Friday, 9 March 2018

Why are we so different by Dyslexia Dublin © 2018

I grew up with a huge variation (character) to many including my siblings.
We shared so many things and were afforded the same opportunities.
We went to similar schools for the most part, joined the same or similar clubs!
We all lived under the same roof.
We all ate the same things.
But I always felt different, I’m not alone.
Parents often wonder why their offspring are so different in many ways, and some question their-selves.
I have heard, so many say much of what has been mentioned.
There is absolutely no reason to do this; we are a make-up of genes going back generations.
If we were all born on the same day and all of the same sex would we still be different!
Of course, we would be!
Perhaps understanding why we are so different would be a good place to start.
There are good reasons why we’re so different from each other. And sometimes we need to look deeply at and be more aware of this variation this will help us to be kinder to many including those near and dear, with greater empathy when others actions are different to ours, this will help us when judging others and ourselves in an inappropriate manner.
Some say we are the partly made up from preference and others are honed through experience including episodic events, and to some degree that is the case. But we are a combination of many factors, some beyond change or control.
Some research even points to change through such things as disease (miasam) We are the equal to the sum of the parts of many things, making change a process that is slow to shape and needs lots of nurturing.
So how do we become more excepting of our differences/variants?
Our very DNA means that we are very unlikely to find another that would exactly mirror our views, and in itself presents obstacles and the only way we can truly overcome these such as our early development, education and indeed relationships.
We can succeed if we mastering the art of being  both constructive and compromising in our approach, even if we don’t wholly agree with another’s actions.
It may also be the case where we fail through lack of understanding due to these different trains of thought!
Being aware of our differences is so important as parents, educators and indeed the individual child or adult…this is especially so with those who have a learning difference such as ADD,ADHD,Aspergers, SPD,ODD,OCD,Dyspraxia or Dyslexia.
There are too often comparisons made to those that don’t have any of the above and understanding that we are all different and even researching the various learning needs would be a giant step forward for so many.
Don’t compare like for like as like, this is a pure myth, and in reality does not exist.
If one of your children takes longer to learn to dress or tie shoe laces so be it, be patient and afford them the extra time. The same for educators if the students is slow to finish, change the requirements of that student's workload. Better still change your style of delivery (kinaesthetic).
If your partner has entrenched characteristics offer to compromise, change is always within reach, and far better than the alternatives.
Above all, we need to take a long look at what’s in front of us, solutions are often easy to find, if we take the time to look!
Be protective of those around you and share experience of best practice and in education make sure your concerns of others are understood.
Overlearning is paramount in all cases. Those right-brained students struggling in maths need support, and equally do those that are linear left brained when they struggle in the creative areas of education.

This article had been written by our team, and we have used the work of others in our research. We always suggest that if you are concerned please seek the advice of others.
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Thursday, 1 March 2018

Exam preparation and recall skill by Dyslexia Dublin 2018 ©

We are fast approaching exam time and many students with a learning need will be worrying about the whole revision process.
There are many ways in which we can store and recall information; we will look at these later.
There are so many things that can affect the flow of information to and from the brain.
I would like to talk about the different areas we use to store and then have to recall information.
Many that have a learning need have great long term memories and poor short term memories.
Normally academic study does not suit those right hemisphere thinkers (dyslexia,dyspraxia,dysgraphia and dyscalculia)
How many memory banks do we have and when do we use them?
What about the functionality of our brain and how can we retain or improve our memory?  Lots more for us to look into.
Our memory kicks in the very minute we are born (Tabula Rasa)… well almost.  Instinct causes us to breath and cry; that first touch, glance or taste are the early entries in our memory banks.  Even fear is a memory of the past (episodic) that comes back and stops us in our tracks…been here before not too sure about this!

All of these are stored (history) and help us build our future.  It is almost like DNA…unique to us. People seem to feel that they know what’s in your head…sorry, only you know that!  Many of us would feel our memory falls short of what we would like it to be, when in fact it’s much better than we believe it to be.

The brain is the most complex part of our body and, without a doubt, the nerve centre; without this we are nothing.  It monitors sensors from all over our body and feeds back the signals required to complete every task we do every day.

The brain also determines where the information is stored and how it’s stored…long term, short term, episodic or indeed if it’s worth storing at all.

