Saturday, 29 April 2017

‘When Is The Right Time To Tell Your Child They Have A Specific Learning Need?’ by  Dyslexia Dublin © 2017
Is there ever going to be a right time?  Well, you will always blame yourself for telling your child or indeed not as the case may be.  I can say from my own experience I would have loved to have known that I had a learning need, but back in the fifties and sixties, there was no such diagnosis.  With dyspraxia, however, the first mention in the medical journals was as far back as 1962, although there was little heed paid to this and many other learning needs.  I spent my early life being very confused and angry at my lack of academic and sporting ability, I was constantly measured against my more able siblings and called many horrible things, including a word I despise to this day (‘spa’ or ‘spastic’).  I am far happier now that I had a reason for the problems I continually came across in the early years and it was out of my control and was deemed to be the way I would go on through life from birth.
Genetics sets the seed with most specific learning needs and this is the case for so many others… I am not alone!
You may have had a diagnosis, or be in the very early stages of wondering why your child is behaving or learning differently to others and you may be starting to suspect something is not quite right.  They may well be slow at hitting milestones and you may have also spotted the early signs of a specific learning difficulty.  I will say at this point, having dyspraxia myself and also for children with dyspraxia, I wouldn’t despair, as we go on to achieve great things and, if shown the right way, excel both physically and academically… we are great social animals too!
 What about those that are just late starters?  Many children find a variation in both physical and visual stimuli.  Some like to watch you, or programmes, also some watch and listen to conversations… these are usually the early readers.  Some like to construct and by this I mean those who show a preference to play with toys and build things… these are for the most part late/later readers.  As mentioned, it’s what pushes our buttons that drive us from the start.
You can never be too early to encourage both forms of stimuli and your engagement in this process will lead to your child joining in.
It is so important to work with the school or college on this, the more eyes the better.  You need to keep a very close eye on their academic work… teachers are being forced to teach ever larger class sizes than ever before and don’t always get the chance to check every piece of homework and quite often the students will cross mark each other’s work… this can result in them falling behind.  Don’t forget the square of over teaching - those with a learning need may require a more graphical description of what has to be learnt compared to a child who has no SPLD… quite often 2-3 or 4 times longer.
Make sure you keep your concerns written down with times and dates… this comes in really handy to monitor progress, take to open days, parents evenings and IEP meetings (individual education plan). Never discard this information as you can use it when your child steps up in that, or a new, school… not all teachers inform each other of someone leaving their class to move to another, even though you might take this for granted.
Always check school reports and note discrepancies from teacher to teacher and subject to subject… the problem more often than not is in the core and language subjects.  Be positive, proactive and constructive with your child’s school/teacher, aggression often meets aggression… suggestions and inducing suggestions from others tends to yield positive results.
If you have no diagnosis, ask the school or college as they have funds for this, although I will say they are extremely limited and have to be used wisely.
Try and benchmark progress and always leave a meeting with a date for the next review, this leaves nothing to chance which is important because, as we all know, the years flow quickly by.
Keep your child informed, they often resent going to resource when they are older, especially boys.  Try and keep their confidence high by talking about their great efforts in other areas.
Kinesthetic learning is so often the way forward and it’s important to work at the point where the wheels fell off rather that at the coal face.  By the time the school and maybe your concerns are heard, the child will be at least eighteen months behind… so imagine putting a second class student into fourth class, how would they feel?  That is the way your child feels every day.
Look for tell-tale signs like stammer/stutters, keeping themselves isolated during school and maybe they have no interest in inviting friends over, they avoid the competitive aspects of school (sports, etc.).  Maybe they have moved up a year and the new teacher gets them to read aloud to the class and this is bothering them, the dreaded Friday spelling test or other tests like the STEN, SATS or Drumcondra… maybe you can reflect after reading this and remember episodes of reluctance or faking a day off and see a common link.
Above all, support from all moves this forward and if you haven’t told your child about your worries, there is a good chance school friends or even a teacher might have… not always directly, but your child will read between the lines.
If you have a diagnosis and a statement you are entitled to an IEP, ask your SENCO/SNA or the principal and if you haven’t had one, drive it forward… I have written articles on the IEP which you can read either on Facebook or on my blog (www.dyslexiadublin.blogspot.ie).
Some may try to convince you that you should be under a recognised group/umbrella group, either independent or recognised by the government, to obtain resource… this is not the case, all you need is a statement.  Whilst some will be happy to kick the problem down the road, many will go the extra mile… I know several schools that support struggling learners through extra resource and they don’t have a statement.
When you are doing homework, start as soon as they are home from school and make sure they drink plenty of water, hydration is a key to focus and, whilst on the subject, check that they can drink fresh water whilst in class too.  Front load all study and taper down towards the end of the session, leave plenty of time to relax and help the processing… remember the rule of four!
 It’s worth focussing on the positive sides of your child in or out of school… this alone will move them forward and they will find their plateau.  You as a parent will get your reward from seeing that happy child you always knew you had!  They are not lazy, clumsy or stupid… we just process in a very different way and we all get there in the end!  We just need to reinforce this constantly as low self-esteem and confidence is a peril we would rather avoid.
Have a read of another article of mine related to this subject –
The Why’s and How’s of the IEP:
 NB. This information is from our personal experience and research of our extensive team and also partly sourced through the work of others. It is purely for improving the understanding of dyslexia and other specific learning needs and to offer help and advice only. Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2017
Contact us at www.dublin-cetc.com or through twitter dyslexiadublin or facebook dyslexia dublin

