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