Sunday, 14 February 2021

 ’ Dysgraphia -The Whys and How’s’ (revised 23-10-13) by Dyslexia Toby © 2013




Dysgraphia can affect many people in various ways…it is generally regarded as deficiency/learning difficulty in the ability to put pen to paper in terms of the written word. It can be a handwriting issue, or a cognitive issue (transcription difficulty)…taking thoughts from the mind or indeed the teacher and putting them down on paper, and this can also be down to agraphia. It must be mentioned that as with dyslexia most students have very high intellect; this causes many teachers to believe the student lacks interest or is lazy; this is far from the truth, they have great ideas until it comes to the art of putting pen to paper. Again like dyslexics they are the ones that create the idea in group discussions and are great at the practical side of projects but cannot write a report etc.

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We all have moments when our mind goes blank whilst writing or in conversation… with dysgraphia and agraphia this is more profound and on-going. One of the problem areas is the using of graphemes (single letter and often silent in writing – as in debt). Although this is thought to be very much of a cousin to dyslexia, it does not actually bear any relation in so far as many with Dysgraphia and Agraphia students have little if any problems with their reading or spelling.

Dysgraphia is, as mentioned, a lack of connection from the information stored in our brain and the lack of moving that information when commanded by the brain to the hand (fine motor)…this can be seen as comorbid (exists with other conditions) as it can be seen in children/adults with poor motor skill, such as DCD…Verbal Dyspraxia…ADD…ADHD.

Agraphia, whilst having the same symptoms as dysgraphia, is often caused by damage to the temporal or parietal lobes and also in the motor cortex, which can be as a result of a stroke or other brain injuries. Although we talked about high intellect earlier, this can co-exist with dyslexia in some cases.

Poor motor skills can result in dysgraphia due in part to immature fine motor skills and poor co-ordination (dexterity)… the most common being weak hand/arm muscles. Poor posture can also add to this, especially in DCD children and adults…they tend to tire very quickly and their writing space becomes very crowded.
Students can often present with poor writing and this is down to spatial and even scoptopic issues (visual stress)…they can view the paper as if its tapered top to bottom and their writing moves away from the margin…or their writing simply gets bigger as they work across the page.

Taking down the written word requires huge concentration and you can often find that writing starts off fairly legible and then quickly deteriorates…it can also become slow and laborious due to poor retention of the information being dictated or from a whiteboard, etc.

It is worth checking to see if your child is writing with the correct hand…I too often find that a left dominant student is writing with the right hand and this was never corrected at the early stage of learning to write.
Very often we put people in boxes (jump to the wrong conclusion) and in doing so miss diagnosing the actual cause of many areas such as dysgraphia. The student does not lack motivation or evade the learning process…it is important for all parents and teachers to observe students in their charge as vigilance will tell a lot. It is important to look out for:

Students who work head down covering their work…this is often through embarrassment (fear of their peers looking at their work and making negative comments).
Crabbing the wrist and fingers whilst writing…could also be a sign of using the wrong hand to write with.
Fingers tiring quickly (hand shaking) when writing even short passages of texts.
Constant correction of work (tipex-ing or rubbing out).
Moving to upper and lower case in the same word.
Letters growing in size or, as mentioned, moving away from the margin (visual stress).
Inability to keep up with teacher or peers dictating (writing speed).
Lack of attention to detail (just want to get it over with).
Constantly looking to the board to re-affirm words (also poor short term memory can cause this).
Faint and illegible writing (can also be due to poor coordination and pressure on the paper).
Poor handwriting (can so often lead people to believe that the student is dyslexic).
Poor Comprehension…unable to build a story from scratch.
Students often complain of feeling tired and will yawn a lot while writing.
How can Dysgraphia be helped:
By introducing gross and fine motor exercises…this will improve posture and also arm, wrist, hand and finger strength and as well as reducing fatigue.
Using whiteboards to practice on and gain correct tip pressure of pen or pencil.
Introducing pen and pencil grips or stubby pens and pencils.
Using a multi-sensory teaching package.
Having a test for visual stress and the possible introduction of filters and coloured writing books.
Students with learning difficulties put far more effort into everything they do even though on the flip side teachers will often disagree…these students are, as previously mentioned, very clever and will in usually excel in subjects other than those that involve writing copious notes.
Delivering very visually stimulating and kinaesthetic type projects are so important. Memory recall work is also important to grow confidence in students with dysgraphia, we at dyslexia Dublin have great results in this area.