Saturday, 22 April 2017

‘Random and Wrong Words Come Out’ by Dyslexia Dublin © 2017


When penning this post, I couldn’t help thinking about the advert for the Random sweets… ’turn right at the trumpet and left at the jelly bean’… well it’s not quite as bad as all that!
Many actors did this deliberately and were gifted in this area including the late Ronnie Barker (Open All Hours) however, this apart, it’s quite an unnerving and completely non-deliberate act, that haunts many of us from time to time. 
I often say during my presentations on dyspraxia and dyslexia, that if I drag or slur my speech it’s not due to me suffering from the “afluence of incohol!” … it gets a laugh and settles me.
 The causes for random or wrong words (malapropisms) to come out are many.  Why do they come our wrong?... it can be deemed a short-term problem when under pressure, for example talking to or reading to an audience, or it can be more medium or long-term and can be as a result of slow or slurred speech and, in many cases, stutter or repeating words and sentences with lots of mm mm’s in particular when we are asked to read out loud or we are generally unsure of the subject.  This can often be found in dyspraxics (due to poor facial muscle tone) and in some cases dyslexics.  It can also result from confidence and self-esteem issues, delayed speech or indeed slow processing, to such an extent that we miss the point and put in the wrong word.  Even in conversation, we can go to make a point and, whilst waiting for our opportunity to add to the conversation, completely forget what we were about to say and then find ourselves apologising.
I know find it easier to apologise before I set into a conversation and will openly tell people I am dyspraxic and its part of the deal.  This often leads to me being more aware of others speaking and also relaxes me, which reduces the number of mistakes I make.
 We will also take a look at ‘mondegreens’… these in a way are a sort of aural malapropism. Instead of saying the wrong word, you hear the wrong word. The word mondegreen is generally applied to the mishearing of verbal questions, instruction poetry and song lyrics, although technically it can apply to any speech.  This can be caused by a lack of knowledge, comprehension, processing issues, lack of interest/stimulation or pure lack of concentration.
Slurring your words can lead to unexpected situations; this can also be linked to balance too. Again, it can be caused whilst under pressure, maybe giving a speech, a part in a play or being asked to read out in class or give an opinion to friends.
I remember in my early days as a college lecturer people were giving a suspicious eye to anything that wasn’t the norm.  We had a few heavy drinkers and a few alcoholics across the college and I remember being asked to the Human Resources Department on one occasion as the HR Manager had been told that they thought I was drunk during the day as I have been known to lose my balance on occasions. I found this amusing and many close friends would vouch that I rarely touch alcohol. I explained about my DCD and all fell into place.
 One of the key things with verbal dyspraxia and the above is due to poor facial muscle tone and correct use of the diaphragm. Many dyspraxics not only breathe through their mouth but they breathe very quickly (short breaths, they also tend to groan whilst eating). They can, therefore, run out of breath which leads to the breaking of sentences.  We also have difficulty programming our speech cords, which can lead to shortening words and getting letter sounds wrong… this can also be down to incorrect or minimal lip movement.
This can also be similar in the case of:
Auditory – where the individual has difficulty hearing the correct sound… often confusing similar sounding letters or words ending in  i, e, y (eg. spy sounds like spi) and phonetics.
Visual – where the individual has difficulty seeing the difference between similar looking letters or words.
Audio-visual – a combination of auditory and visual difficulties.
As we also know this can be down to dyslexia, with the words have been incorrectly programmed into the long-term memory in the first instance.  This needs to be identified and worked on with the child/adult to produce the correct letter/word sound and repeated until the incorrect word has been overwritten/erased in the long term memory.
Looking at this further, the child or adult knows what they want to say.  Once this has been processed by the brain, however, they cannot say it correctly on a given occasion (stress) even though they know what they want to say and realise that they have said the word incorrectly. This can also put the word or sentence out of context in a conversation (longer to process what others are saying).
Quite often this is way beyond the control of the child/adult and if this happens on a regular basis (coming out of the comfort zone), it could lead to a stammer.  Planning and promoting confidence is key to avoiding this… it may also be exaggerated when the child/adult is angry or frustrated.
The way forward is through support and, if it’s a constant problem, speech and language therapy should be sought.
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 offering helpful advice. Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2017

