Thursday, 28 March 2013

Anger Management continued part two gaining an insight into the frustrated mind
By Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

Weak Cognitive Connections: Children with Processing disorders and other specific cognitive impairments ADHD Asperger’s/Autism may not understand events in the same way others do or indeed the way they tend to react to commands and some portrayed moments are quite different to their able peers. We who have an immediate responsibility and indeed onlookers need to determine to gain strong understanding of the child or adults thought process before and during any (melt down) uncomfortable event. Many less able might not even show outward signs of distress and this needs to be closely monitored but may still leave them with an inward feeling of discomfort. Quite often the situation leads the child to believe it is a fight or flight situation…this is the opposite of where we appear to be most of the time (Parasympathetic) certainly in the main with able children/adults …in most cases children do not sense they are moving into the Sympathetic nervous state…we adults always see this first and its often the way we react that can infuse or defuse the situation.
Children and some Adults might mirror your reaction taken from a previous outburst (monkey see monkey do)used in a previous/similar situation…they don’t always understand how they should respond at their own age range and in turn can be colourful and graphical and use swear words they don’t fully understand and they will struggle to understand an Adult reaction and comment on their behaviour (if met with an adult response from a child…don’t react by giving an adult response)?.

Talking through anything needs to be specific, but put over in a very simple way; quite often a graphical approach will be the way forward as it is very often difficult for the child to understand the spoken word (flashcards are good) also emotions cards. We need to filter what images and words are within the auditory or visual reach of our children as most things are taken quite literally. If they witness a plane crash in the paper or on the news they might be reluctant to go on holidays if a plane is part of the travel arrangements.

Students with learning needs might be able to well require a different type of approach/supports to maybe their able siblings; this will largely depend on the individual’s level of maturity. Many students are able to process discipline, while others have specific deficits in this area. Some will take what you say to the letter even if you are only trying to get your point across with some degree of exaggeration.
Be careful when giving traumatic news to children with learning needs and also explain events they might witness (car accident etc.) in away appertain to the child’s age or level of maturity as this might be a degree below their chronological age...

Many children have difficulties with their level of social prowess, and may need far greater instruction anger management…levels of tolerance to movement, noise etc. will vary hugely and good communication is paramount as in all cases of managing anger and tolerance of things that are initially out of the control of the individual concerned. It is so important to take the approach as Rome was not built in a day and all this will take considerably longer…also be careful when looking back to the way you where parented as communications amongst many things has changes so much.

Our posts are for guidance purposes only and professional advice should also be sought .

You can find resources for a range of learning needs at

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Why’s and How’s of the IEP and the benefits to individuals in the learning environment by Toby Lee Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

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 article on Accommodation for further details).
This will include provision of in class support (SNA) and one to one (resource teacher), requiring extra resource hours.
There are 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 submersed 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 within 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 text book and also an audio or DVD to watch, such as Michael Morpurgo’s ‘War Horse’, for example.
Reduced homework 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 having 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.
The information is for guidance only and advice should be sought from learning providers.

Resources can be seen at our online shop and more information is available at

Monday, 18 March 2013

Dyslexia/Dysgraphia and Improving Comprehension - The Why’s and how to spot some of the Signs and improve your fluency by  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

We all like to listen to a good debate or story…fluent reading is very expressive and can captivate the listener even if they have little knowledge of the subject being read or discussed, some of the great narrators are gifted with their use of accurate, and appropriately paced delivery. Few can read to this high level of fluency. The author has written the book so as to be read in such a way that it takes in all who lifts the cover and continue to do so till the last page, firstly you have to enjoy what you read and also be able to retain much of the information gleened from reading. Reading should be fluid, silk like and expressive, sounds like talk, approaches the speed of normal conversation, and preserves the author’s original thoughts in their narrative. Fluency of reading is not a knee jerk start to gaining good sound comprehension, but it goes a long way in suggesting that children/adults understand what they have been listening too or indeed have read. Fluency and speed reading are an art that like any other has to be learnt. Speed reading becomes a further extension of this and allows those with some knowledge of a given subject to cover more ground whilst still retaining the content of a speech or the written word.
People who suffer with dyslexia and dysgraphia often feel left out or poor relations in this area of literacy…fluency can be improved like anything in life…it just has to be worked at...short term memory is a powerful tool when it comes to reading accuracy and speed, there are many resources available to help improve memory.

Generally speaking, high-fluency readers comprehend better, read faster, and read with greater accuracy than low-fluency readers (National Centre for Education Statistics, 1995). High-fluency readers differ markedly from their low-fluency classmates, and these differences are readily noticeable by the fourth grade. In a nationwide study of reading fluency, the National Centre for Education Statistics (NCES) found that high-fluency fourth graders read with expression and grouped words into meaningful phrases, whereas low-fluency fourth graders ignore sentence structure and read in one- or two-word phrases (1995).
How can you improve:
*Read books around your reading age
*Read books where you have a genuine interest
*Read books that captivate your imagination
*Read short stories to start with
*Make notes as you read through
*Make reflective notes after reading
*Get others to listen to you reading (this will build confidence)
*Tell others about the book and its content (this will gauge how much you have taken in).
We cannot under estimate the knock on effects from having good comprehension not just for reading and speaking but for building a firm base for improving academic ability in all subject areas.
There are many resources available to help improve comprehension and fluency in reading…We stock the Barrington Stoke dyslexia friendly range of books…these books have been taken by some of the great authors and reduced in complexity to allow those with a low reading age to read books with a greater interest and age range.
These books and a whole range of resources are available from our web site at

Why not try our 2create a story software and bring your own book to life?

Monday, 4 March 2013

Top Tip’ Dysgraphia -The Whys and How’s’ Dysgraphia by  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

Dysgraphia can affect many people in various ways…it is generally regarded as deficiency in the ability to put pen to paper in terms of the written word. It can b...e a handwriting issue, or a cognitive issue…taking thoughts from the mind and putting them down on paper, and can also be down to agraphia. 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.
Dyslexia 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.
Toby Lee Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013