Forum: Irish / Irish - Teachers and Assistants

Student With Dyslexia, Any helpful hints?
By minipoppy
On Sat Feb 11, 2012 09:32 AM

Okay so I currently have a student who has started Irish dancing, and she has severe dyslexia, lots of confusion with her left and right, as well and the motion of forwards and backwards. She's extremely quiet and lacks confidence as a result.

Has anyone else had a student with similar/ the same needs?

Does anyone else have dyslexia and dance? - What techniques work for you?

Has anyone got any helpful techniques that I could try in order to help her with her new steps, making it as easy as possible for her to learn, without causing upset and frustration?

I have suggest that next week she bring and wear different coloured leg warmers/socks, in order to help with her left and right confusion, hopefully this will help.

any help would be great,

Thanks! :)


10 Replies to Student With Dyslexia, Any helpful hints?

re: Student With Dyslexia, Any helpful hints?
By FeisForFoodmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:53 AM
I was going to suggest the color thing that you said: that way it can be yellow foot and blue foot, or whatever. If she does where different colored socks next week, I suggest having her do that consistently, with the same color on each foot every week. So the left foot will ALWAYS be yellow, and the right foot will ALWAYS be blue. Perhaps if she can get the color association linked with the muscle memory, that will help.

Does she look in the mirror while she is dancing during class? My brother is dyslexic and when he was dancing, the mirror frustrated him to no end. Because your reflection is doing the opposite as you, even though it's moving in the same direction. Everyone is different, so maybe for her the mirror is a good thing. Just something to think about.

I'm sure you're already doing this, but make sure you're extremely patient and encouraging. Does she laugh at herself when she makes a mistake, or does she get embarrassed? I'd advise you that you make a point of making light of your own mistakes, so she starts to see that it's not a big deal. Feet directions are confusing for beginners in general, so she should know that even though it's a little different for her, she's not alone, and everyone makes mistakes.

How old is she?
re: Student With Dyslexia, Any helpful hints?
By hummingbird
On Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:22 AM
I'm dyslexic, I still have brain farts about right and left even now.

Use land marks around the room, sevens to the door or windows, skip two threes towards the parking lot, or put up pictures on the walls if there is nothing for you to use it will help them visualise what you're asking them to do.
re: Student With Dyslexia, Any helpful hints? (karma: 2)
By Realtreble
On Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:32 AM
Did you know Micky Mantle was dislexic? That's why he was one of the most prolific switch hitters in baseball history. The good news is, once your little dancer "gets" the first step, she should be able to intuit the second/opposite foot; it is important to tell her to expect that ability and that it is something special about her that will make her a good dancer.

While the different color socks are a good idea, to begin with, I would recommend a shortened private lesson. During that lesson:
1) Always face the same direction as your dancer. If you are looking AT each other and you are saying right, left, front, back, she has to decode how that direction is different for her than you. When your facing the same direction, your left is her left, etc.
2) I'd forgo using a mirror in the short term.
3) Many dislexics are auditory learners. Have her speak the steps as she does them. Attaching words to movement may help.
4) Written instructions, even the ones with footsteps drawn instead of words, may not be helpful. Allow the parent to video your private practice. That way she'll have a record of the class to look at when she's home.
5) To facilitate practice at home, have the parent video you performing the steps FROM BEHIND. That way, when the video is viewed, your left, right, front and back will be the same as your dancer's. Perform the steps for the video twice. The first time, forgo music; talk the steps as you do them. For example: up, jump, go back 2-3-4, cut right 2-3-4.
In the second part of the video, dance the exact same steps to simple music.

The key is minimizing the confusing instructions and keeping de-coding to a minimum. Have patience. Once this dancer truly understands what's going on, she may be one of your best students. Hopefully, learning steps in class at the same time as her classmates will be a skill she can develop. Until that time, plan to rely on the videos as an important instruction tool. If you have a senior dancer who someday hopes to become a TC, you may want to have that dancer produce the videos for you (dance and record). She may even be the one to dance in front of your student in class to provide cues to the right directions to attach to the verbal instructions.

Good luck and give us a progress report,ok?
re: Student With Dyslexia, Any helpful hints?
By Maisey
On Mon Feb 13, 2012 09:23 AM
Good advice here. I think that sometimes a private is very helpful, to learn the steps especially.
re: Student With Dyslexia, Any helpful hints?
By celticfeetmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Feb 13, 2012 01:29 PM
Some really great suggestions have been given, but just a note that many of these tips work great for all students- not just those with dyslexia. So you may find if you implement them for all students (ie: minimizing de-coding) that classes in general go more smoothly.
re: Student With Dyslexia, Any helpful hints?
By rachel_g31
On Tue Feb 14, 2012 04:13 AM
Red socks for the right foot. I do this anyway with mine, as the little ones struggle to know what foot is which anyway. I wear a red sock too so that they can see where my right foot is moving.
re: Student With Dyslexia, Any helpful hints?
By AinetheDragonPremium member
On Tue Feb 14, 2012 04:00 PM
If she's embarrased about having trouble with right and left foot, instead of having her wear different socks, have her put an elastic hair band on her righ wrist. Then she has a physical cue rather then visual, and it wont make her stand out.

As for the confidence issue, make a big deal of other things she does well, and give her a good job and a high five whenever you can possibly justify it.

The idea about using landmarks for directions sounds like a good odea, I yse that alot when ceili dancing.

You might also try teaching the footwork first without directions first, then steer her or have her follow someone while they dance the pattern.
re: Student With Dyslexia, Any helpful hints?
By minipoppy
On Sat Feb 18, 2012 08:39 AM
Some fantastic advice here! Thanks all!

Today we had class and different coloured leg warmers were used (pink and black) and I couldn't believe the difference this small change had made with this little girl. In response, I believe she is 9 years old.

I have completely changed my wording to match the leg warmers she used today, so instead of change 2,3 or 1,2,3 I used PINK to BLACK, BLACK to PINK and even this small change of phrasing helped a lot. As a whole she is extremely shy and even when praise is given, not much of a response is given back (yet!) This is only her 3rd lesson with me now, and with a little more time, and patients I think she's going to crack it. - In her own time of course. I am also very conscious of the way in which I interact with her, always using positive phrasing, and high fives as praise and talking about where she wants to go next, does this makes sense? shall we try it again? etc.

With relation to the mirror suggestion, we don't have mirrors in the hall we dance in, as its a community hall thats rented. However I always dance in front of my students, so that I am in fact the mirror image of them. This helps a lot. - Today I tested this by moving next to my dancer, so my right was her right etc, but this confused her further, so we stuck to me being in front of her and he following me like a mirror.

I shall take a few more of all your suggestions and see if we can make it easier still for her. :) Thank you all for your suggestions, I'll keep you updated :)

re: Student With Dyslexia, Any helpful hints?
By merllis
On Sun Sep 13, 2020 06:31 AM
any ideas?
re: Student With Dyslexia, Any helpful hints?
By merllis
On Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:32 PM
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