We have some great products to help with auditory processing and for improving short term memory and much more at our online store.
http://dyslexiadublin.mygostore.co.uk/awesome-auditory-activities.html


We can be contacted through our facebook @ dyslexia dublin or twitter @ dyslexiadublin or our web www.dublin-cetc.com



I hope you found this article useful… there are many more, including one on homework, on our Blog(www.dyslexiadublin.blogspot.ie)

Saturday, 15 April 2017


Hyperlexia and its meaning by Dyslexia Dublin © 2017



What is Hyperlexia? …let’s take a look

 Norman E. Silberberg and Margaret C. Silberberg (1967), were the first two to really coin this, they described it as “the precocious ability to read words without prior training (tubula rasa) in learning to read, typically before the age of 5, deemed the normal start point for reading”.
This is a syndrome that has many positive and negative facets.
Those with hyperlexia generally have a high decoding ability (words).
They also have an above average IQ and many link this to both Aspergers and Dyslexia.
One of the many facets is the problem with oral skill and the understanding of others.
In spite of all the above they can lack in comprehension.
Contradiction to the above as is often the case comes in the form of one Darold Treffert, he maintains that Hyperlexia has certain subtypes, only some of which overlap with autism,  with just 5-10% of autistic children being hyperlexic.

Fair facts
Hyperlexic children are often fascinated by letters or numbers. They are extremely good at decoding language and thus often become very early readers.
Some hyperlexic children learn to spell long words (such as elephant) before they are two years old and learn to read whole sentences before they turn three.

A fairly shallow trial showed:
A study of a single child showed that hyperlexia may be the neurological opposite of dyslexia.
Because of its complexity, it’s very often overlooked through mis-diagnosis.
Hyperlexics need to learn through rote (overlearning), this is shared with dyslexics.
They also share difficulty in learning the rules of language.
A precocious skill in reading above their expected age.
Difficulty in having relationships and lack social skills.
Certain phobias are evident in some.
Heavily fixated with text and numerics.
Almost military in keeping habits and routines.
Monkey see monkey do, they can be heard repeating a certain word time over.
Unlike many dyspraxics and dyslexics, they hit early milestones and then fall back… usually around two years of age. They can even revert back to crawling/bum shuffling.
Again like dyspraxics, they have selective hearing and often this is due to singular focus.