Dyslexia Dublin.ie carries a huge range of resources to help with Dysgraphia and we ship worldwide.
Please feel free to comment on any of our posts…the information we use in our posts is that of our own opinion and research and occasionally will include the work of others. It is for reading and guidance only and should never be taken literally.

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Thursday, 17 December 2020

 Why are we so different by Dyslexia Toby© 2020




I grew up with a huge variation (character) to many including my siblings.
We shared so many things and were afforded the same opportunities.
We went to similar schools for the most part, joined the same or similar clubs!
We all lived under the same roof.
We all ate the same things.
But I always felt different, I’m not alone.
Parents often wonder why their offspring are so different in many ways, and some question their-selves.
I have heard, so many say much of what has been mentioned.
There is absolutely no reason to do this; we are a make-up of genes going back generations.
If we were all born on the same day and all of the same sex would we still be different!
Of course, we would be!
Perhaps understanding why we are so different would be a good place to start.
There are good reasons why we’re so different from each other. And sometimes we need to look deeply at and be more aware of this variation this will help us to be kinder to many including those near and dear, with greater empathy when others actions are different to ours, this will help us when judging others and ourselves in an inappropriate manner.
Some say we are the partly made up from preference and others are honed through experience including episodic events, and to some degree that is the case. But we are a combination of many factors, some beyond change or control.
Some research even points to change through such things as disease (miasam) We are the equal to the sum of the parts of many things, making change a process that is slow to shape and needs lots of nurturing.
So how do we become more excepting of our differences/variants?
Our very DNA means that we are very unlikely to find another that would exactly mirror our views, and in itself presents obstacles and the only way we can truly overcome these such as our early development, education and indeed relationships.
We can succeed if we mastering the art of being  both constructive and compromising in our approach, even if we don’t wholly agree with another’s actions.
It may also be the case where we fail through lack of understanding due to these different trains of thought!
Being aware of our differences is so important as parents, educators and indeed the individual child or adult…this is especially so with those who have a learning difference such as ADD,ADHD,Asperger's, SPD,ODD,OCD,Dyspraxia or Dyslexia.
There are too often comparisons made to those that don’t have any of the above and understanding that we are all different and even researching the various learning needs would be a giant step forward for so many.
Don’t compare like for like as like, this is a pure myth, and in reality does not exist.
If one of your children takes longer to learn to dress or tie shoe laces so be it, be patient and afford them the extra time. The same for educators if the students is slow to finish, change the requirements of that student's workload. Better still change your style of delivery (kin-aesthetic).
If your partner has entrenched characteristics offer to compromise, change is always within reach, and far better than the alternatives.
Above all, we need to take a long look at what’s in front of us, solutions are often easy to find, if we take the time to look!
Be protective of those around you and share experience of best practice and in education make sure your concerns of others are understood.
Over learning is paramount in all cases. Those right-brained students struggling in maths need support, and equally do those that are linear left brained when they struggle in the creative areas of education.

This article had been written by our team, and we have used the work of others in our research. We always suggest that if you are concerned please seek the advice of others.
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Thursday, 24 September 2020

 The Why’s and How’s of the IEP (Individual Education Plan)and the benefits to individuals in the learning environment (revised)  by  Dyslexia Toby  © 2020





Just received your child's IEP or would like to know more ( have an assessment, then you should be informed about your entitlements).

