What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. This can impact on literacy development, mathematics, memory, organisation and sequencing skills to varying degrees. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed (Rose, 2009).
The characteristics associated with a specific learning difficulty impact upon a range of skills and tasks operating across all learning processes (with additional demands posed by examinations in particular).
Dyslexia can co-occur with other SpLD’s and most commonly with dyspraxia, other co-occurring difficulties include AD(H)D, Autism and Dyscalculia.
Many dyslexics are never formally identified and can have very successful careers by using the positive aspects of their SpLD. We all know about Richard Branson , Richard Rogers and Tom Cruise but the CEO of Goldman Sachs is also dyslexic and puts his success down to his dyslexia. Many others have experienced huge difficulties which have led to impaired self esteem and motivation when teachers around them have not understood the complexity of their needs.
What are the signs of Dyslexia?
for example good vocabulary and oral ability but not being able to put ideas down on paper
days of the week/months of the year
Concept of time
Poor concept of time or not being able to tell the time
Not being able to remember instructions or repeat back a telephone number
Poor sense of direction
difficulty telling left from right
Numbers or letters
Reversal of numbers or letters and Forgetting PIN numbers
Good days and bad days
or as one adult described to me "good months and bad months"
Not being good at team sports
particularly at the end of a school or work day due to having to work so hard to keep up with everyone else
There are many good sites for both parents and employers and these are just a few of them;
The BDA (British Dyslexia Association) is a national charity and their Helpline is open to parents, teachers, employers and adults. They can be contacted confidentially on 0333 405 4567. Dyslexia Action, another national charity supporting dyslexic adults and children, will offer a free half hour consultation in one of their national Centres, if booked in advance. Go to www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk to find your local Centre and book a Pre or Post Assessment Consultation with one of their specialists.
There is much information out there about the SEND reforms and one of the best resources for parents can be found on Dyslexia Action website.
The BDA also have a network of Local Dyslexia Associations which you can join and meet other parents with similar issues. Go to BDA Dyslexia to find your local Association and support each other.
SUPPORT IN EXAMS
As the exam season draws closer you may be interested to read the Driver Youth Trust Good Practice guide to Access Arrangements. If you have dyslexia or SEND or you are a parent of a child who has, this simple guide will tell you exactly what support is available in public exams, such as GCSEs and A-Levels.
Increasingly children and young people are using computers and other forms of ICT in exams as well as in the classroom. The Driver Youth Trust also have a guide on making the best use of ICT to support dyslexic learners which might help. The BDA have a New Technologies Committee who test out new resources and post reviews. They can be found on BDA Tech.
SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYEES
Many employers have their own Disability Networks and even Dyslexia Champions within their organizations eg Ernest and Young, Genesis Housing etc. The BDA have useful information on their website.