Remembering can be from any source…touch, taste, hearing, smell, sight, feeling or indeed a combination of all those things.
It might be a place you have passed before, like a processing plant, your visual kicks in and then your smell completes the link.
Fear is also based on a visit to the past in our minds.

Our memory is an integral part of the brain and is strengthened very much like a muscle.  Different parts are responsible for different things and the key to development from our early years is stimulation.

The process of memory begins with encoding, and then proceeds to storage and, eventually, retrieval.

We see the world in an encrypted fashion, rather like a series of codes (similar to your personal data on a credit card).  The brain uses a form of decoding known as ‘encoding’…this the very first step in memory creation.  Neurons work the busy highways of the brain carrying data back and forth.

 Most people with a learning need such as dyspraxia or dyslexia have very good long term or episodic memories but quite poor short term memories.
This is a key reason for many of their fears such as the dentist, scared of animals or flying.

So let’s talk about recall!  In Simplistic terms, it is the way our brain draws on stored information for immediate use.
Like taking on a task that you haven’t done in a while, maybe an exam or cooking a dish. Many of these require replicated information as opposed to combining subsets of information.
There are a few ways in which information can be drawn from long-term memory.

One variant is for things such as form filling, we read what’s in front of us and rarely link this to past events.
We are pulling parts of information in order to complete the task.

Collating. This is one area where we can use past events to construct a story; such as an essay. This is a very positive area to work on.

We also do well when it comes to recognition, especially when it comes to factual answers.
We tend to be not so good with fictional things; unless of course we can turn them into fact.

One of my ideas is to create the overlearning and turn all our information into long term storage.

We can do this by quite simply recording all the things we need to learn; this creates a whole range of immediate change to the way our brain processes.

We can also use another of our strengths, and that is to add visual images to most of the subjects we are studying.

Maths is one that requires both long and short term, and this just doesn’t suit those visual factual learners.

We need to take every opportunity to create visual stimuli in this area, draw 3d shapes and colour them in; make a colour code for formulae, etc
Go out in the yard and do area, helping with the cooking can help with volumes and weights.

Reading a book; watch the film after and compare the two and take notes; again record everything.

Just make the learning come alive and best of luck with those exams.

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All our articles are for information only and guidance… professional advice should always be sought.  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2018

Saturday, 20 January 2018

How can we improve retention

How can we improve retention by Dyslexia Dublin  © 2018

Retention rates are so important; throughout our lives from early to later years.
Those with Spld tend to have great long-term memories and poor short-term memories; why is this!
We can accrue part of this to a lack of stimulation and different styles of tuition/instruction.
We need a clear and unobstructed path in order to encode (receive) all types of instruction and perform a given task.
When we are receiving visual instruction our attention rates tend to be far higher than if we are receiving aural instruction…this in part is due to our slower processing speeds and can also be a cause of slow processing speed along with poor short-term memory.

Something came to me very recently and that is dreams, can you remember dreaming about school I can't, well certainly not English or maths...why?
It's my belief that dreams are a form of processing visual stimuli.Our dreams can often blend with various scenes.An example, I was watching a tribute to Karen Carpenter the other night and a few days later she was having dinner with us.And her songs played a part in the dinner.
This is long term, so why have I mentioned this? It's an important part of our retention and points to the need for visual stimuli, feed the brain in this manner and it will retain most of we see but all of what we do.
Retention speed has a serious effect on how we take information from the whiteboard or power point (syntax).
We also have problems when we are forced to break words down to aid spelling and replicating from the board to paper; we can often look up two, three or four times to transcribe a word correctly. This will leave us well short come revision time as we only retain parts of words and indeed part of sentences.
Many left hemisphere linear thinkers tend to remember sentences with ease, and some even remember paragraphs in exact detail.
This can also cause problems with handwriting and legibility, this generally happens when a child has to look up at the board to spell certain words. They tend to catch up the others in the class by writing faster.

