Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Had a great chat with a local radio station today east Coast Fm here is the link for their podcast

For those that missed the radio interview today here is the link to the podcast...we were on between 10-1100 you can click to move it on and our interview aws around 40 mins into the programmehttp://blog.eastcoast.fm/2013/08/the-morning-show-with-declan-meehan_26.html

Saturday, 24 August 2013

‘Homework…The best way to make it Happen’ by  Dyslexia Dublin © 2013

Imagine you have been sat all day in class and bombarded with lots of new things to learn, and then it’s time to go home and start to study all over again and then factor in your child with a learning need… not easy.
Get the teacher if possible to give your child their  homework well before the class finishes, the best time is first thing in the morning as part of class…maybe the teacher will give a brief synopsis of the work required.
Homework should be part text and part visual, to stimulate the learners into doing it.
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Write homework requirements on a slip of paper for the individual to stick into their planner or, better still, have a colour coded homework notebook. If they have a SNA/Teacher, ask them to write this out with your child.
As parents, I would advise you to get the phone numbers of several parents and you can each do a ring around if one or other forgets the homework notebook, or you can’t understand what is required… this is also a good idea if your child is out sick so as not to fall behind.
Some colleges use Ethernet and this is great for putting up homework lists… schools will eventually start to use this technology.
It is so important for all family members to have agreed homework rules… get your children to draw up a list with you.  Make sure all children are doing their homework at the same time… unless they are seniors. Disconnecting the router is a good idea as they will go onto the internet and play (if they are doing homework with a laptop). Agree who will help with the homework to reduce politics and conflict (mum or dad).  Get this all right and the chore of home study will be easier for sure.
Be organised and keep to a routine, how will your children conform if you show little interest yourself?  Use a different approach to helping… use prompts and be ahead of their homework… telling them you don’t know the answers will make them feel that they can survive without achieving.
Reinforce the positive points… “Wow! 19 out of 25 in your spellings!... well done!.   Maybe If we take a look at them you might get 25, wouldn’t that be great!!!”  rather than “19 out of 25… which 6 did you get wrong?” which is very negative. Positive remarks are great, for example – “I was reading your homework last week, it was tough but you stuck at it… well done!”.  Also,  expect days when they are under the weather, they might have had PE and are genuinely exhausted (teachers might consider this point and give homework passes (dyspraxic children tire quickly).
Parents should ensure that homework is completed before any other distractions get in the way… make sure they have water to drink as they would have at school, dehydration causes fatigue.  Let your child relax after they finish their homework and remember, homework is more important than extra-curricular activities.
Get your children to do the subjects they find harder first, as they will be more focussed.
Make sure the individual (son/daughter) knows the system for handing in homework.
It is far better if the schools can frontload the homework, as we all know by nature children tire as the week progresses.
For teachers and form tutors, prompt individuals to hand in homework as part of a regular routine and treat the reading/marking of homework and also feedback on the homework, as important as class work, as students put in so much effort into doing their homework.
Some teachers get the children to check each other’s homework and mark accordingly.  This can lead to inaccuracies and possibly even falling out, if mistakes are made with the marking (are they old enough to accept this responsibility?).
Help the individual to set up a timetable to show when homework should be handed in.
Work with parents to set up a system at home so the individual can plan ahead, particularly for project work.
Before giving a detention for missing homework, try to find out why homework hasn’t been completed.
Parent Teacher Meetings - maybe include a Homework Workshop, where individuals can raise concerns or issues they're having around homework and schools could give guidance and helpful tips.
One more thing… find out if your child is following the curriculum…this will help you gauge if they are doing foundation or ordinary level and the direction they are heading in for their state exams.  This will give you an opportunity to purchase additional resources, in line with the curriculum, ie. past exam papers, etc.
we have helpful homework resources at www.dyslexiadublin.ie
check out our website at www.dublin-cetc.com
All our posts are for advice and guidance only… always seek professional advice. Toby Lee, Dyslexia Dublin (CETC) © 2013

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Organisational Skill and DCD (back to School soon, a must read) by Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