Specific Needs Education is the education of students with special needs in a way that addresses the students' individual differences and needs. This process involves the individually planned scheme of work with an agreed level of help…sometimes intense help… to achieve a learning objective, such as learning the alphabet for example. This will also give an outline of the resources required to achieve an outcome equal or close to their peers (see the article on Accommodation for further details).
This will include the provision of in-class support (SNA) and one to one (resource teacher), requiring extra resource hours.
There is a range of learning needs and not all children in a class would have been through a diagnosis. The school, however, should be able to identify such students and should offer as much support as they possibly can. Parents must also be informed of this, which is key to helping move their individual child forward.
In most countries, inclusive education is in place; schools and teachers are changing the way in which they teach, to accommodate all students and allowing far more children with specific learning needs to be taught in the mainstream school.
Integration is less likely to cause stigma amongst the students as they are submerged in this modern learning environment. Inclusive education, with adequate resources and qualified knowledgeable staff, can offer almost everything to everyone in regard to education.
Specific learning needs students can be identified early in the learning process…observation of work and participation in group and solo activities can be monitored, along with performance in both testing and homework. These would all help to identify individuals that are struggling to understand the information being presented.
IEP (Individual Education Plan)
A learning programme should be agreed between teachers and this should also involve parents and the support staff within the school. This will vary from country to country and will be unique to the student that has been identified with a learning need. The IEP will set out the support and resources required to help the individual and will also document the resource hours and in-class provision (scribe…reader, etc.) required to help the student cope with the mainstream class.
As schools become more familiar with the range of individual needs, they will resource accordingly. This will require changes in the way they accommodate all within the group and this could be down to gaining physical access to classrooms (old schools) with the use of lifts to upper levels, to the introduction of computers for children who cannot write because of a physical disability. They must also take account of the child’s needs outside of the classroom during break times, to include access to the playground, toilets and eating facilities.
In the case of a child on the Autism Spectrum, it might be necessary to school them in a smaller group or classroom. This can also be the same with children who have SPD if they are tactile or not tactile, they might struggle to concentrate and would need to be positioned accordingly. This would also be the same for children with auditory processing problems and also those who may have visual stress.
Modifying the Lesson to include the IEP.
Students workload can be reduced and be more specific…for instance, handwriting can be in print rather than cursive to help students keep up with lessons that are dictated.
Project work can be assisted by giving the student a textbook and also an audio or DVD to watch, such as Michael Morpurgo’s ‘War Horse’, for example.
Reduced homework is given on a more consistent basis, with maybe one subject per night instead of several subjects…this also means there is less to forget and fewer books for the student to carry home.
Students should be given access to certain resources during testing, like the use of a calculator or have a bank of words to aid comprehension. Extra time for tests can also be agreed during the construction of the IEP.
ECM (every child matters) is an integral part of every school and classroom or should be. The Teacher is responsible for ensuring the safety of all children in their care and take appropriate advice/action to maintain the safety of all.


If your child is starting a new school make sure the provision is there before you register them.


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 in related areas.   Dyslexia Toby  © 2020


Saturday, 9 May 2020


How can a dyslexic, become both a  teacher and a writer.

