Friday, 11 December 2015

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 © 2015



Just received your child's IEP or would like to know more

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 article on Accommodation for further details).
This will include provision of in class support (SNA) and one to one (resource teacher), requiring extra resource hours.
There are 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 submersed 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 within 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 text book and also an audio or DVD to watch, such as Michael Morpurgo’s ‘War Horse’, for example.
Reduced homework 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 having 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  © 2015

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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Part Three of ‘Dyslexia - The Why’s and how to spot some of the Signs’  by  Dyslexia Dublin  © 2015


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. We are looking at a language that has a Germanic and Latin platform on to which the English was framed...known to be one if not the hardest languages to master.

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).

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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.

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

Saturday, 31 October 2015

‘Dyslexia - (part two) The Why’s and how to spot some of the Signs’  by  Dyslexia Dublin © 2015

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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 and apply the preferred teaching/learning style, if we truly want to move this forward!

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, research of our team 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.  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2014

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Is It OCD (Dyspraxia, Dyslexia) by Toby Lee Dyslexia Dublin © 2015

Many Dyslexics have a compulsion with time, efficiency and structure, are they all suffering OCD.
Probably not, short term memory deficiency often found in dyslexia and dyspraxia cause huge problems with short term memory.
Our processing needs to be repetitively poked with instruction if we are to get things right, such as shopping or information given off the cuff.
How do we give off the same traits as someone with OCD!
What is OCD!
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a neurological disorder and is often plagued by self-doubt and intrusive thought process.
This can lead to anxiety and in worse case depression.
The repetition can be brought about by self-doubt and lack of awareness.
The list of noticeable compulsions is lengthy:
Excessive hand washing and general hygiene (fear of contamination)
Obsessive hoarding
Constantly preoccupied
The need for symmetry (even numbers)
Nervous behaviour
Obsessively enquiring about going to and coming from places
Many with dyspraxia and dyslexia can be incorrectly labelled OCD
We each give off certain OCD traits due to the need to correct a short term memory deficiency (coping strategy).
If we don’t have structure and routine we forget so many things such as:
School Books, clothing, car keys, phones, people's names, etc
We tend by nature to be easily distracted, and this can affect us in regards to skipping our routine.
We need to make lists for various things.
Children often correct work that is okay, they always wear out their rubber long before a pen!
Dyslexics and dyspraxics are not time aware and will constantly ask the time (sand timers can help).
If someone gives an idea and its logical, it sticks.
We also very much are monkey see monkey do, we can pick up repetitive habits this way too.
People with processing issues such as those with dyslexia and dyspraxia can be brought out of any of the above, time and practice is required.
It’s also important for parents to avoid the chance of many of the above happening and this once aware be picked up before they become habit forming.

why not pop over to our new page and read more on the 3 Dy's @ https://www.facebook.com/DyspraxiaGlobalDyslexiaDyscalculiaForumForAll
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  www.dyslexiadublin.blogspot.ie.
Toby Lee, Dublin CETC © 2015
Visit us at our website  www.dublin-cetc.com

Friday, 2 October 2015

How Does Dyspraxia And Dyslexia Affect Us In Relationships? by Dyslexia Dublin © 2015

