Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Time Management and associated problems for dyslexics and dyspraxics by Dyslexia dublin© 2017

We suffer poor time management more so than any others…Why?

1) We have very poor short term memory.

2) Secondly, we have organisational issues.

3) Thirdly, some having planning and processing issues.

We can’t ever blame ourselves for any of the above as we are born with a very active right side of the brain (creative), whereas Time management is very much a function of the left linear brain.

However, many get frustrated by our time-keeping and therefore it has to be worked at and improved for the sake of everyone.

You need to sit down and take stock and plan ahead.  My time keeping was terrible as a child, however now it has swung the other way.

I leave myself twice as much time as most to get going and I always arrive at functions/meetings early.  T this day I still set all my clocks five to ten minutes fast.

-      One helpful tool is a colour coded diary for school and social time.
-      Buy a sand timer for home, use it for studying and fun time, we notice
          movement much easier than we would a watch or clock.
-      If you have a smart phone, use the alarm and calendar so you get both a
          visual and audio reminder. 
-      Post-it Notes on your door (to write messages and reminders).  I still hang things on the door that I need to take with me.
-      Use your smart phone to take images of books required for school, etc.
-      A notice-board on the wall can also be useful.

As we have already mentioned, time management is linked to our ability to organise and we don’t have that.

Your preparation should start on a Sunday before the new school week begins.

Do it whilst you are fresh and alert, don’t leave it till Monday morning when you are still half asleep.
You could even find that you sleep better, as you have already organised and sorted all the things that are on your mind to do the next day.

If you are like me and forget so many other things that keep our lives functioning (shopping, sports, social outings, etc.), put all those other troubling things onto post it notes, etc.

Even do a road map, a very good way of learning how to organise… put on your day or week A to Z.

You must also schedule free time and breaks. Is worthwhile during routines like homework…maybe 10 mins every hour, but be disciplined and don’t stretch the free time!

Don’t play video games before you go to bed.  Take an hour or so to do something less complex to help you sleep.

Schedule study time so you can get ahead.  Try to work at some point over the holidays and at weekends to give you space in the week.

A To-Do list is also a very good way of getting and thinking ahead.
Being untidy is also a sign of poor organisational skills… it's far harder to find things and quickly in an untidy and cluttered space, so include that on your list.

Always put your keys and/or phones in the same place every time and do it the second you get in.

You will very quickly do all this subconsciously, trust me you will… I did.

It means you only have to visit the one place then, and yes…they are there.

Men tend to be worse than women when it comes to time management, as they tend to have greater lists and tend not to write things down.

Poor time management actually robs you of more time through living in chaos, always chasing your tail.

Most importantly, poor organisation causes increased stress and anxiety.

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All our articles are written to give guidance only and we would suggest that all of our readers seek the required professional guidance Check out our new look website at

Friday, 19 May 2017

How Can We Help Our Children To Read?   Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2017

There is a huge imbalance in those that read, those that struggle, those that don’t and those that wished they could, why.

If you want to retain information then it is essential to read and write. The retention rates of just audio or using a laptop to type are 25%. Reading out allowed and writing down information raise that to 85%!

See it, say it, hear it, write it, retain it.

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.
Dyslexics tend to replace around 15 to 20% of the words they read, shared reading picks this up and allows the problem to be addressed!
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  © 2017

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

How is Confidence and Self Esteem affected by Dyspraxia, (DCD), Dyslexia and other specific learning needs by  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2017

Confidence and achievement is everything… we can all do our own personal SWAT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunity and threats)… just take a look what you are good at, what do you struggle with? Can you do everything you need to do?
How easy is it to lose your confidence… imagine yourself down a hole and every time you stick your head out, someone hits it with a stick or shouts at you.  How many would still continue to pop their head up?
Many with dyspraxia have days, weeks, months and years like this and children with dyspraxia dealing with learning needs, maturity and skill building have these problems to face.
Dyspraxics generally have reduced ability when it comes to coordinated skills (gross and fine motor) such as sport and dance and this in itself multiplies the time required to carry out a given task that can be mastered by others in the shortest (one or two attempts) period of time.  Quite often we, as parents, fail to recognise this as a problem and fall short in time/tolerance required to help our children develop the required skill or skill sets.  Our parent's may consider spending the same amount of time teaching us how to ride our bike, as they would with siblings (brother sister), whereas in fact we often require up to four times longer to grasp that particular concept.  It’s important for parents not to tire and make sure to give their children this extra time and remember… praxis makes perfect! It would be similar for those with dyslexia as we utilize areas of the brain that process all learnt material (instruction) our processing speed is known to be much slower, hence the required prolonged lessons and practice.
How does this impact on our child’s confidence and low self-esteem?
How do we go about assessing this lack of belief?
How do we address this area and encourage self-belief?
How can we make them feel good about themselves without feeling patronised?