I spent many years struggling through academia never figuring why I was so different.
Most of my friends grasped the nettle, I didn’t. I always had a passion to teach and I always tried so hard to match my peers in school so how did I find out I was both dyslexic and dyspraxic?
I trained to be a mechanic on the advice of my father, even my family thought I was slow or stupid.
Can you imagine how life was and is for others like me? We spent our days in school being verbally abused and, in my case, canned most days.
I arrived at college on my fist day to start studying mechanics and Sat down, the teacher walked in wearing his white gown and a thought came to mind, I should be him.
From that very day I began my plan to become a teacher, I went to an evening class to get my Teaching Cert and took a part time job at a local college. The motor vehicle department did not want to be saddled with me, the newbie, far too much hassle for them.
They pointed me in the direction of a teacher called Mike, he was forming a bridge program to get students with learning needs on to main stream courses, he asked me and I said yes, he asked me again to be certain I said yes. At that point I had no idea I was Dyslexic Dyspraxic.
I wrote a program and took charge of a group of mixed students male and female with a range of learning needs, and suddenly the curtains opened and I started to seem me as part of the group, It was like looking in a mirror, an epiphany.
I was now in a position to write the wrongs and give something back, I struggled and worked hard to get my teaching cert, many on that course where pure academic and one guy continually took pieces out of me, so what are you going to bore us with next, he was an accountant and didn’t like my practical demonstrations, I guess being academic he didn’t understand a creative mind.
Spelling still haunted me in the early days of teaching, I had students correcting my work. I had without realising it created a non-judgemental bridge between me and the students, they rusted me.
I maintained a feeling of openness where no student felt isolated and they engaged and no one was made to look a fool, but I will admit I learnt so much about me whilst working with them. I learn ways of getting the information across that stuck with them, lessons become both structured and fun. I loved that phase of my life as I had become a facilitator, I felt such pride with my groups. They were now being taken seriously and achieving beyond many people’s dreams. I also became a much nicer person.
I was told during my school years that I would never string two words together and now I am realising how wrong the were, I still teach in my retirement and now I am a writer.
It is never too late to learn anything and make improvements as I have done, my journey is far from over. We must harness and live our dreams, for dreams can be made into reality.

Here is a link to my new children's books, spelling through adventures. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B088B5NF43

Dyslexia Toby © 2020 all rights reserved.

How can we improve retention by Dyslexia Toby  © 2020

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 Toby © 2020





Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Are you left or right side dominant? By Dyslexia Toby 2019©



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.


We now offer online tuition.

All our articles are for information only and guidance… professional advice should always be sought.  Dyslexia Toby © 2019
Why Don’t You Listen To Me? (Auditory Processing) by Dyslexia Toby © 2019


Listening relates so closely to most of what we achieve in school and in our daily lives.
Let’s take a look at Auditory Processing and the causation.

We now offer online support for dyslexia.

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is common amongst children and also goes into adulthood. It affects around 5-6% of the world’s population, myself included, and is also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD).  We have real problems when it comes to picking up verbal instruction, we simply don’t hear quite the same as others who don’t have auditory processing issues.  Why… and a very important why?  Our brains and ears function in a slightly miscued way and at a far slower connection rate.  This can have a huge effect on the way we speak, we quite often have to slow speech down to avoid mistakes.
This is so important… the connection between the individual and their instructor/teacher needs clarity and, if there is a cross infection with other noises, the signal becomes confused or even lost, and the reaction/response is often the wrong one.  This is more prevalent today than ever before as modern class environments are more open with micro learning groups.  Some teaching styles and resources can work very much against those with auditory processing, eg. teaching as a facilitator… using mainly student input which may well involve various voices and demonstrations/role play, lots going on within the classroom.  It seems such a shame in many ways, but the old school layout and delivery was very much favourable to good linguistics… a single voice in a quiet classroom, with the exception of the teacher talking whilst writing on the board.  However, at that time we didn’t understand specific learning needs, now we do... or should do!  Very often the work is projected onto the whiteboard which allows the teacher to face the class, but the background noise minimises the pluses here.
Have you ever been in a cafĂ© or restaurant and struggled to listen to your friends/family?  Do you look up if someone drops something, or they turn on the ice/smoothie machine, or maybe driving in the car and the children are talking or playing loud music and you make a mistake or go the wrong way?  Have you ever wondered why some children and adults don’t enjoy swimming?  It’s not always the water that puts them off… swimming pools amplify sound to unbelievable levels.  My own daughter used to hate going to motor racing circuits and bonfire nights use to be a real problem too.  We often never realise how noise pollution affects some of us, although I will say the majority of us don’t even notice competing sounds and can just keep zoned into the person talking, or focus on what they are doing.