A strong, healthy relationship can be one of the best and most important supports you will ever experience in your life.  A good, strong relationship improves all aspects of your life, it helps strengthen and maintain a healthy existence, it settles and improves your mind and it can also help you maintain and develop connections with others.  However, if the relationship isn't working, it can also be a tremendous drain and strain.  Relationships are for the long haul and you should reap what you sow.
As has been mentioned in previous articles, we are made up of left, right and those with left and right brains… this is important to understand as communication between like-minded people is, for the most part simple, straightforward and often without problem.  However, communications between a left brain dominant and a right brained dominant can have its fair share of moments… equal left/ right brained should find communicating with others less problematic.
Dyspraxia and dyslexia can affect us in many of our relationship’s, families… friends, school peers and also loving relationships.  One of the key elements that can cause mood swings and distancing is so often the fear of being let down or letting others down, through poor judgement or negative criticism (often rings bells from the past), doing or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time (this is mainly down to lack of confidence).  We can also miss the point due to our slow processing speed, which leads to incorrectly picking up the wrong signals and we can also appear shy.  I had a huge problem with dancing due to co-ordination… this was a real inhibitor, as those that could dance always got the girls.  We also tend to be very trusting; we don’t always see the worst in others until it’s too far down the road and, coupled to this, we tend to fall in love very quickly.
I think this is down to the draw of being loved, attention and the initial lack of criticism; the wheels can very quickly fall of when the relationship settles down and our partners tire of our ways and then start to pull us up with regularity due the many things we struggle to do correctly.  This is hard and often brings us back to all the criticism we have had to face from so many throughout our lives.
It’s so important to get through conflict.  Some couples talk things out quietly, while others may raise their voices and passionately disagree.  The key in a strong relationship, though, is not to be fearful of conflict.  You need to be safe to express things that bother you without fear of retaliation, and be able to resolve conflict without humiliation, degradation or insisting on being right and this can be difficult with those of us who have dyspraxia.  We by nature have excellent memories, we don’t tend to let things bother us in the early stages and we store things, often quoting letter and verse at the person we are upset or arguing with.
Honest, direct communication is the mainstay of any relationship.  When both people feel comfortable expressing their needs, fears and desires, trust and close bonds are maintained and indeed strengthened.  Non-verbal cues, ie. body language like eye contact, leaning forward or away, or touching someone’s arm, are critical to communication and again this is an area that doesn't come as natural to a dyspraxic as it does to those who don’t suffer from the syndrome.
Touch has long been accepted as a fundamental part of human existence; however this can be a problem for those of us that have tactile processing issues.  Studies on infants have shown the importance of regular, loving touch and holding has a long lasting benefit to early brain development. These benefits do not end in childhood. Life without physical contact with others is a lonely life indeed.

This article seems to have an adult flavour to it, however I would like to point out that some of these points would be relevant to our children too.
Our articles offer guidance and we always recommend that those reading them should always seek professional advice on any thing that might concern them.


why not pop over to our new page and read more on the 3 Dy's @ https://www.facebook.com/DyspraxiaGlobalDyslexiaDyscalculiaForumForAll
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  www.dyslexiadublin.blogspot.ie.
Toby Lee, Dublin CETC © 2015
Visit us at our website  www.dublin-cetc.com

Friday, 14 August 2015

`Dyslexia - (part one )The Why’s and how to spot some of the Signs’  by  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2015





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 © 2015 I am happy for people to share my work...please mention the producer of this piece

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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Dyslexia. "Hidden secrets to improved spelling"!by Dyslexia Dublin © 2016

Are dyslexics so different, not at all? If anything those with dyslexia tend to be far more advanced in lateral and creative thinking.
Reading, writing and the text in mathematics are our bogies.
It’s a kinda blend thing, "those silent letters and vowels that say one thing and mean another".
It's no wonder when we look at how complexed language is. English is a mix, the  coming together of two languages,an then tweaked to build waht we know as the English language.
Maybe we should look at the German, French, and English language.
So many words are derivative from those languages mentioned earlier!
Take voyage, the same in both French and English, there are so many more; Café, coffee, passage, etc.
German derivatives such as haus = house Hammer = hammer,minute = minute, motor = motor, auto = auto (automobile).
It is so important to be able to use graphemes and phonemes when constructing new words.
We also need to encourage learning through visual imagery, along with any word patterns.
We can see through the research that there are many facets in early word recognition and learning. We also see idiosyncrasies from the gentle introduction of the phonetic alphabet. Three and four-year-olds are introduced to addition, deletion and substitution of phonemes, this helps them to build new whole words with a similar structure and elements of shared sound. We fail to pick this up in the main until first class (age 6-7).
This later phase is the point where most with literacy deficit/dyslexia would fall away. This is the point when the intervention (support) needs to be deployed; this will help students keep up with their literate peers.

I so often hear of support programs concentrating on reading and comprehension, and not working on spellings, We need to run spelling alongside sighting of new words. It is well known that those with literacy deficit have a very quick mind and they can figure where a story is going. They replace the words they can't pronounce with another word. This is often missed by those listening to the story.
I believe that spelling is an integral part of word formation. There are so many silent vowels and consonants (thumb, Gnome, etc.) that leaving out letters due to local or national dialect makes it so much harder for the native or non-native speakers to learn.
If you speak to parents and teachers of other languages, you will find more problems where English is a second language. This can be said certainly with those who use Latin-based languages as their first language. The complexity of English is not mirrored to the same extent as other languages, most have fewer blended letters. Most languages share the same problem with vowels influencing other vowels.
Many schools teach through sighting words. We need to look at spelling with an holistic approach.