Gross and Fine Motor Skills, Motor Planning, and Organisation of Movement.
For a start, we need to give due importance to the area of gross/fine/motor/organisation by taking the time to work on these areas. This is a real issue and affects self-confidence in most of our daily lives as a dyspraxic and also for those with SPD and hypermobility.
DCD can confuse many, from Ed Psych’s, friends, teachers and even close family members, all can appear fine for the short time we are in others company and this can be a problem in itself.   Quite often we seem just like those without DCD when we are sitting or are relatively stationary… however, the very second we have to carry out a task we fall apart… for example, walking with a cup and we drop it, or walk into someone.
We are all aware that DCD (dyspraxia) is a motor, planning and co-ordination disorder.
The disorder can range from mild to severe.  It runs in families and can be co-morbid, which often means many will have elements of hypermobility, dyslexia, dysgraphia (writing/comprehension), dyscalculia (maths) sensory processing, social communications disorder (DSM5).  Most will have poor memory and memory recall.  Others may present with mild dyspraxia and no other traits.
Presentation of DCD is so variable in its spectrum and has a very wide range of limitation/delay in co-ordination, planning and motor skill.  It can range from very moderate to severe… some would be good at sport and others would struggle, the same would be the case for academia.
The child could be fine in the early stages with limited concern shown by the parent, especially if they happen to be the first born so there is no benchmark set and familiar milestones hit by an older sibling, ie. walking, talking, eating, kicking and catching a ball.
We can also see problems with speech and language... quite often we witness a delay in speech which can so often slow the introduction to reading/spelling and indeed writing, into the early years of school.
Dyspraxia (DCD) affects around 1 in 8 school-age children and likewise adults, around the world.  There is a variation to this, so I am going with an average figure.  We also know that it affects far more boys than girls… statistics show around 80% are boys, although, in my personal opinion, I feel the gap may well be closer in reality.  The reason I feel this to be the case is that boys tend to show frustration and meltdown whereas girls tend to internalise and just get on with it, which can result in more boys being diagnosed. 
So what do we do to keep confidence and self-belief high?
Firstly I want to say don’t give praise where it is not due… it must be genuine.
Take everything that has to be learnt very slowly and then praise, praise, praise!
During the early days put them in a baby walker, as this helps develop leg movement (gross motor skill).
Spend time helping them to crawl and walk by letting them mimic you.
When they start to feed themselves encourage this but give them easy things to eat (nice bright carrot stick)… pieces of apple will help with fine motor skill… feed them every other piece to reduce frustration.
Make lots of funny faces to encourage smiling and always use a cup and then a straw to drink through, as this will help facial muscle tone and early speech.
Try and get them to improve core muscles by getting them on their tummies and looking up… this will strengthen their back and shoulders.  This will also help posture when they start sitting more frequently.
When they are ready to play, roll a ball to them… this will help eye hand co-ordination.
All of the former is important. Make sure you check out their dominant side too… how do they move? Is it left hand or right first (crawling)? Which leg leads, if already walking? It is so important to figure out their dominant side to make writing etc. easier later on… many pick up the pencil in both hands and often use their non-dominant side to write with (less control)!
We also find placing things in order or stacking difficult, due to the planning/processing side of the condition.
With the singular focus that we have as a result of being dyspraxic, we struggle with multi co-ordination on a variety of fronts, like climbing stairs, running, hopping, and jumping, co-ordinating limbs to dress (shirts, trousers, socks, etc.)
We can also have difficulty chewing solid food, due to hyper-sensitive gag reflex (tough meat and fibrous fruit like pears and fish too) and sensory processing problems.
There is a high incidence of ambidexterity in dyxpraxics and this could be down to planning/processing at an early stage (dyspraxic children often pick the pen up with the nearest hand and proceed to write or draw… this could then become ingrained). This often leads to indifferent writing techniques and poor writing skill.  Let your child know you make mistakes also...none of us are perfect, laugh at your mistakes by all means but don't laugh at theirs.
This all leads to problems performing daily activities and many of our personal routines like getting dressed.
Due to required repetition, a far greater time is required to master new skills and skill sets (tying shoelaces, fastening buttons, zips, etc).
Tripping and falling due to lack of concentration and poor balance, even standing still and the occasional wobble, can all make us look very clumsy.
We tend to have a far slower rate of maturity due to most of the above and this can lead to voluntary and involuntary isolation.  If we are on our own we feel less pressured to perform and no one witnesses our mistakes.  However I must express this is not a good thing. As a result, we tend to hand around or play with children much younger than us.
I have written many articles on anger and frustration and this all goes alongside dyspraxia. It’s no surprise we beat ourselves up over the slightest mistake and also as a result of being constantly pulled up and criticised by our peers/family members.
We have a very singular focus and this in turn causes poor concentration and listening skills… we also find it hard to follow verbal and written instruction, it is much easier to watch and learn or follow pictograms.
In adulthood this can often be the case with D.I.Y… we would prefer to follow the picture on the box than read the instructions inside (right brained).
It can cause problems with learning to drive (see article on Learning to Drive with Specific Learning Needs by Toby Lee).
Anger and frustration.
If you suspect any of the symptoms of dyspraxia, I would recommend you see an OT or Ed. Psych.  II would stress it is important to get a good assessor, as one that doesn’t know dyspraxia could miss some of the signs or might not apply the correct conditions to show that your child has dyspraxia.
You could also find during the assessment your child might have dyslexia/dysgraphia or dyscalculia…these are co-morbid conditions that can also shadow dyspraxia…ADD…ADHD and ASD.
It is so important to be prepared before you see anyone for a diagnosis… observe your child and draw up a list of issues, make a note of milestones like walking/talking, etc.
 Motor problems of children with DCD persist at least into adolescence, although it weakens as we come to terms with routine and we no longer need to be competitive, like running around the school yard or taking part in sport.  Friend with us on facebook or follow us on twitter @ dyslexiadublin

All our articles are written to give guidance only and we would suggest that all of our readers seek the required professional guidance Check out our new look website at