How do we assess for auditory processing problems?

This can be quite easy for both parents, teachers and indeed self-diagnosis in an adult.
Most who parent or work with children will notice how they can appear to switch off/zone out whilst doing certain activities, like at home watching television or deep into a game, they simply don’t hear you telling them dinner is ready or to turn the TV down.  You are competing with other sounds and they don’t hear you… this is often the case with missed instruction in the classroom too.
If we go into a quiet room, like a library, for instance, we can listen to sounds without any problem… why?  Because they are clear and unhindered.  If you have ever been for a hearing test, you might have wondered why you walked through so many doors and into a sound-proof room?  It’s because they have to ensure there are no competing sounds or noise pollution.
Some children and adults can have an over-sensitivity to noise, however, there will also be those that have an auditory problem.  This needs clarification if it’s suspected that treatment can be given and any problems are addressed before they fall too far behind ie. speech delay or studies.
We can go through childhood into adulthood and this might not be picked up due to lack of awareness, or maybe it’s not severe enough to cause concern.  However mild, moderate or severe, it should all be looked into to avoid any problems.
One of my children would have problems with competing sounds as mentioned earlier and maybe you can already see similarities… shout them for dinner and, if they are listening to music or watching TV, they won’t hear you.  Trust me, this is not with intent, they just can’t hear you… stand in front of the TV and they will hear you fine.
So, do you notice any of the following…
Do they have volume control problems, ie. they raise their voice for no reason?
Do they dislike noisy places like swimming pools, cafes, etc?
Are noisy environments upsetting to your child?
Do they look around when there is a sudden increase in competing noises?

Have you noticed a variation with them in different settings?... like at home with maybe just you and them with no competing noises they can completely focus, whereas if there's two or three children doing homework together and you’re making dinner or whatever, they can’t focus.
If the environment is noisy, is their accuracy with tasks or commands affected?
Remember that this can be comorbid with other SPLD’S like dyslexia and dyscalculia, add, ADHD and can lead people to believe that they have other problems when it can just simply be auditory processing.  Lack of understanding/clarity of what they’re hearing can cause students to appear hyper and disruptive and while I must say this is not one size fits all, it is well worth exploring… especially if you see a change in your child.
Maybe they have a problem academically that is caused by their inability to zone into the teacher?  Maybe their class is noisy at times?  You can often find noise levels increase in more non-kinesthetic subjects like English and Maths, as some children are less stimulated and distracted and this can raise noise levels to the point where your child cannot focus.  We need really good listening and processing skills in the early phases of learning English, as there is such a small variation in sounds between certain letters and letter formations.  We can also look at confusion with homework… what happens when the teacher wraps up or the children know the school day is coming to an end?  Ever wondered why they forget books or misunderstood what was required for homework?  This is often laid at the door of poor organisational skillsets… however, a simple fix is to set the homework earlier in the day, as when it is coming near to home time the class in general is winding down and getting reading to go home.  Better still, give them one or two subjects per night for homework, less books to carry too! 
Maybe your school is proactive and are prepared to offer FM (the student wears headphones  linked to the teacher which allows them to hear only the teacher’s voice) or take steps to reduce competing noises.  You can also work on this at home when tasks require a high level of accuracy.  Help them to speak with good tone variation, try talking into the mirror with them, record their voice and play it back… this helps pitch.  Try not to use high level vocabulary, make it fit their academic age range, we often talk to our children these days as if they are adults, this never happened years ago.  Also, keep an eye on the type of programmes they are watching on the television.
We tend to slow our speech down when talking to non-English speakers and this is also a good idea for talking to people with APD, but not to the point where the person feels that we are mocking them, there has to be a good balance.  School environment can account for some issues… teachers can make sure those who they feel may have APD can be seated nearer the front of the class and preferably away from the noisy elements.  Let your child share ownership of this, especially if they are of an age where they can see the negative effect it has on their progress both in and out of school.

