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.

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Toby Lee, Dublin CETC © 2016
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