With children who struggle to plan and structure their events, including school, this often stems from weak or non-existent organizational skills. This can lead to incomplete tasks, such as failing to complete homework and other activities. Parents work particularly hard in all they do, but vigilance is key to making sure this is picked up early.
Due to the sheer nature of DCD, it is important that we don’t leap to the wrong conclusion and blame our children through the likes of inattention, lethargy or avoidance…for the most part they are not disobedient children, often the contrary. It can be quite difficult for parents and teachers to know if a child is struggling with various tasks due to lack of motivation, poor organization or the inability to organise (multi-tasking) or demonstrate sound time management skills. Children who attempt, but struggle, with set tasks require a structure to enable them to organise events on a daily and weekly basis…it is very important to structure their week and allow very little to get in the way of that structure. It would be so easy for this to all collapse after all your and their hard work.
How can we help our children?
Start by having a structured routine. This will include set times for regular events like homework, household, etc…make this fair by allowing them more time than a child without DCD…give shorter lists of instruction…sand timers are very good for showing children time in a very visual way.
Start with a colour calendar week planner and show the different tasks in colour, as this will be easier to follow…reward good progress!
Ask them if they have followed the schedule/planner and eventually move to allow them to plan in the future…this also takes some of the fear away from new events and holidays, etc.
Have a designated area for putting school books, backpacks, etc.
Make sure they give you things like their lunchbox and ask them if they enjoyed it (this will give you some idea that they have eaten it!)
Keep an eye on the planner and double check that the dates for assignments and trips are correct.
Try a white board in the kitchen for remembering bigger events (visual is good)!
Make mind/road maps on post it notes to help with getting ready for school…use one post it for each task to start with and stick them in bedroom bathroom kitchen etc
Use a jug of time….I find this very good when teaching…take a jug with say one or two litres and divide it by the time you think they need to get ready for school…including maybe some telly.
And fill the jug as time passes at the same time telling them how they are eating into their telly or treat time…I do this with the tuition and the bit at the end is playing games time and its amazing how after a period they associate being quicker at everything they get more game time.

Memory training is a must for taking this forward and we sell a lot of resources to help improve memory and I would also use these in our own training centre you can find them at www,dyslexiadublin.ie

do you like my articles then please support us by telling your friends and visiting our new specific learning needs page/forum at https://www.facebook.com/DyspraxiaGlobalDyslexiaDyscalculiaForumForAll?ref=hl

Our posts are for guidance only and are put together with our knowledge and that of others…you are welcome to comment or share our work but please mention the originators of the post
Toby Lee Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Part Three of ‘Dyslexia - The Why’s and how to spot some of the Signs’  by  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

Problems with accuracy and recognition of the written word, decoding of words (phonetics), reading comprehension and slow growth of vocabulary come in a variation of forms of Dyslexia and Dysphonesia (problems with blending pairs... see below).

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Spelling and Visual memory weaknesses prevent a child from having a strong memory of what many common words look like. Using multi-sensory materials and techniques is the most effective help. With spelling, 96% of the English words are regular. A Dyslexic’s spelling word list should be very limited and the use of computers for spelling word practice and tests is encouraged.  Spelling words forwards and backwards is a big help for long-term memory of spelling words.  Please do not tell a Dyslexic to use the dictionary to find the spelling of a word as they will have trouble locating it, which may cause frustration.

There are many ways in which our children with dyslexia/dysphonesia can be helped. One way is to teach them how to break words into different sounds. Then how to write the different sounds and create and build new words. This helps with both reading and writing. As previously mentioned, children with dyslexia have poor processing power due to signals sent from one part of the brain to the other through various neural pathways are often misaligned. In order to improve/re map those areas a multi-sensory teaching method is favoured…as this works through 4 senses (touch, sight, speech and hearing) and uses the left side in tandem with the right, which means the information is far more likely to be retained.

Dysphonesia is a very important area to work on as previously mentioned…children with dyslexia and/or dysphonesia very quickly improve their single syllable words (dog…cat…rug) with the use of phonics. Mono syllabic words are slightly more challenging…we can improve this area by breaking down the words into syllables like SUM-MER…WIN-DOW, etc. We also need to introduce work on blends which is equally important. What are blends?…blends are pairs of letters that become a single sound like sh and ch and depending on where they are placed, as this could have a slight variation of sound.