Many of us forget or fail to process a name of a person during an introduction, why, we are too busy processing a visual image of the person. This is why we never forget a face even though we have forgotten the name.
We lose things very often, like our keys or phone, quite often misplacing them when we arrive home, why, we don’t tend to find the journey home as stimulating as the outward journey. With the exception of leaving somewhere like school.
The brain process is so complexed, and anything can cause us to misinterpret or completely miss instructions!
Noise is a major factor, but we can also include a poor presentation or garbled or overly technical delivery.
Stress can be another variant in blocking pathways to retention. And slow processing speed as mentioned in previous articles.
Stress can have a detrimental effect on the many memory functions and also brain function,
Stress manifests itself in a variety of ways and levels; higher levels can be either intrinsic or extrinsic. We can take maths, for instance, this can be Intrinsic and a complicated formula or any give maths task can be triggered, extrinsic can be triggered by a prior fear or thoughts creeping into the mind.
Poor sleep patterns are another reason for poor retention; as is dehydration.
We can improve poor retention and slow processing by using many of the aforementioned processes.
Others can play their part. Schools can keep an eye on room temperature and the circulation of fresh air.
Many schools still seem reluctant to allow water to be consumed in the classroom, although many take a modern proactive approach.
Getting your children to read out loud and even at a low volume so only they can hear will improve retention overnight (introducing more senses)! Go a stage further get them use to recording their voices the results from this are amazing. I am learning a language at my ripe old age and still use visual stimuli and voice recordings to improve retention.
Bringing as many senses as possible also improves retention.

NB. This information is from personal experience and research and also partly sourced from the work of others. It is purely for improving the understanding of dyslexia and offering helpful advice. Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2017

We have some great products to help with auditory processing and for improving short term memory and much more at our online store.

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I hope you found this article useful… there are many more, including one on homework, on our Blog(

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Why is anxiety affecting our youngsters by Dyslexia Dublin © 2018

I was driving into the office this morning, they had a teacher on the radio who uses mindfulness in his school. I was very keen to listen to their thoughts on anxiety and the need to use mindfulness as a tool.
Just before that the newsreader mentioned the Doomsday clock and how it has moved closer to midnight, the point at which we measure the destruction of the Earth.

Could these two things although different have a connection, I’m sure they do.
There is not one of us that have not had an anxious time in our life, it helps that it’s not in isolation but a common feeling shared by many. We have so many highs and lows in life and all have moments of pure stress
This feeling occurs due to chemical releases when our patterns change from positive to negative situations. Fear and worry affect Children too.
Why are we now noticing this more and more? Children have far greater access to adulthood, far more than I ever had.

Our parents ushered words like seen and not heard. Was that a good thing?
I think it was to some degree, most children now have adult heads on very young shoulders. Children listen to social media far more than we ever did.
When Donald Trump got elected we had a week of children coming into the centre and all the talk was Trump and what will happen to us all.
We talk to other adults and don’t realise that every word is being mentally taken in.
Just like today with the mention of Armageddon on a show timed when children were on the way to school. I could just hear the questions being thrown at parents as to what was that about.
We should protect our children and their fragile minds, let them be children first and adults when the time arises.
If your child experiences a sudden change in attitude, they might become withdrawn and show a sudden loss of confidence. Get some early advice from your GP. Talk to others on support groups there are many sharing these same concerns.

What are the common causes of anxiety?
There are many factors. I suggest that all parents keep a close eye. Meal and bedtimes are a great opportunity to notice changes.

Changes to reliable patterns
We often worry about life’s events and in this modern day those worries are shared, years ago our parents would harness many of these events. Now the child is aware of the global downturn and lack of funds that provide for the niceties in life
Years ago there was a stock answer, it’s not your business or concern.
A sudden loss in the family can be a cause for worry/anxiety in both children and adults. They often lose out on the support as the adults are dealing with arrangements. Even the loss of  a family pet can cause anxiety as the safe secure balance of life has changed.
Moving to a new school requires a settling in process and support needs to be there for this.
Additional workload
Many parents are forced to work and often long hours due to the high cost of housing.
If you look at our neighbours around the globe who have a lower housing cost and less pressure there are more choices available. Part-time working is often not an option over here. Children benefit hugely in other countries as a result of one parent staying at home or working part-time, this leads to lower stress levels in general.
Children attend many after-school clubs, like hockey, hurling/camogie, horse riding, dance the list is endless. Many children then have to come home and set into homework. We often see that after-school activities are driven by peer pressure.
Children are quite happy to partake, however, they have to carry the extra load. This can also encroach on family time as it also creeps into the weekends, Gone are the days where you see families walking around the local park or bowling.
Problems within the school gates.
Does your child show a reluctance when it comes to school? The cause for this could be wide. It doesn’t just have to be a child with a learning need such as dyslexia or dyspraxia. It can be down to class dynamics or even school
Additionally, some children who are having difficulty when taking tests or performing in front of a class for presentations or reports will manifest these difficulties into fears and anxieties about school, as well as other life situations.

