One in every ten children is dyslexic and many more struggle with reading and writing. Early intervention and a structured multi-sensory teaching programme can make all the difference. As a qualified teacher and member of the British Dyslexia Association, I have taught countless children to read and will help your child to become a confident and competent reader as well as helping them find ways to improve their writing and spelling.

Contact me today to find out how I can help you and your child.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Words Apart. How to triumph over Dyslexia

I discovered a fabulous book shop this week. It's called Turn the Page and it is a children's bookshop in Aberystwyth. It's tiny but crammed full of lots of little gems including a lot of dyslexia friendly books, many of them published by Barrington Stoke.

The owner Mande gave me a fascinating book entitled Words Apart. It's contains accounts from people in Wales with dyslexia or living with someone with dyslexia plus some tips on supporting those with dyslexia. It's all very interesting and inspiring from actor Lloyd Everitt's account of how he memorises his lines using symbols to Catherine Jones's account of how she fought for her son's dyslexia to be recognised.

Catherine's account struck a cord with me as it closely mirrors what I have witnessed in my own dealings with schools. In fact, I was advising a parent on this very subject just last week.

So, this is a brief synopsis of Catherine's journey to get her child's needs addressed. Catherine and the class teacher suspected her child was dyslexic when he was in Year Three. Catherine spoke to the school. Someone from the LEA did a very brief screening online and told her there were 'no real issues'. Catherine wasn't convinced. She took her child to be assessed by a third party. Dyslexia was confirmed. She took the results back to school. The LEA subsequently did a full screening and confirmed that her son was dyslexic.

I have had a number of parents report this to me. When I do a screening, and it suggests dyslexia, schools usually either a) agree or b) do their own screening which confirms my findings.

What was heartening to read in Catherine's account, though, was what happened next, and again, it mirrors my experience. The report contained recommendations for changes in the classroom - simple things like making sure the child was near the board. After some initial hiccups, most of the teachers took the advice on board and ultimately her child flourished.

My experience is the same; some children I have screened have had a lot of classroom adjustments made and have been given loads of additional support. Sometimes lessons with me have been included in their IEP (Individual Education Plan). Sometimes, it has been a bit more of a battle with parents having to meet with the ALNCO/SENCO and headteacher to get something put in place. But ultimately, something positive is achieved.

Of course, some schools are very thorough and are meeting the needs of all the children in the class but the knowledge that 10% of school children are dyslexic and many of them are being neglected by the school system is depressing.

Books like Words Apart  show how hard the battle for diagnosis and support can be but also what a positive effect intervention can have on helping those with dyslexia to reach their potential. It also shows us how creative, tenacious and inventive people with dyslexia can be and that being dyslexic doesn't have to be a barrier to having a happy fulfilled life and to achieving your dreams.

If your child is struggling then contact me today to get them the help and support they need to succeed.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Why screen for dyslexia?

A lot of people ask me,"What is dyslexia screening?" and "Is it worth doing?" Here's my best explanation.

Dyslexia screening is the first step towards discovering if your child's difficulties may be linked to dyslexia. Whether your child goes to school or is home-educated, if you have concerns about their reading, writing or spelling then a screening will provide answers. 

Typically a screening lasts about half an hour or so. Your child will undertake a series of short tasks covering various aspects of literacy. The results are then collated and a report provided to you which shows your child's areas of strength and weaknesses. Alongside the report, a good screening should provide advice and suggestions for activities to help your child improve their skills.

So, what can you do with the results? Well, the screening results can be used in a number of ways.
  1. Take the screening results into school and share them with the SENCO/ALNCO. I have seen very positive improvements made for children when parents have shared their screening test results with the school.
  2. Small adjustments in the classroom can make all the difference - your screening report will offer suggestions that can be made by class teachers easily and at no extra cost to the school.
  3. Do the suggested activities at home and help your child improve their literacy skills.
  4. If you are home-educating, the screening results helps you target those areas of literacy that your child is struggling with -  to help them reach their true potential.
  5. If you choose to get extra tuition for your child then the screening results will save your tutor time -  and save you money - as she will be able to immediately focus on those particular skills your child needs help to develop.
  6. Finally and very importantly, you will gain a better understanding of your child, their abilities, strengths and weaknesses.
So, there you have it, a wordy explanation but hopefully one that is useful!

I've done numerous dyslexia screenings over the years with varying results - sometimes children's difficulties turn out not to be linked to dyslexia  - but always with positive outcomes for the children concerned, as their needs are identified and they finally get the help they require to succeed.

If you live in Wales, you can contact me for a screening. If you live elsewhere then see my resources page for suggestions of organisations you can contact who offer screenings. If all else fails, look out for dyslexia associations or support groups in your area - they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Contact me today to get your child the help and support they need to succeed.