With children going into second level schools it is also worth considering Italian or Spanish as a preferred language choice, if a 2ndlanguage choice is mandatory.  As previously mentioned, they appear to have a lower rate of dyslexia which could be due in part to fewer variations of the way a word sounds in relation to how the word is written down (reading and spelling). “The average language has about 50,000 words in its vocabulary compared to English which has 1 million. French is second with a quarter million words" - Lloyd Lofthouse. 

Visual stress can also be a problem with around 20% of the world’s population suffering with this…however don’t be tricked into believing that this can cure dyslexia. Visual stress aids can certainly help with visual tracking and give words greater clarity, which can give improved reading levels for some students presenting with visual stress, but it is not a cure. I have posted an article on this condition previously.

Hand writing is often slow in sufferers due to poor word recognition and retention…often students will look up at the board twice to write down one word. It’s also important to strengthen memory and this will improve writing skill along with tuition in this area (dysgraphia).

you can find our resource store at www.dyslexiadublin.ie

We use a variation of software and games in our tuition...all the work we do engages the main senses (multi-sensory) to stimulate and improve our student’s literacy skills and we generally find that they improve by one reading year for every 50 hours of intervention. We feel this is in part to do with the holistic approach we take in our training programme at www.dublin-cetc.com.

Please ask for professional advice as our articles are to guide only.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

‘Dyslexia - (part two) The Why’s and how to spot some of the Signs’ Part Two by  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

Want to read more about what we write, we have a great site on specific learning needs at
https://www.facebook.com/DyspraxiaGlobalDyslexiaDyscalculiaForumForAll?ref=hl   please tell your friends

It is still very much exploratory times on the origins of dyslexia. What we do know is it affects far more boys than girls and seems more common in English speakers and those that speak languages with multiple rules/variations in sounds and spellings, such as German and Irish for example. Languages where the spoken word is close to the written word seem to fair better, such as Italian and Spanish.

There are also suggestions that it can be passed on from family member to family member, genetically. However, it will not descend in a uniform pattern…if one or both parents suffer with dyslexia it could miss most of the next generation. There are many such cases, where one child or more in a family has dyslexia, but some brothers/sisters do not. There are also families, where one child has dyslexia and parents do not, pointing to the fact that dyslexia can also skip a generation.

Dyslexia can also be brought on in later life due to stroke or other forms of brain trauma… overcoming this is a very slow process, unlike dyslexia from birth.

There are many commonly held beliefs, as with all things…Dyslexia has nothing to do with a low IQ or that we read letters in a different way to others…there is little wrong with a dyslexic child’s eyesight in comparison to a non-dyslexic child.

We need to head in the direction of linguistics and why our spelling performance doesn’t always reflect that of our reading ability… are we reading exactly what is in the books or are we adlibbing, replacing words with words that are stored in our brain? We need to take a holistic approach so we can begin to understand the problems faced by the dyslexic child.

Language/speech is an art most have little problem with…we start forming our early words long before we start to read, write or spell and have a fair vocabulary by the time we do, so why do some find it difficult to read or spell? Our early venture into the spoken word is often through pronouncing whole words like mama and dada…we don’t use phonemes (words segmented into letters or blends of letters ch…sh, etc.) at this early stage. This is related to the ability to process in a phonological manner. However, it is widely believed that people with dyslexia find this much harder than those without dyslexia (Dysphonesia – problems with letter sounds and blends).

We certainly know from our own training centre that children retain more words through the photo image side of the brain and also through the phonetic /phoneme channel with far greater accuracy than the words they read or indeed write.

Next time in our final part we will look at ways of improving the lives of those with dyslexia.

NB. this information is from personal research and also partly sourced through the work of others and is purely for improving the understanding of dyslexia…we do not make any suggestions in our posts. Toby Lee Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013
`Dyslexia - (part one )The Why’s and how to spot some of the Signs’  by  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2015

We have the very latest in software and can include distance learning/support...very user friendly available now from our online shop @