Greater global awareness
So many students come to us carrying the issues and troubles of the world on their small shoulders.
We are so aware of the increase in unrest on our doorstep and around the world.
We are living in very different times and need to harbour these things from our children. We had little awareness of such issues as our parents stopped us from watching such programs or asking questions in relation to issues.
I can remember how uneasy the situation was in 1963-64 with the nuclear standoff. My parents never mentioned it until years later but you knew something was wrong. But that minimised the worry and stress. Now the children hear it letter and verse.
I would have had to look up the word stress in a dictionary when I was growing up.
Social media has a big part to play and the same goes for video games producers. Parents can turn the tide on this.
Social Media
Many children are suffering as a result of social media. This was something we didn’t have to deal with. The pressure is on to be the smartest, coolest and best-looking person on the planet. Most of this is down to the pressures of social media. You go into a coffee shop and all the kids are taking selfies…why?
Some children have an ability to cope with this and shake of the stuff that they don’t like. There are many who don’t and it gradually grinds them down and leaves them in a shell.
Shared or Learnt Anxiety
I grew up with a fear of water and dogs. Even though I can now swim and have owned dogs I am still very cautious. This gets passed on to your children and is natural as they can sense your apprehension.
This can be the same with schools, dentists, flying etc.

Why not pop over to our new page and read more on the 3 Dy's @
All our posts are for guidance only and professional advice should always be sought.  Why not friend us on Facebook or Twitter @ Dyslexia Dublin and follow our Blog at
Dublin CETC © 2017

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Thursday, 23 November 2017

‘Dyslexia… Is It On The increase?’ by  Dublin CETC © 2017

Let’s bust the myth… most children and adults who struggle with the written subjects at school have a valid reason for doing so.  In general they have a very high IQ and many subconsciously teach themselves through studying, others in conversation or listening to conversation.  I have witnessed this over the long number of years working with both children and adults. Most will pick up a book and astound the listener as they start to read away… baffled as to why they are struggling at school, etc.  Why is this so?... well, most would have a good long term memory and would store many words in their image file (attached to images), you might occasionally hear a random word thrown out, but we adapt to ad-libbing quite well.  I say ‘we’, as I have gone through the same hoops myself, being born dyspraxic and dyslexic.

