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By Valle Dwight
Horowitz has found that some people with dyslexia may struggle with reading, writing, and spelling, but be accomplished as speakers, so while they a typical second-language classroom might be a problem for them, a more conversational model worked.
“When they did an immersion experience (e.g., living abroad with a family that spoke a foreign language) they were quite successful, and ended up learning real conversational skills that were practical and helpful in everyday life,” he said.
Jacqueline is now in her second year learning French and is doing well, her mother reports. She works hard, has gotten lots of help and is one of the top students in the class. Her teacher had experience teaching children with special needs and understood the potential barriers, Wellington said.
“I wanted to give her the chance to try,” Wellington said. “If I said she couldn’t do it, I’d be saying I didn’t believe in her.”
Her advice to parents is to let your child try to learn a second language if they want to; make sure the teacher understands your child’s learning issues; and support her in any way you can. And if it turns out that it’s too difficult, you can always take your child out of the class. Rien risqué, rien gagné.
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