We can all relate to our early learning and the struggle at school to grasp the English language. We all share one thing in common…it was a subject that couldn’t be skipped, we had to learn it…we need it…we would struggle to manage without it.
I was talking to someone in their fifties who struggled with the very subject and they remarked “Even now getting on a bus is a worry…I have to ask the driver as I can’t read the sign or understand the numbers that tells me where the bus is heading”.
If all our food came in a plain package with no images so many would struggle to read what the package contained…even cooking instructions would prove difficult, as would instruction manuals for all our gadgets…so much so that what many take for granted is a struggle for others in society.
If we take a look at education…most subjects involve English…even maths!
It’s unfortunate but poor reading and also poor learning skills is becoming ever greater with young people…modern technology that has been designed to make our lives easier is helping to fuel the problem…predictive texts…spell checkers…voice typing software, etc.
With some 10% of the population suffering from Dyslexia, how can we spot that our child might be dyslexic?
Some of the suggestions below could also point to dyscalculia and dysgraphia.
The most obvious sign is letter reversal and common letters are b and d…p and q.
Some children get the number 5 the wrong way round (dyscalculia).
Letters within words can be the correct letter but in the wrong order, leading to spelling errors such as ‘girl’ could become ‘gril’.
Diagraphs/blends tend to prove difficult, the sh…ch...ur…ir , etc.
Word endings are often difficult with the y very often replaced with i or e.
Monosyllabic words are often easier for the dyslexic child to relate to as they can sound the letters out.
Children often confuse right with left.
Poor or slow writing is another possible indicator (children have to constantly look up at the board to replicate the correct spelling) and this can also point to poor short term memory (dysgraphia).
Memory can also show up in a slow reader and also the lack of retention or reference to the passage of reading.
Tracking is another problem (if the teacher pauses note taking or classroom noise distracts the student). Reading rulers can help to keep your sight line/passage of text.
A lack of interest or understanding in subjects that involve reading, writing and spelling, but a flair in creative subjects can be another indicator of dyslexia…dysgraphia…dyscalculia.
Part Two on what causes dyslexia and how we can help will follow next week.
Please note all the information in our posts are taken from personal knowledge and research and may contain the work of others in our field. Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013 I am happy for people to share my work...please mention the producer of this piece

look out for part two on here soon! Like what we have to write...join our new page on facebook @ Dyspraxia/Dyslexia/Dysgraphia/Dyscalculia at

If you like our work feel free to comment...there are many posts on here produced by ourselves.

great resources available and distance learningwww.dublin-cetc.com

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


We are holding a drop in dyslexia and visual stress clinic for those in or near Cork City, come and see our programme or maybe you would just like answers to your questions, we will be in the Radison Spa Cork (Ellis Sweet) on the 2nd of November from 1500 till 1800

Yes, it’s the end of October already and only a few short weeks of summer holidays left, then it’s the start of the last half term before The December break… how are they coping into their new year in a higher class.

If your child struggled last year, then it’ll be even more daunting for them coming up to December as they settle in to the new class or new school structure… even though they may be looking forward to going back to school and seeing their friends, there may well be a worry at the back of their head… will it be much more difficult?... will I find it even harder than I do already?... how will I cope?... will I cope?

Why not give your child a head start as the next half term begins and provide them with some early support… at Dyslexia Dublin (CETC) we offer one-to-one tuition for children (and adults) with Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia and also in the areas of self-esteem, self-confidence, short-term memory and recall and also social skills.  Also, improved comprehension will benefit those coming up to important exams. 

We use a proven multi-sensory teaching approach which, whilst improving the areas above, also teaches the student to touch-type. We have excellent results with those we work with and more information can be found on our tuition website: www.dublin-cetc.com
In addition, we also offer literacy intervention by Distance Learning, with supported tutorials.

We have a very active and informative Facebook page, with regular posts and articles around Specific Learning Needs, such as behaviour, anger management, inclusive classrooms, etc. You can friend us on Dyslexia Dublin and join our 1,100 friends (and growing!) and you’re welcome to visit our new page/forum on Specific Learning Needs –
https://www.facebook.com/DyspraxiaGlobalDyslexiaDyscalculiaForumForAll.  We are also on Twitter, where we have over 600 followers and you can follow our Blog at www.dyslexiadublin.blogspot.ie.

We also have a wide range of educational resources on our Online Store – www.dyslexiadublin.ie, so do have a look at the many products that will benefit your child and support learning.

If you would like to contact us about how we can be of help, please just give us a call on (01) 2748978 or 087 1144311 or email us ondublin.cetc@gmail.com.  And, of course, you can always contact us on Facebook too!