We encourage all of our students to sound out the words, this allows us to pick up incorrect letter sounds. They can also increase retention if they sound out words, we hear all of what we say!
We should also forget teaching rules that only partially apply like two letters go out walking, and one does the talking( works with clean, not with friend, etc.) or, i.e., before e except after c (receipt-c, leisure-no c). Children and adults with dyslexia only get confused with this as they apply it in the main! We can do far more research, and we will all find that the rules work for around 50-60%. Most dyslexics and indeed those with dyspraxia (slow processing speed) take things literally. If the rule can be applied 100% then by all means, use it.

Homophones tend to be very confusing for dyslexics; these should be gently introduced as confidence grows.
Teaching children to read correctly is so important; try shared reading, sit alongside. These techniques will allow you to pick up early problems. Reading aloud helps with the correct use of grammar and punctuation. When you work with your children get them to pause for short and long breaths, this stops them rushing sentences and again helps retention.
Encourage them to record their voices, this again will improve retention and test scores.

why not pop over to our new page and read more on the 3 Dy's @ https://www.facebook.com/DyspraxiaGlobalDyslexiaDyscalculiaForumForAll
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  www.dyslexiadublin.blogspot.ie.
Toby Lee, Dublin CETC © 2016
Visit us at our website  www.dublin-cetc.com


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Dyslexia. One Way Forward.by Dyslexia Dublin © 2015

Children with dyslexia (dysgraphia,dyscalculia, dyspraxia)so often struggle with academia, full stop.
They however are very inquisitive; they also have very good long term memories. On the flip side, their short-term memories are very weak!
So what do we do! We focus on their long-term memory as a principle learning tool.
Many children incorrectly overcome the reading in some cases.
Why incorrectly? They skip or replace words depending on how the storyline is going.
Is this a problem! Yes. If we allow children to replace or skip words while reading, they will tend to skip words when they are reading important documents like exam papers or written instructions. Reading maps requires a degree of orientation, this is an area dyslexics are okay with, they have almost an instinctive knack of knowing where North is.
We need to look at the cause and produce an effect.
Many parents accidently overlook the need for work with reading as their children pick up books and read. It’s only when you stand behind or sit beside your child will you see how many words they skip.
Shared reading can also highlight problems!
Most of us have seen the talent in our children and dare I say it in ourselves; we are very practical people.
If people use a myriad of ways, we can learn most things and to a very high standard.
I wonder why few have picked this up during their time tutoring us.
The Germans have a very good second level model, they recognise the students strengths be it academia or creative.
The children are guided into specific centres that specialise in these areas of the curriculum; they are still given tuition in the secondary area.
They as far as I am aware have not linked this to a pattern of brain/learning types.
As mentioned earlier we need to accommodate the child in the style that best suits them.
We specialise in breaking problems down into manageable chunks and then repeat that same problem from several angles.
This style of learning promotes both learning and retention. We can all remember watching a program or reading a book, only to forget the whole thing. On the other hand we can remember the opposite, yes we glean every minute detail, why! We were not stimulated in the first instance and stimulated in the later.
You have probably seen your child stuck on homework and yet able to construct the most amazing things at home; why…stimulation!
Try and bring to his teacher/tutors attention the areas they have excelled in; pennies might drop.

why not pop over to our new page and read more on the 3 Dy's @ https://www.facebook.com/DyspraxiaGlobalDyslexiaDyscalculiaForumForAll
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  www.dyslexiadublin.blogspot.ie.
Toby Lee, Dublin CETC © 2015
Visit us at our website  www.dublin-cetc.com

Thursday, 23 July 2015

‘Dyslexia… Is It On The increase?’ by  Dublin CETC © 2015
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.
There is a bottom line figure of 8-10% 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 -https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steps-for-dyslexiadysgraphiadyscalculia-improving-academic-study/509977782389910?ref=hl
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 @ https://www.facebook.com/DyspraxiaGlobalDyslexiaDyscalculiaForumForAll
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  www.dyslexiadublin.blogspot.ie.
Toby Lee, Dublin CETC © 2015
Visit us at our website  www.dublin-cetc.com

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Academic year (new Junior Cert) 2015/16 by Dyslexia Dublin  © 2015

Well, we move into another uncertain phase with changes to the curriculum.
We are looking at changes within subject’s area in particular English.