We now offer online support

There is a bottom line figure of 8-10% (this is on the increase) of children in most countries with some form of learning disability, involving poor comprehension in certain academic studies… for the most part listening, speaking, reading, writing, or mathematical. However, there is a far greater problem looming on the horizon… LDD (literacy deficit disorder)… and for many, it has already arrived.  For those with dyslexia and those who have a real problem coming to terms with and understanding problems with the English language... a figure of around 18-20% would be nearer the truth.
So where is the problem?  If you find your child reading a book, maybe from school, sit beside them and follow the story and, with some children, you will very quickly see them substituting words and quite frequently.  It’s not a pointer to the fact that they cannot read the word they have replaced, it’s the brain working in rapid fire to give fluency to reading.  You will notice when they come to words they cannot spell, that they slow or stop and try to build that strange word (often a word that has not been stored with an image).  Dyslexia is the most known form of learning difficulty, although we know of many more that exist.  Dyscalculia is one… it involves working/processing numbers and dysgraphia… taking the information from a source (whiteboard/hand-outs, etc.) and writing it down or storing it in the long term memory.
Speech is also connected here and many dyslexics could well have been late hitting certain milestones… this will cause a problem in reading fluency and the ability to build strange/unfamiliar words.
We use a variety of methods to help those struggling with one of the 3D’s to overcome the problems. Intervention is based on building skills using whatever teaching method works best for each individual.
 To help children with dyslexia, focus on teaching the child those words that can be segmented into smaller units of sound and that these sounds are linked with specific letter patterns. In addition, children with dyslexia require practice in reading stories, both to allow them to apply their newly acquired decoding skills to reading words in context and to experience reading for meaning and enjoyment.
Nowadays, we have also lost a complete tier of learning… do you remember sitting down to dinner as a family, watching a few channels on the TV, leading people to discuss the content or even turn the TV off and play a game…Charades…Give us a Clue, etc. These were also great opportunities for parents to see the academic ability of their children first hand. Now instead, we wait for the Report or the school to call us and quite often it’s way too late.
There is a chain of thought that would also focus on poor and delayed speech as a result of the above and that is also hampered by the solitary playing of video games.  Think about it… conversation is not as strong and is no longer widely used by many of us due to our way of life, we can go an entire day by using pay at pump for fuel, shopping online or self-checkout and even dive through fast food restaurants.
Most children/adults give all their latest news to others via social media… Facebook or texting… again not a word spoken!  Our friends in mainland Europe and many developing countries don’t quite suffer in the same way, as they very much use this form of media as an add on/supplement and not a replacement, or in many developing countries they simply don’t have or cannot afford the technology!
 All this results in a variety of issues and we see many more with delayed speech than ever before.  How can we gauge how much is being read with a kindle?… it was fairly easy to judge a worn book with bent pages and you could also observe the pages being turned (reluctant readers). 
These things can all lead to a lack of fluency in not just reading, but spelling and speech are all affected.  Self-confidence very quickly follows also stuttering and stammering comes as a direct result of poor literacy and communication skills… memory can also be poor as a result! Add these to someone with dyslexia and what chance do they stand! It takes far longer to pull the word from memory and build it before giving a response and the ‘em’ comes in handy to fill the temporary void in the conversation.
Slow readers, writers and communicators are constantly giving off warning signs.  How many are not picked up in school?  As parents or teachers, we need to take heed of these tell-tale signals before it’s too late and we have not just a reluctant reader, but a very reluctant pupil and much more coming down the track.
Why not make a big difference to your child/students and use our multi-sensory teaching resources?  Step up with ‘Steps’ and gain those lost years and self-confidence.   Check it out at -
With dyslexics, it is well known that there are inherent weaknesses in areas of the brain required to understand (comprehension) and build words (phonology), both of which are needed in order to be effective in all areas of literacy. For them (and also those with literacy deficits), this problem can be sorted effectively and the earlier you start the better… intervention in all areas of literacy, including communication, is vital… building words and vocabulary along with solid comprehension through a multi-sensory process.  These are the areas we work on, giving excellent results, with our students in all our literacy and numeracy intervention programmes and the same can apply to the remaining  academic subjects 

why not pop over to our new page and read more on the 3 Dy's @
All our posts are for guidance only and professional advice should always be sought.  Why not friend us on Facebook or Twitter @ Dyslexia Dublin and follow our Blog at
Toby Lee, Dublin CETC © 2017
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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

How is Confidence and Self Esteem affected by Dyspraxia, (DCD), Dyslexia and other specific learning needs by  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2017 

Confidence and achievement is everything… we can all do our own personal SWAT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunity and threats)… just take a look what you are good at, what do you struggle with? Can you do everything you need to do?

We now offer online support for dyslexia/dyspraxia in academic studies.
How easy is it to lose your confidence… imagine yourself down a hole and every time you stick your head out, someone hits it with a stick or shouts at you.  How many would still continue to pop their head up?
Many with dyspraxia have days, weeks, months and years like this and children with dyspraxia dealing with learning needs, maturity and skill building have these problems to face.
Dyspraxics generally have reduced ability when it comes to co-ordinated skills (gross and fine motor) such as sport and dance and this in itself multiplies the time required to carry out a given task that can be mastered by others in the shortest (one or two attempts) period of time.  Quite often we, as parents, fail to recognise this as a problem and fall short in time/tolerance required to help our children develop the required skill or skill sets.  Our parent's may considered spending the same amount of time teaching us how to ride our bike, as they would with siblings (brother sister), whereas in fact we often  require up to four times longer to grasp that particular concept.  It’s important for parents not to tire and make sure to give their children this extra time and remember… praxis makes perfect! It would be similar for those with dyslexia as we utilize areas of the brain that process all learnt material (instruction) our processing speed is known to be much slower, hence the required prolonged lessons and practice.
How does this impact on our child’s confidence and low self-esteem?
How do we go about assessing this lack of belief?
How do we address this area and encourage self-belief?
How can we make them feel good about themselves without feeling patronised?

