued to feeling empowered and valued
- feeling unsupported to getting the help and guidance they need to prosper
- having trouble focusing in school or work to feeling inspired, ambitious and hopeful for the future
- feeling insecure to feeling confident and proud of who they are and what they can do.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with dyslexia, coaching may be a viable option. To find a dyslexia coach near you, use our advanced search tool.
What happens in a dyslexia coaching session?
Different coaches work in different ways to help and support their clients. The sessions themselves can take place either face-to-face, over the telephone, through video calling (e.g. Skype), or via email. Sessions usually last for an hour or more, and the amount of sessions you have is entirely up to you, although it does depend on factors including:
- how severe your dyslexia is
- the complexity of the issues you wish to overcome
- your level of understanding about the condition.
Usually during your first session you will be asked questions that will help your dyslexia coach learn about you, your condition and how you deal with it. After establishing what it is you want to get from your coaching sessions, your coach will begin developing a plan of action for moving forward.
Dyslexia coaching sessions can be challenging: coaches will invite you to change your way of thinking and learn new approaches. In the end though, they are designed to help you overcome what you consider to be obstacles in your life, leading to an outcome that will hopefully be worth the hard work.
When choosing your dyslexia coach, you should first make sure you feel comfortable with their approach and if you don't, simply conduct a new search and choose another.
In your coaching sessions it is likely that you will be taught ways of coaching yourself in future, so even when the sessions end, you can take those important techniques, skills and fresh ways of thinking with you into your future.
NLP for dyslexia
Neuro-linguistic programming has been used to help both children and adults with dyslexia. It can be applied to education, providing strategies from which to use when learning.
It is, however, important that you are in a 'good state' for learning at your best, working at your best, remembering at your best, focusing at your best, listening at your best and so on. This might sound impossible for you, but with a little practise, you will be able to automatically get yourself into this 'good state'.
To do this, you must first know what your basic needs are - these can vary from person to person. Notice what makes you feel good, settled, comfortable, relaxed and confident.
For example, for one person it could be a cup of tea, a comfortable seat and a quiet room to work in. When they also wear a headset, they notice that they can concentrate better and their focus is excellent. Someone else may notice they need ambient lighting, to read text that's printed on a coloured background, have a soothing melody playing in the background. Yet another person might listen to rock music playing through their headphones while they crunch on salty snacks after they have been out for a run around the local park. We are all individuals, with unique needs.
Everyone needs to relax more, but it's even more important to you if you are dyslexic, as the pressures that you feel are more extreme than the average person. You have to work (mentally and physically) much harder than the average person. By regularly practising some stress strategies, you would be able get into a stress-free zone quickly, allowing yourself to relax, ready to perform at your best.
There are many other strategies, specifically designed for your needs, such as organising yourself, listening and taking notes, prioritising and managing your time. Your success comes when you are feeling good, being in your unique 'good state'.
All of these performance strategies are based on NLP techniques.
With thanks to Life Coach Directory member Sousa Hari for her help with the NLP for dyslexia section.
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