Toby Lee
Dyslexia Dublin (CETC)
Turn the Tables and Let’s Look at Adults with Dyspraxia (dcd) Dyslexia and Sensory Processing    (spd) by Toby Lee Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

Ever had a problem with your left and right, bumped into doors, worried about getting on and off escalators, coming out with random words when talking with friends, took something hot out of the oven without an oven glove…difficulty balancing…standing on one leg to wash your feet or dressing…had trouble tying shoe laces? Sensory Processing Disorder can complicate peoples’ lives in one or more senses.  For example, just touch or just sight or just movement, or in multiple senses…can you imagine having issues just by eating a hamburger or maybe a steak, having problems with gag reflex whilst in company (unable to chew tough meats affects so many), hating someone pushing you… maybe light or heavy contact with another person (holding hands or a hug)… texture of food and even clothing (I hated and still do the feel of cotton wool)…snoring.  Join my club… !

The pressure on carrying out many everyday tasks from showering, getting dressed and the relatively simple art of making a cup of tea… easy I hear you all say… not if you are dypraxic! You, like me, could have gone to college/university and become extremely well qualified and yet… we can still knock a drink over or bump into a person/object. I can remember being in Switzerland at a conference and had to get directions from the hotel to an ATM machine… easy enough you’d think!  First problem, they were not written instructions… second problem, this was a foreign country and the vehicles drive on the right so concentration was far greater… third problem, the cash machine was in Swiss and forth problem was getting back to the hotel… a little adventure all in itself and on top of this, frustration can often make easy tasks very difficult and is one of the very reasons our frustration can quickly turn in to a minor meltdown, which is so often the case with dyspraxics.

We can be exceptionally healthy and to many they wouldn’t have a clue that we have dcd (dyspraxia)… spd (sensory processing).  This would be fairly typical of someone with these conditions and they are part of an umbrella covering several conditions known as specific learning differences (SpLD).  These can be variable but will to some degree affect a person’s ability to process, amongst other things. This will in many cases challenge our levels of concentration and of course our retention and short-term memory (instruction).

Dyspraxia is part of the Dys family and affects around 6-10% of the population in one form or indeed can be co-morbid and share other specific leaning needs, including DSM5 (social communications disorder) and many dyspraxics would also have SPD (sensory processing disorder).
It would be reasonable to say that there are many others around you that share your specific learning need… me for one. There is a constant battle to remember to grab a cloth before I pick things up that are hot… double check the road before crossing… stop myself from pouring boiling water into the sugar bowl instead of the tea pot… how many times to you check your travel documents before you leave the house and like me have even stopped the car to check them again!

Time has been a massive thing for me and I drive many insane when I constantly go on about leaving on time and arriving on time… that build up of frustration and anxiety when we are stuck in traffic or worse still, break down.

Sleeping is a big issue too, due to not managing to process the day’s events or finish off an important task.  If I do manage to get to sleep, but wake up again, all this floods back into my mind and acts as a sleep inhibitor.  It wasn’t until I started to teach others with specific learning needs that the penny totally dropped with me and I realised that I too had dyspraxia.  There was no diagnosis until recent years, in many ways it was a huge relief.  I still had many traits but at last I could show others that I wasn’t stupid and clumsy… I was dyspraxic and after learning how to cope with this by constant practice and a great deal of thought before completing most tasks, I am here and I can smile and I personally derive so much from helping fellow dyspraxics and give them the benefit of all I have learnt in my troubled years.

Even my family final believed in me which meant so much.  It was hard for so many to accept, as dyspraxia is something that can baffle the best, even Psychologists often get fooled by a dyspraxic having a blinder of a day and many teachers fell in to the same trap.  We could spell words that many the same age couldn’t, we could remember stories from years past, we could watch a film and although not be able to name the actors, we could relay the story word by word!

I wanted to pursue an academic career, but due to not performing terribly well at school (teachers said I was next to useless), went into a practical field.  However, it kept at me and at me, until in the end I decided I wanted to teach and knew I would make a reasonably ok one…so I went to University in my early thirties.  It was tough at times but it was never going to beat me… many said it would but how wrong they were.  I had a lot of successful people around me and some within the family… I never thought jealousy was a positive trait so instead I turned their success into my inspiration and I hope those who read this can equate to or derive inspiration to drive themselves towards a happier place.