Gross and Fine Motor Skills, Motor Planning and Organisation of Movement.
For a start we need to give due importance to the area of gross/fine/motor/organisation by taking time to work on these areas. This is a real issue and affects self confidence in most of our daily lives as a dyspraxic and also for those with SPD and hyper mobility.
DCD can confuse many, from Ed Psych’s, friends, teachers and even close family members, all can appear fine for the short time we are in others company and this can be a problem in itself.   Quite often we seem just like those without DCD when we are sitting or are relatively stationary… however, the very second we  have to carry out a task we fall apart… for example, walking with a cup and we drop it, or walk into someone.
We are all aware that DCD (dyspraxia) is a motor, planning and co-ordination disorder.
The disorder can range from mild to severe.  It runs in families and can be co-morbid, which often means many will have elements of hyper mobility, dyslexia, dysgraphia (writing/comprehension), dyscalculia (maths) sensory processing, social communications disorder (DSM5).  Most will have poor memory and memory recall.  Others may present with mild dyspraxia and no other traits.
Presentation of DCD is so variable in its spectrum and has a very wide range of limitation/delay in co-ordination, planning and motor skill.  It can range from very moderate to severe… some would be good at sport and others would struggle, the same would be the case for academia.
The child could be fine in the early stages with limited concern shown by the parent, especially if they happen to be the first born so there is no benchmark set and familiar milestones hit by an older sibling, ie. walking, talking, eating, kicking and catching a ball.
We can also see problems with speech and language... quite often we witness a delay in speech which can so often slow the introduction to reading/spelling and indeed writing, into the early years of school.
Dyspraxia (DCD) affects around 1 in 8 school-age children and likewise adults, around the world.  There is a variation to this, so I am going with an average figure.  We also know that it affects far more boys than girls… statistics show around 80% are boys, although in my personal opinion, I feel the gap may well be closer in reality.  The reason I feel this to be the case is that boys tend to show frustration and meltdown whereas girls tend to internalise and just get on with it, which can result in more boys being diagnosed. 
So what do we do to keep confidence and self-belief high?
Firstly I want to say don’t give praise where it is not due… it must be genuine.
Take everything that has to be learnt very slowly and then praise, praise, praise!
During the early days put them in a baby walker, as this helps develop leg movement (gross motor skill).
Spend time helping them to crawl and walk by letting them mimic you.
When they start to feed themselves encourage this but give them easy things to eat (nice bright carrot stick)… pieces of apple will help with fine motor skill… feed them every other piece to reduce frustration.
Make lots of funny faces to encourage smiling and always use a cup and then a straw to drink through, as this will help facial muscle tone and early speech.
Try and get them to improve core muscles by getting them on their tummies and looking up… this will strengthen their back and shoulders.  This will also help posture when they start sitting more frequently.
When they are ready to play, roll a ball to them… this will help eye hand co-ordination.
All of the former is important. Make sure you check out their dominant side too… how do they move? Is it left hand or right first (crawling)? Which leg leads, if already walking? It is so important to figure out their dominant side to make writing etc. easier later on… many pick up the pencil in both hands and often use their non-dominant side to write with (less control)!
We also find placing things in order or stacking difficult, due to the planning/processing side of the condition.
With the singular focus that we have as a result of being dyspraxic, we struggle with multi co-ordination on a variety of fronts, like climbing stairs, running, hopping, and jumping, co-ordinating limbs to dress (shirts, trousers, socks, etc.)
We can also have difficulty chewing solid food, due to hyper-sensitive gag reflex (tough meat and fibrous fruit like pears and fish too) and sensory processing problems.
There is a high incidence of ambidexterity in dyxpraxics and this could be down to planning/processing at an early stage (dyspraxic children often pick the pen up with the nearest hand and proceed to write or draw… this could then become ingrained). This often leads to indifferent writing techniques and poor writing skill.  Let your child know you make mistakes also...none of us are perfect, laugh at your mistakes by all means bur don't laugh at theirs.
This all leads to problems performing daily activities and many of our personal routines like getting dressed.
Due to required repetition, a far greater time is required to master new skills and skill sets (tying shoelaces, fastening buttons, zips, etc).
Tripping and falling due to lack of concentration and poor balance, even standing still and the occasional wobble, can all make us look very clumsy.
We tend to have a far slower rate of maturity due to most of the above and this can lead to voluntary and involuntary isolation.  If we are on our own we feel less pressured to perform and no one witnesses our mistakes.  However I must express this is not a good thing. As a result, we tend to hand around or play with children much younger than us.
I have written many articles on anger and frustration and this all goes alongside dyspraxia. It’s no surprise we beat ourselves up over the slightest mistake and also as a result of being constantly pulled up and criticised by our peers/family members.
We have a very singular focus and this in turn causes poor concentration and listening skills… we also find it hard to follow verbal and written instruction, it is much easier to watch and learn or follow pictograms.
In adulthood this can often be the case with D.I.Y… we would prefer to follow the picture on the box than read the instructions inside (right brained).
It can cause problems with learning to drive (see article on Learning to Drive with Specific Learning Needs by Toby Lee).
Anger and frustration.
If you suspect any of the symptoms of dyspraxia, I would recommend you seeing an OT or Ed. Psych.  II would stress it is important to get a good assessor, as one that doesn’t know dyspraxia could miss some of the signs or might not apply the correct conditions to show that your child has dyspraxia.
You could also find during the assessment your child might have dyslexia/dysgraphia or dyscalculia…these are co-morbid conditions that can also shadow dyspraxia…ADD…ADHD and ASD.
It is so important to be prepared before you see anyone for a diagnosis… observe your child and draw up a list of issues, make a note of milestones like walking/talking, etc.
 Motor problems of children with DCD persist at least into adolescence, although it weakens as we come to terms with routine and we no longer need to be competitive, like running around the school yard or taking part in sport.  Friend with us on facebook or follow us at twitter @ dyslexiadublin