And also in the way we carry out assessments.
I have spoken at length to many politicians in regards to resourcing, and changes to the exam structure, in the case of Ireland. This will not benefit those with  learning needs, Why.

If children are lucky enough to be part of the ever dwindling resource pot, and tighter measures ahead, many will find big changes around the continual assessment process.
We have support in the exam room. However, it is unlikely that resources will stretch, or be adequately applied during the continual assessment phase.
Readers and scribes need to be involved from this September 2015 for it to work.
Many want to hear our story, but how many listen, and better still act.
We also need to set in stone any resources the children get in the primary level right through to finishing seniors. We could go as far as setting a contract between parents and schools/state.
New features of this specification include learning outcomes across three strands, oral language, reading and writing.
There will also be a greater emphasis on oral communication, which is hoped will promote greater engagement and thinking in the classroom. How will this affect those with dyslexia that have a real fear of reading out in class (frightening)? There will also be a new assessment in oral language as well as of students’ collections of written school work.
It is hoped that teachers, students and even parents will be able to check previous samples of work by logging into a website this will include a range of texts that students in the new junior cycle English have created and should see the learning (sceptical in part) outcomes in action.
The UK seems to want their students to experience home-grown writers instead of a range of work from other cultures, I find this very narrow as do many top writers.
There is cross fertilisation in the writing world, and many have shaped their selves on British writers as many artists have on French artists.
John Steinbeck loved the work of Robert Burns and the Mice, and Men was coined after reading some of Burn’s work.
Why try to fix a wheel that has worked and with a little tweaking could continue to work.
New Assessment For The English Junior Cert (Ireland only)
The students assessment in English will include a mixture of examinations and classroom/field/project-based assessments. There will still be an examination in English on the same lines as the 2015 Junior Cert commissioned  by the State Examinations Commission (June 2018) this is shortened to take account of the award for the continual assessment. It’s thought that it will be under two hours. They will also engage with a variety of Classroom Based Assessments in Second and Third year. Students will, for example, be offered the opportunity to compile a collection of their texts in a variety of genres and choose a number of pieces to present for assessment.
They are also looking at some schools offering short courses, these could include coding and other languages (Chinese, etc.).
Parents are supposed to be kept better informed throughout the process, it's hard to see how this will be resourced, we already have demands, classes continue to grow, thirty before long.
There is a new certificate for those that qualify (level two). This will be aligned to the qualification framework and will be below the level three.
I worry about this, many parents are unaware that their children on foundation programs will only receive a certificate and those on leaving cert applied will have to take a plc course. This may suit some, but others feel that their child is heading for a set of final exams that will give them the option of going straight to college/university.
The level two is aimed at those that are high and low functioning. The program is going to focus mainly on key skill sets, covering social and pre-vocational areas.
We are told that students are small in number and account for two or three in an average sized school.
This program have been developed, piloted, and already working with a group of students in some schools.
The new structure will be rolled out this next academic year and the first exam scheduled to take place in the 2017/18 exam year.

My only hope is that sense is realised, and this is not rolled out to the final exams.

Contact us for all levels of support from primary to third level, including junior and leaving cert.

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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.   Dyslexia Dublin  © 2015

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

How Can We Help Our Children To Read By  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2015