They have a very strong visual memory.
Again like dyspraxics, they can hand flap, rock or make sudden movements.

Many of the above as mentioned cross over with dyspraxia. This could be due to the same areas of the brain being slightly immature.
I can hear you saying the same.

I can see myself in so much of this article.


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 offering helpful advice. Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2017

We have some great products to help with auditory processing and for improving short term memory and much more at our online store.
http://dyslexiadublin.mygostore.co.uk/awesome-auditory-activities.html


We can be contacted through our facebook @ dyslexia dublin or twitter @ dyslexiadublin or our web www.dublin-cetc.com



I hope you found this article useful… there are many more, including one on homework, on our Blog(www.dyslexiadublin.blogspot.ie)

Saturday, 8 April 2017

‘Dyslexia… Is It On The increase?’ by  Dublin CETC © 2017


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.

We now offer online support www.facebook.com/Online-Dyslexia-Support-1811247802448782/

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 © 2017
Visit us at our website  www.dublin-cetc.com

Sunday, 2 April 2017

How can we improve retention by Dyslexia Dublin  © 2017

Retention rates are so important; throughout our lives from early to later years.
Those with Spld tend to have great long term memories and poor short term memories; why is this!
We can accrue part of this to a lack of stimulation and different styles of tuition/instruction.
We need a clear and unobstructed path in order to encode (receive) all types of instruction and perform a given task.
When we are receiving visual instruction our attention rates tend to be far higher than if we are receiving aural instruction…this in part is due to our slower processing speeds and can also be a cause of slow processing speed along with poor short term memory.
Retention speed has a serious effect on how we take information from the whiteboard or power point (syntax).
We also have problems when we are forced to break words down to aid spelling and replicating from the board to paper; we can often look up two, three or four times to transcribe a word correctly. This will leave us well short come revision time as we only retain parts of words and indeed part of sentences.
Many left hemisphere linear thinkers tend to remember sentences with ease, and some even remember paragraphs in exact detail.
This can also cause problems with handwriting and legibility, this generally happens when a child has to look up at the board to spell certain words. They tend to catch up the others in the class by writing faster.


Many of us forget or fail to process a name of a person during an introduction, why, we are too busy processing a visual image of the person. This is why we never forget a face even though we have forgotten the name.
We lose things very often, like our keys or phone, quite often misplacing them when we arrive home, why, we don’t tend to find the journey home as stimulating as the outward journey. With the exception of leaving somewhere like school.
The brain process is so complexed, and anything can cause us to misinterpret or completely miss instructions!
Noise is a major factor, but we can also include a poor presentation or garbled or overly technical delivery.
Stress can be another variant in blocking pathways to retention. And slow processing speed as mentioned in previous articles.
Stress can have a detrimental effect on the many memory functions and also brain function,
Stress manifests itself in a variety of ways and levels; higher levels can be either intrinsic or extrinsic. We can take maths, for instance, this can be Intrinsic and a complicated formula or any give maths task can be triggered, extrinsic can be triggered by a prior fear or thoughts creeping into the mind.
Poor sleep patterns are another reason for poor retention; as is dehydration.
We can improve poor retention and slow processing by using many of the aforementioned processes.
Others can play their part. Schools can keep an eye on room temperature and the circulation of fresh air.
Many schools still seem reluctant to allow water to be consumed in the classroom, although many take a modern proactive approach.
Getting your children to read out loud and even at a low volume so only they can hear will improve retention overnight (introducing more senses)!
Bringing as many senses as possible also improves retention.

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 offering helpful advice. Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2017

We have some great products to help with auditory processing and for improving short term memory and much more at our online store.
http://dyslexiadublin.mygostore.co.uk/awesome-auditory-activities.html


We can be contacted through our facebook @ dyslexia dublin or twitter @ dyslexiadublin or our web www.dublin-cetc.com


I hope you found this article useful… there are many more, including one on homework, on our Blog(www.dyslexiadublin.blogspot.ie)