How do we find out if our child, or indeed an adult, has APD?  You can monitor activities and mood swings during events… like the school disco, a visit to the circus or swimming for example.  If we feel concerned, then we can see our GP and maybe get an auditory test by an audiologist.  We must wait until sufficient maturation has taken place to give a fair and conclusive assessment, from age 7 years up… this would be from first class in Ireland, junior school in the UK, the equivalent would be third grade in America.
                                         
Processing Information

We are slower auditory processors than most others… we take far more time to devour information and we often need to be told a few times or read text (out loud) several times.  We can even take things the wrong way and miss punch lines in jokes or be the butt of a joke without realising it.  There are several ways information can be interpreted and we often only figure one angle, this can lead to people belittling us and bullying can also result.
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 Toby © 2019





Is It OCD (Dyspraxia, Dyslexia) by  Dyslexia Toby © 2019



Many Dyslexics have a compulsion with time, efficiency and structure, are they all suffering OCD.
Probably not, short term memory deficiency often found in dyslexia and dyspraxia cause huge problems with short term memory.
Our processing needs to be repetitively poked with instruction if we are to get things right, such as shopping or information given off the cuff.
How do we give off the same traits as someone with OCD!
What is OCD!
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a neurological disorder and is often plagued by self-doubt and intrusive thought process.
This can lead to anxiety and in worse case depression.
The repetition can be brought about by self-doubt and lack of awareness.
The list of noticeable compulsions is lengthy:
Excessive hand washing and general hygiene (fear of contamination)
Obsessive hoarding
Constantly preoccupied
The need for symmetry (even numbers)
Nervous behaviour
Obsessively enquiring about going to and coming from places
Checking and re-checking doors are locked, lights and sockets are switched off.
Checking bag or pockets for keys, purse or wallet.
Many with dyspraxia and dyslexia can be incorrectly labelled OCD
We each give off certain OCD traits due to the need to correct a short term memory deficiency (coping strategy).
If we don’t have structure and routine we forget so many things such as:
School Books, clothing, car keys, phones, people's names, etc
We tend by nature to be easily distracted, and this can affect us in regards to skipping our routine.
We need to make lists for various things.
Children often correct work that is okay, they always wear out their rubber long before a pen!
Dyslexics and dyspraxics are not time aware and will constantly ask the time (sand timers can help).
If someone gives an idea and its logical, it sticks.
We also very much are monkey see monkey do, we can pick up repetitive habits this way too.
People with processing issues such as those with dyslexia and dyspraxia can be brought out of any of the above, time and practice is required.
It’s also important for parents to avoid the chance of many of the above happening and this once aware be picked up before they become habit forming.


All our posts are for guidance only and professional advice should always be sought.  
 Dublin Toby © 2019

Relating Learning To Known (prior achievement) & Given Situations by  Dyslexia Toby © 2019

We often try to learn in the style of others (not our learning style). Meaning we focus on the unknown rather than the known areas within in a subject.
I have written extensively on brain types as many regular visitors to my blog will testify.
Well, here we go again, most like me who are dyslexic, dyscalculic, dysgraphic or dyspraxia will know that we learn better when we relate the subject required to a real time event.
We have an excellent long-term memory and poor short term, most events/happenings are stored in our long-term memory.
Would it not therefore make sense to utilise this strength!
Most like me tend to do better as a returning learner than we do during our initial education, why.
We have had more events, more happenings, and yes we have increased our long-term memory bank, this allows us to relate our learning to our real life events.
We are far from suggesting that all students studying for the first time should skip education or press pause till they reach mid to late twenties.