There is a huge imbalance in those that read, those that struggle, those that don’t and those that wished they could, why.
Is it possible to stimulate reading in those who don’t or can’t read?
In my early years, I was often left to read alone. Like many I  then had to face the daunting challenge of being asked to read out aloud in the classroom and yes I can hear you all say been there, done that, wearing the tee-shirt.
You can liken this frightening experience to a visit to the dentist, school nurse or getting your haircut.
Leading to a negative effect on my wish to read and the belief in my ability to read.
We can have raised anxiety leading to panic attacks. This can be caused by a sudden onset of stimulation and over stimulation.
We can equate this to many functions within our lives.
So how do we go about changing this, we want everyone to have the chance to feel good about reading and the many benefits it brings in enriching our lives.
We know from modern research conducted into literacy problems at the Yale Research Centre By Bennit and Sally Shawitz
Recent research carried out by Dr John hutton and his team from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre.
They conducted tests on the benefits of early reading and improvement in cognitive development
This was found to be positive results by the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS)   in many areas including
reading skill development, verbal development, and image development, giving children a far greater cognitive advantage earlier in life.
The research by John Hutton breaks new ground and shows that reading from around three+ gives the child a greater chance of developing and improving vital skill sets that will benefit them at all points in future life. Improvements in the area of the brain that governs semantic (language and logic) reasoning.
Shared reading can be shown to build the imagination and get beyond the words in the book and stimulating that desire to read more.
By reading alongside our children, we can remove the fear of reading to others that may come in later life.
We can see when our children have a problem with reading or comprehending the words they are reading.
If we read age appropriate books, it can also help those parents that struggle with reading and scared by the very same process. This can also help with those children that have speech problems.
Shared reading keeps the child engaged and reading out aloud also improves retention skills as you are introducing both speech and hearing into the process.
Breathing patterns can also be honed while reading, and this improves the correct use of punctuation in story writing.
I know many parents have busy schedules and little time, but this is so important when developing early reading skills.
There are also huge benefits to the bonding process between parent and child.
This could so often apply to those who are learning another language besides their native tongue.
The survey of Dr John Hutton had positive outcomes and if we follow research such as this reading will become a trend and all of us will be the long term beneficiaries.
We all want nothing more than to encourage our children to read, this will strengthen their both their life skills and academic ability, and that can only end up benefiting us all..

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.   Dyslexia Dublin  © 2015

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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 © 2015




Just received your child's IEP or would like to know more

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 article on Accommodation for further details).
This will include provision of in class support (SNA) and one to one (resource teacher), requiring extra resource hours.
There are 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 submersed 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 within 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 text book and also an audio or DVD to watch, such as Michael Morpurgo’s ‘War Horse’, for example.
Reduced homework 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 having 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  © 2015

Resources can be seen at our online shop and more information is available at www.dyslexis-dublin.com

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Relating Learning To Known (prior achievement) & Given Situations by by  Dyslexia Dublin  © 2016

We often try to learn in the style of others (not our learning style). Meaning we focus on the unknown rather than the known areas within in a subject.
I have written extensively on brain types as many regular visitors to my blog will testify.
Well, here we go again, most like me who are dyslexic, dyscalculic, dysgraphic or dyspraxia will know that we learn better when we relate the subject required to a real time event.
We have an excellent long-term memory and poor short term, most events/happenings are stored in our long-term memory.
Would it not therefore make sense to utilise this strength!
Most like me tend to do better as a returning learner than we do during our initial education, why.
We have had more events, more happenings, and yes we have increased our long-term memory bank, this allows us to relate our learning to our real life events.
We are far from suggesting that all students studying for the first time should skip education or press pause till they reach mid to late twenties.

But it does mean that teachers/educators and parents should look at this and try to devise methods that allow the student to work in a kinaesthetic way. Relating things such as mathematics, and language, the very way we would in technology classes. When I want to see an improvement in my language skill, I take a trip abroad. Eat with the locals, and try to live as they do.
When I am shopping, I use that language in my head to prompt purchases. I am living the lesson and guess what it works.

I so often heard my teachers mention that I was lazy and stupid, yet I could take anything apart and fix it without manuals.
Much to the amazement of others.
Can you teach a football player, chef, mechanic; to play football, cook, or repair cars from a classroom, the answer is a simple no.
Education and its direction for teaching are much more simplistic than the chicken or the egg.
If industry came before education, why wasn't education based on industry!
Experiential learning (learn by doing/experience) is just that, we glean much from what we do in practical, hands-on ways,  opposed to the academic study that is taught in a linear way.  Certainly core subjects;  described in simple terms as the process of acquiring information through the study of a given subject (maths, English) without the necessity for direct hands on experience. We know that both methods aim at instilling knowledge with the students as individuals; however one size doesn’t fit all.
Those that have a strong left hemisphere are more likely to gain from linear structured tuition and the right hemisphere from more creative, practical demonstrations.