All our articles are written to give guidance only and we would suggest that all of our readers seek the required professional guidance Check out our new look website at

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Why’s and How’s of the IEP (Individual Education Plan)and the benefits to individuals in the learning environment (revised)  by  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2017

Just received your child's IEP or would like to know more ( have an assessment, then you should be informed about your entitlements).

Specific Needs Education is the education of students with special needs in a way that addresses the students' individual differences and needs. This process involves the individually planned scheme of work with an agreed level of help…sometimes intense help… to achieve a learning objective, such as learning the alphabet for example. This will also give an outline of the resources required to achieve an outcome equal or close to their peers (see the article on Accommodation for further details).
This will include the provision of in-class support (SNA) and one to one (resource teacher), requiring extra resource hours.
There is a range of learning needs and not all children in a class would have been through a diagnosis. The school, however, should be able to identify such students and should offer as much support as they possibly can. Parents must also be informed of this, which is key to helping move their individual child forward.
In most countries, inclusive education is in place; schools and teachers are changing the way in which they teach, to accommodate all students and allowing far more children with specific learning needs to be taught in the mainstream school.
Integration is less likely to cause stigma amongst the students as they are submerged in this modern learning environment. Inclusive education, with adequate resources and qualified knowledgeable staff, can offer almost everything to everyone in regard to education.
Specific learning needs students can be identified early in the learning process…observation of work and participation in group and solo activities can be monitored, along with performance in both testing and homework. These would all help to identify individuals that are struggling to understand the information being presented.
IEP (Individual Education Plan)
A learning programme should be agreed between teachers and this should also involve parents and the support staff within the school. This will vary from country to country and will be unique to the student that has been identified with a learning need. The IEP will set out the support and resources required to help the individual and will also document the resource hours and in-class provision (scribe…reader, etc.) required to help the student cope with the mainstream class.
As schools become more familiar with the range of individual needs, they will resource accordingly. This will require changes in the way they accommodate all within the group and this could be down to gaining physical access to classrooms (old schools) with the use of lifts to upper levels, to the introduction of computers for children who cannot write because of a physical disability. They must also take account of the child’s needs outside of the classroom during break times, to include access to the playground, toilets and eating facilities.
In the case of a child on the Autism Spectrum, it might be necessary to school them in a smaller group or classroom. This can also be the same with children who have SPD if they are tactile or not tactile, they might struggle to concentrate and would need to be positioned accordingly. This would also be the same for children with auditory processing problems and also those who may have visual stress.
Modifying the Lesson to include the IEP.
Students workload can be reduced and be more specific…for instance, handwriting can be in print rather than cursive to help students keep up with lessons that are dictated.
Project work can be assisted by giving the student a textbook and also an audio or DVD to watch, such as Michael Morpurgo’s ‘War Horse’, for example.
Reduced homework is given on a more consistent basis, with maybe one subject per night instead of several subjects…this also means there is less to forget and fewer books for the student to carry home.
Students should be given access to certain resources during testing, like the use of a calculator or have a bank of words to aid comprehension. Extra time for tests can also be agreed during the construction of the IEP.
ECM (every child matters) is an integral part of every school and classroom or should be. The Teacher is responsible for ensuring the safety of all children in their care and take appropriate advice/action to maintain the safety of all.