But it does mean that teachers/educators and parents should look at this and try to devise methods that allow the student to work in a kinaesthetic way. Relating things such as mathematics, and language, the very way we would in technology classes. When I want to see an improvement in my language skill, I take a trip abroad. Eat with the locals, and try to live as they do.
When I am shopping, I use that language in my head to prompt purchases. I am living the lesson and guess what it works.

I so often heard my teachers mention that I was lazy and stupid, yet I could take anything apart and fix it without manuals.
Much to the amazement of others.
Can you teach a football player, chef, mechanic; to play football, cook, or repair cars from a classroom, the answer is a simple no.
Education and its direction for teaching are much more simplistic than the chicken or the egg.
If industry came before education, why wasn't education based on industry!
Experiential learning (learn by doing/experience) is just that, we glean much from what we do in practical, hands-on ways,  opposed to the academic study that is taught in a linear way.  Certainly core subjects;  described in simple terms as the process of acquiring information through the study of a given subject (maths, English) without the necessity for direct hands on experience. We know that both methods aim at instilling knowledge with the students as individuals; however one size doesn’t fit all.
Those that have a strong left hemisphere are more likely to gain from linear structured tuition and the right hemisphere from more creative, practical demonstrations.

David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Model (ELM)



Jacobson and Ruddy, working on developing Kolb's four-stage Experiential Learning Model and Pfeiffer and Jones's with their five stage Experiential Learning Cycle. Taking these theoretical frameworks and created a simple, practical questioning model for educators to use in promoting real life and critical reflection within experiential learning and development.
•    Did you notice...?
•    Why did that happen?
•    Does that happen in life?
•    Why does that happen?
•    How can you use that?
These questions are put forward by the educator after a given experience, and gradually lead the group towards a critical evaluation. Using reflection on the given experience, and an understanding of how they can apply the learning to their life (lateral thinking expanded).
I recently watched far from a madding crowd the other day and being a visual factual learner I took more from the production.
Thomas Hardy worked the plot and created the various twists and turns…indeed, I am more likely to read a book if it’s an autobiography than I would fiction.
We, often quoted as being three-dimensional learners and we thrive on adding value to our life through learning and teaching us through a linear program doesn’t press the right buttons.

Turn your child's homework into a practical experience and yes that can be done in all subjects including Maths.
Cut up boxes to calculate area, or fill a measuring jug. Use foot tapping for tables, add and subtract.
Get them to help you cook and turn that into maths.
Cutting a slab of butter is division and subtraction.
Oven temperature plays a part and timings (lapsed time).
best of all it's non-confrontational

If you can do it and make it stick then so should teachers/educators.

Questions on Far From The Madding Crowd welcomed.4





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 Toby  © 2019
Developmental Delays and Missing Milestones (DCD, Dyslexia, ADHD and SPD) by Dyslexia Toby © 2019

We often wonder about development in our children, like when should they sit, crawl, walk and talk.
We know from being around people we are all different in so many respects, but in the main areas like sitting, crawling, walking etc. we are pretty predictable.  So why do some of us appear to be later at hitting these nonetheless important milestones?  

