Friday, 30 December 2016

“Should we truly forget those who have spurned us for another’s ear or think and consider them in this the coming year? Maybe their friendship has chilled like the cold nights of winter and shunned as many plus me.Shall we reflect just this once and show the hand of friendship and toast to all acquaintance past and present, for the sake of times gone by?” (inspired by Robbie Burns and Auld Lang Syne, great poet). Happy New Year my friends! Toby Lee Dyslexia Dublin 2016 ©

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Are you left or right side dominant? By Dyslexia Dublin 2016 ©



I wonder how many have stopped to think where our dominant side is. We carry out actions involving our dominant side subconsciously.
We know that this has little or nothing to do with left and right brained learners/thinkers.
Our brains are separate, in two parts, within the skull, the two hemispheres are connected (corpus callosum) by pathways.
Many use one-half of the brain far more than the other, and certainly when carrying out certain tasks, Language skills are left brain techniques.
Many believe that side dominance causes us to learn differently, many years ago I was told that left-handed be people were less likely to have strokes. I am afraid to say there is little to back up either of these theories.
This dominance is okay providing we use that side for most activities.
There are activities that utilise both sides, like tying shoes or buttoning shirts. These require a huge degree of dexterity.
The two activities mentioned are extremely difficult for children with specific learning needs like dyspraxia
The half that is used is sometimes tied to which hand they prefer to use. If someone likes to use their right hand when doing an activity, like drawing or throwing a ball.
Checking left, and right dominance in those with learning needs especially those with dyspraxia is crucial.
Many children with planning and co-ordination problems can end up using the wrong hand or leg, this can lead to problems as the muscle tone is far greater on our dominant side.
You can see the grip is very crab-like and awkward.
If this is the case the writing will be of poor quality and they will complain of tired hands or hand cramps.
Have you noticed how high jumpers, long jumpers, and hurdlers take off, starting off and the stride pattern is so important and allows for them to arrive on the right side?
Measuring muscle diameter can point to this being true.

How can we check for handedness:
We can check the leg we use to step off into our stride pattern.
What is the leading leg while climbing the stairs?
You can try by using your trailing leg and seeing how strange it feels.
The arm we grasp things with or carry a bag.
Where do we carry our bags?
You can improve co-ordination skill sets by making sure you or your child are using the correct side, left or right.
You may have noticed from an early stage that your child struggled with colouring, etc. and this can also be an indicator that is well following up.
Even riding a bike can be problematic if the child is starting off with their weaker leg.
I would like to mention that for any child with a dominance problem or balance, planning or co-ordination issues would benefit from increasing activities with both sides.
Exercises that can promote balance:
Brushing your teeth.
Brushing hair.
Stepping off on your non-dominant side.
Activities that get you or your child to cross over their centre line.
We have also written a piece on left-right brain dominance that can be found on this blog site.

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All our articles are for information only and guidance… professional advice should always be sought.  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2016

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Dyslexia. One Way Forward.by Dyslexia Dublin © 2016

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! I have heard so many parents comment on how great their children are at reading, only to be disappointed when they see test results and feedback from teachers.
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.

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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Part Three of ‘Dyslexia - The Why’s and how to spot some of the Signs’  by  Dyslexia Dublin  © 2016


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 2nd anguage 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, and 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( approx) a quarter of a million million. France has the second largest amount of words" - Lloyd Lofthouse. 

Around 80,000 words in the English dictionary are latin based or taken directly from the French language.

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.