If your child is starting a new school make sure the provision is there before you register them.

NB. This information is from personal experience and research and also partly sourced through the work of others.  It is purely for improving the understanding of dyslexia and to offer helpful advice in related areas.   Dyslexia Dublin  © 2017

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Time Management and associated problems for dyslexics and dyspraxics by Dyslexia dublin© 2017

We suffer poor time management more so than any others…Why?

1) We have very poor short term memory.

2) Secondly, we have organisational issues.

3) Thirdly, some having planning and processing issues.

We can’t ever blame ourselves for any of the above as we are born with a very active right side of the brain (creative), whereas Time management is very much a function of the left linear brain.

However, many get frustrated by our time-keeping and therefore it has to be worked at and improved for the sake of everyone.

You need to sit down and take stock and plan ahead.  My time keeping was terrible as a child, however now it has swung the other way.

I leave myself twice as much time as most to get going and I always arrive at functions/meetings early.  T this day I still set all my clocks five to ten minutes fast.

-      One helpful tool is a colour coded diary for school and social time.
-      Buy a sand timer for home, use it for studying and fun time, we notice
          movement much easier than we would a watch or clock.
-      If you have a smart phone, use the alarm and calendar so you get both a
          visual and audio reminder. 
-      Post-it Notes on your door (to write messages and reminders).  I still hang things on the door that I need to take with me.
-      Use your smart phone to take images of books required for school, etc.
-      A notice-board on the wall can also be useful.

As we have already mentioned, time management is linked to our ability to organise and we don’t have that.

Your preparation should start on a Sunday before the new school week begins.

Do it whilst you are fresh and alert, don’t leave it till Monday morning when you are still half asleep.
You could even find that you sleep better, as you have already organised and sorted all the things that are on your mind to do the next day.

If you are like me and forget so many other things that keep our lives functioning (shopping, sports, social outings, etc.), put all those other troubling things onto post it notes, etc.

Even do a road map, a very good way of learning how to organise… put on your day or week A to Z.

You must also schedule free time and breaks. Is worthwhile during routines like homework…maybe 10 mins every hour, but be disciplined and don’t stretch the free time!

Don’t play video games before you go to bed.  Take an hour or so to do something less complex to help you sleep.

Schedule study time so you can get ahead.  Try to work at some point over the holidays and at weekends to give you space in the week.

A To-Do list is also a very good way of getting and thinking ahead.
Being untidy is also a sign of poor organisational skills… it's far harder to find things and quickly in an untidy and cluttered space, so include that on your list.

Always put your keys and/or phones in the same place every time and do it the second you get in.

You will very quickly do all this subconsciously, trust me you will… I did.

It means you only have to visit the one place then, and yes…they are there.

Men tend to be worse than women when it comes to time management, as they tend to have greater lists and tend not to write things down.

Poor time management actually robs you of more time through living in chaos, always chasing your tail.

Most importantly, poor organisation causes increased stress and anxiety.

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All our articles are written to give guidance only and we would suggest that all of our readers seek the required professional guidance Check out our new look website at