We now offer online support in literacy  www.facebook.com/Online-Dyslexia-Support-1811247802448782/ 
There are four milestones that we are concerned with in early child development and they are - Motor Development both fine and gross (movement of limbs and core), Cognitive (thinking), Communication (speech development and basic understanding of needs) and Social and Emotional (engaging with others).  It’s worth mentioning that there are parameters in normal development and we should only get concerned if we get well past these dates (walking between 10 and 18 months).  Now let’s take a closer look…
We know in the case of DCD (developmental co-ordination disorder) that due to the nature of the syndrome, we are likely to fall short on many of our aforementioned milestones.
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One answer could be we quite possibly try to bite off more than we are able to chew.  One of the most unfortunate things is memory and if we all stop for a minute… how far can you remember back to?  Was it five or six? maybe not as far back as that.  Few of us can go back to the point where we should have hit certain milestones… it would be great if we could. We would be able to explain to our peers why we find these complex hurdles so problematic.
I once heard that if it takes someone without a learning need x time to learn a new skill then multiply that by 4 for someone with a learning need… so did it takes us a few months to figure out how to crawl?  Then it would take up to 8 months longer for someone say with DCD to learn to crawl.  I bum shuffled and never crawled.
Back to what I started to say earlier… maybe there is a possibility that we find crawling very complex and would have fared better if we had the ability then to break it down to arm movements and then followed by the leg movement. I know this was the case when I learnt to swim… I just couldn’t get the whole front crawl thing in one go and to this day I only do the breast stroke as I find the whole leg-arm and breathing thing in the front crawl far too much to take on.
This planning can also apply to social interaction and conversational fluency in such things as Asperger’s (DSM5) and Dyslexia. These can be further inhibited by destructive criticism and low self-esteem which causes us to withdraw from the vary areas that would aid our development.
Much of our learnt behaviour comes from listening to others through our visual or auditory channel, however those with DCD learn far more from watching and it’s important the person showing the tasks understands the need to slow the process down and make it repetitive for a successful outcome.
DCD and Dyslexia are things that never leave us but we can minimise their impact with time and the right help.
You may have heard me mention in previous articles that both Dyslexics and Dyspraxics have great imagination and superb long term memories, this all helps to build up our required skill sets.  Quite often we would fall short on our immediate memory and memory recall; this is due to lack of understanding in presented tasks and also through lack of stimulation. We like to use imaginative play like that in Lego, puzzles, things that are colourful, creative and can fuel our imagination.
You don’t have to look far for someone else with dyspraxia or dyslexia, as it affects between 6 and 10% of the population.
We can also have delayed speech due to poor facial muscle tone and the co-ordination required to produce early words, again time spent working with us on a one-to-one basis reaps great results (speech and language therapy).  We benefit from over learning these early routines; practice.
We generally show early signs of inactivity and later appear to be very clumsy, hence the early title for dyspraxia of clumsy child syndrome.
There also appears a link between dyslexia and dyspraxia to justify thoughts of some, but not all, that both have an impairment/deficit in the cerebellar area of the brain, which controls much of our motor skill including posture, limb movement and eye hand co-ordination and this can affect phonological processing (vagueness of new and unfamiliar words)  and hand writing. This can also lead to frustration and would lead many to believe that this could include ADHD.
The cerebellar is the main controller in planning and motor control but not the initiator, this occurs in other areas of the brain.  The cerebellar does the fine tuning making our actions smoother and more deliberate.  This is a good pointer towards dyspraxics like myself being clumsy on occasions… I can overcome this, as can many like me, by slowing things down, practicing and concentrating when carrying out tasks.  We can also include balance etc., as the receptors in the body suddenly recognise rapid changes in limb movements, such as coming downstairs carrying something (constant weight changes), signals to the brain and the cerebellar makes the required change rapidly… in dyspraxics this has to be adjusted as we go and is far from automatic.
We can also count SPD in on this, we rely on receptors to calculate high, medium and low tolerance, especially where temperature is concerned.  We can all relate to being in a room where one of us is too hot, one too cold and another quite happy with the temperature… maybe you have never associated this with sensory processing disorder.
The cerebellar also plays an important role in improving co-ordination.  An example would be catching a ball… each time we try to catch, this important area of the brain would try to make adjustments, along with the eye and hand, until the technique is mastered.
The cerebellar is virtually the last area of our brain to mature and can go some way to explaining why many feel that DCD ebbs with age!
There is growing evidence to point to the importance of early intervention whilst the cerebellar and other areas are developing (plasticity), as opposed to later in life when the corrective actions take far longer to implant (requirement to over learn).
Thankfully, there is plenty of information on all the above and great resources available to help improve skill sets.
All our articles are aimed at giving guidance and we always advice that you seek the relevant professional advice. Dyslexia Toby ©2019