David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Model (ELM)



Jacobson and Ruddy, working on developing Kolb's four-stage Experiential Learning Model and Pfeiffer and Jones's with their five stage Experiential Learning Cycle. Taking these theoretical frameworks and created a simple, practical questioning model for educators to use in promoting real life and critical reflection within experiential learning and development.
•    Did you notice...?
•    Why did that happen?
•    Does that happen in life?
•    Why does that happen?
•    How can you use that?
These questions are put forward by the educator after a given experience, and gradually lead the group towards a critical evaluation. Using reflection on the given experience, and an understanding of how they can apply the learning to their life (lateral thinking expanded).
I recently watched far from a madding crowd the other day and being a visual factual learner I took more from the production.
Thomas Hardy worked the plot and created the various twists and turns…indeed, I am more likely to read a book if it’s an autobiography than I would fiction.
We, often quoted as being three-dimensional learners and we thrive on adding value to our life through learning and teaching us through a linear program doesn’t press the right buttons.

Turn your child's homework into a practical experience and yes that can be done in all subjects including Maths.
Cut up boxes to calculate area, or fill a measuring jug. Use foot tapping for tables, add and subtract.
Get them to help you cook and turn that into maths.
Cutting a slab of butter is division and subtraction.
Oven temperature plays a part and timings (lapsed time).
best of all it's non-confrontational

If you can do it and make it stick then so should teachers/educators.

Questions on Far From The Madding Crowd welcomed.4

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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.   Dyslexia Dublin  © 2016

Sunday, 17 May 2015

‘Exam season…Shared Anxiety between Parent and Child/Adult’ by  Dyslexia Dublin  © 2015



End of spring and start of summer signals those dreaded words, ‘Exam time’… most students who are  taking exams see far less of the sounds of summer as they are still seeing less day light hours than the students who don’t have exams to take.  You might be tempted to leave your study and drift outside to catch the rays, but think again… you get very few chances to get a good grade. The secret is to try and get stuck in so you can have some time to relax, instead of playing catch-up, by putting it off till tomorrow and all of a sudden tomorrow arrives the day before the exam!  It will soon be past and you will have a long vacation ahead.
How can we structure our study and avoid meltdowns?
1.       You must be relaxed and in a positive frame of mind to make the best of your revision/study.

2.       Make sure you look after your body by eating a good balanced diet (plenty of oily fish is good for the brain).

3.       Plenty of sleep is so important for retention… a tired brain is a less active brain!

4.       Structure your study into subject areas and concentrate more on your weaker subjects.

5.       Make sure you set the tempo of your study programme… the right room temperature, the right     light (preferably natural light) and the correct noise level.

6.       Stay hydrated (two litres of water per day) as this can cause lack of concentration.

7.       Make sure your study is relevant, have access to past papers as well as well managed course notes (indexed) and colour code your study notes.

8.       Make sure you are well aware of your exam timetable, the marking scheme will give you an idea of the amount of points to be awarded  per question, and this will give you an idea of how much to write, relative to the points awarded.

9.       Confidence is an attribute and over confidence can be obstructive to sound revision.

10.   Comprehension is key in most exams… the person marking your paper could be the other side of the country so bear that in mind and make it clear what is being said…make sure you have covered all points asked in the question.

11.   On exam day, make sure you are relaxed and read through the paper before you begin to answer any questions… you will be more relaxed and positive and will make far fewer mistakes.  Divide the questions by points value and time so you don’t spend too long on a given question.

12.   Don’t revise on the day of your exam unless this works for you… cramming can cause confusion in many.
we stock resources at www.dyslexiadublin.ie and will ship to any place

13.   Don’t dwell on a poor result, look forward to the next one… invariably you will have done better than you think.
Try to read books on subjects that interest you, record your work, watch documentaries/films on subject areas... You Tube is good for science/biology, history, literacy and geography.  I read, then rough write my prep and then type it onto the laptop and by then it usually goes in.
Stay close to your family and open up with your thoughts…so many of us have been there and they really do mean well…they will embrace and support you good or bad.

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.   Dyslexia Dublin  © 2015