There were occasions were this was tough and I felt like throwing in the towel, but that would have only served to fuel the doubting Thomas’s.  I remember going to my first teacher training session and the words they came out with… well I spent nearly the entire week going through a dictionary to understand what they meant!  I was told my presentations were boring, so I worked harder and harder and in the end left them speechless!  I remember a few years after this being at a conference in London and the guest speaker came up to me during a break and said that he was dying to meet me and have a chat, I nearly fell over!  He said he had read a few of my articles and would like us to keep in touch!  Well, we all have our moments and we all have an equal part to play in life.

The more people that know about you and your specific learning needs (SPD...Dyspraxia) the better, they can gain a valuable insight into what its like having dyspraxia.  Get in touch with groups, schools, colleges, universities, scouts, youth clubs, specific learning needs support groups and give a light hearted presentation on dyspraxia and you.  The more that find out, the greater empathy will be shown to the young ones coming through life as we have done, which will benefit them and you only have to look at all the famous dyspraxics that have achieved many great things to see we can succeed!

Keep trying things to aid success… use post-it notes and push new information into the right side of your brain by using visual stimulation and remember… praxis makes perfect!

I can honestly say that dyspraxia can be a drain at times but, for the most part, you can learn skills to cope or circumnavigate problems… the positives are you have an amazing memory and are one of life’s caring and very understanding people with high emotions that can help so many..

Go and take on the world and when you get there, tell them all that you have dyspraxia and use it to inspire others.
We always write our articles for guidance and recommend that you seek professional advice if you have any concerns with yourself or your children.
Turn the Tables and Let’s Look at Adults with Dyspraxia (dcd) Dyslexia and Sensory Processing    (spd) by Toby Lee Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

Sunday, 11 August 2013

We have just had a great promo in the Irish Sunday Independent on the up coming big picture movie/ re thinking dyslexia...check it out by clicking the link below


Thursday, 8 August 2013

We have just launched a new and very informative page/forum on facebook to give those with dyspraxia...dyscalculia...dyslexia...dysgraphia and spd an understanding of these conditions and also a voice...please feel free to pop over to the page and comment and share this with your friends...thank you so much...looking forward to chatting with you all.Toby Lee Dyslexia Dublin CETC


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

‘Dyslexia…From the Teacher’s Perspective’ by  Dyslexia Dublin (CETC) © 2013

 I have worked as a teacher/practitioner with children and adults for many years and, in my experience, teachers are well aware of the variations in ability within in the classroom.  That is also the case with many siblings within or passing through the same school… many times I was compared to my brother who preceded me and indeed to my younger brother also.  I remember my elder brother was much better at soccer than I was and not a week went by that this was not mentioned to me by one or more teachers!  So… why are we with dyslexia so different?

I, along with many children and adults with dyslexia, often have to face so many challenges in the classroom.  We are far from alone as the challenges we face, bring fresh challenges for those that teach us.  Many who have taught for years follow older styles of teaching (traditional), which for many have brought great success stories… but there are also many that would love to do more and get greater success rates.

In education, be it junior infants to adult education, we have classes full of dyslexics and those with LDD (literacy deficit disorder).  They are confused and want to learn… how do we bridge that gap and help teacher’s embrace all in their class/group?

There is little or no support from the governments of this world to fund change and supply resources to meet that change.

We are seeing increasing numbers at our intervention centres… why is this?  Parents are digging deep into their pockets to fund additional support in academic areas, with one aim, to give their child the best chance with their education and allow them chase ever elusive jobs when they become adult.  Class sizes are getting bigger and this is acceptable with more mature teens and adults, but the contrary at junior level where there is a greater demand on building strong academic foundations.
It is well known that literacy deficit and dyslexia are the main causes of low exam pass rates for many students.

Understanding Dyslexia and LDD

It is so important to understand what dyslexia and LDD is all about and how it inhibits learning within the classroom and wider academic environment; however, this is not the case in all subject areas.  For those who closely monitor their students, it can be somewhat confusing that they are alert one minute and lethargic the next… this is down to levels of stimulation within a given subject.  Dyslexia varies in severity and will affect some to a greater degree than others (reading, spelling and retention)… they can have good days where they make lots of progress and other days where they appear to go backwards.  This can often be down to confidence levels and the pressure they feel they are under, as waves of new information hits them (learning/lesson content).  It is so important to plan content to incorporate much of what the student already knows and a small percentage is fresh (new words), this will help have a positive effect with their confidence and will also help with retention (memory). The thing that should remain uppermost is these students are confused at times and are far from lazy, some days they would feel like a non-swimmer being thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool and other days well able to float.  You should always gauge the individual before asking them to read out loud in class as this could rock their confidence and in some cases put them back years… you might find this odd as they may have read to their resource teacher and she said his/her reading is fine, however in a larger group lack of confidence and pressure to perform could kick in.  It is so important that we as teachers find new and improved ways to raise their confidence and give them a greater chance of success.

Learning About Your Students

Students with Dyslexia and LDD have very high IQ.

One area that should be worked on is the spoken word… in resource classes a greater emphasis should be put on this as it’s one of the main areas that stimulates the brain in dyslexic students and aids retention.  Unlike those with a strong left side of the brain that can take information in through reading and writing, most dyslexics will be working far harder to retain information than their mainstream peers.  If you observe students (3-5 in an average class will have some form of dyslexia) yawning or looking around or out the window (distracted) it could well be that they have hit a mental roadblock and it is important at this point to introduce a change of tact.  Try introducing a tactile exercise or something very visual, even a short clip of say a film or play in your English lesson… graphs or maybe weighing something in a maths lesson… this will release them from that mental block and also raise their confidence levels.

An understanding of specific learning needs is paramount and needs to be shared between parent/child and teachers; it is easier to keep this low key from a teacher’s perspective if you are aware of a child’s shortcomings.  This should be voiced from teacher to parent or parent to teacher and never teacher to student unless you have the parents’ permission.  It is important that a teacher raises their concerns to the principal of the school and then the parent and, if the parent has a diagnosis or concerns, that these are listened to and if an IEP is in place, it is adhered to.

Many students will throw teachers in a certain subject or subjects and this is mainly in the core subjects such as English, Maths, etc. and thrive in non-core (practical subjects) like home economics or wood work, where there is a greater emphasis on learning through doing.

Students with Dyslexia have good long term memories and have the ability to spell multi-syllabic words and yet can trip over mono-syllabic words such as son…bun.  This is another area that confuses many and the reason for this is down to the student storing words through images such as mother, father, birthday, anniversary… they see these words constantly on cards for family members.
Quote from Liz Ball, teacher at the Foote school and a fellow dyslexic, “Dyslexics are lifelong learners. We often share an insatiable curiosity and commitment to figuring out the world around us that is unique in its intensity.  We are not only compassionate about learning—we are driven to analyse and critique the world around us—to turn arguments inside out, then right-side back again.  This, after all, is what dyslexics do well. We see the world from a unique perspective, and we are compelled to share our perspective with others. This is why we make great teachers”.

Dyslexic students require more fact content rather than less… and they are great with reciting statistics (letter and verse).

Students with dyslexia should be encouraged to take up subjects that use a lot of visual stimulation such as art and vocal such as drama… they will often astound you by remembering not just their lines in a play, but those of many others in the cast also.

 If they have no choice but to learn a second language, encourage them to choose Italian as this is one of the easier languages to learn for a dyslexic student, due to fewer word sounds and is also very expressive.

 The use of a multi-sensory approach is a positive mode of learning for those with Dyslexia.
 Remember dyslexia is for life… we never see the back of it but we can, with the right help, move around with it and if you look no further that people like Richard Branson… Stephen Spielberg… Henry Winkler… Jamie Oliver… Mollie King and many others, you will know this will not hold us back… at least not for long.

 “We always remember great experiences in our lives and school can be one of them, along with the very teachers that made school so interesting”, Toby Lee, Dyslexia Dublin (CETC)

 Let’s all remember you, the teachers that inspire a generation! 

The information above is for guidance purposes only and we always recommend that you seek professional advice. Toby Lee Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

We are showing a Hollywood Film/Documentary, ‘The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia’ a very moving and inspiring story of students with dyslexia who have struggled within education. Dates confirmed so far:  IMC Cinema, Dun Laoghaire on Sunday, 1st September at 3.30pm and Glór, Ennis on Wednesday 9th October at 7.30pm.  Tickets can be purchased from www.dyslexiadublin.ie.