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  DYSLEXIA AWARENESS WEEK     This has been a huge success this year and I wrote the article below for my Linkedin page. Please go to my Linkedin page for more articles .        



Tips for parents of dyslexic children 
It doesn’t seem long ago that I wrote about helping your child with dyslexia over the school holidays. Now, its suddenly almost time for the new term and I am delivering my first INSET for the new school year in Oxted on Thursday! Perhaps some of these ideas will help with stress free return to school. 
A couple of years ago , I heard of a young boy with ASD who spent the summer trialling the bus route to his new Secondary School. On the first day he didn’t turn up at the school and they called his mother who finally tracked him down – still on the bus. Whilst he had been given every instruction about the journey, he had not been given the specific instruction to get off the bus when he got to the school - and so had gone round and round till his mother found him. Hopefully things will go better for your children. 
Children with dyslexia often don’t like change and if they have been a primary school with one class teacher then adapting to a large school with many curriculum teachers can be very daunting. Starting the new term can be difficult for children and parents alike! 
Most importantly make an appointment with and speak to the SENCo as soon as you can if you have concerns. 
If your child has had a formal assessment over the Summer ( I know I have been busy!) take a copy of the report into the SENCo as soon as possible. All reports have a Summary section at the beginning of the report – normally after the assessor’s statement and qualifications /contents sheet . This can be taken out and distributed to all concerned and form part of the pupil profile schools build up. Bullet pointing your child’s strengths and weaknesses could help too . Make sure any outside interests where your child is achieving are noted by the school . It is really important that you help develop your child’s strengths out of school sadly schools tend to concentrate on weaknesses. 
Fatigue is a feature of being dyslexic so ensure that you and teachers watch out for this during the term. 
Start the term with doubles of as many things that you can – so much will get lost! Second hand uniform sales are a great way of building up spares. Charity shops may be selling cheap copies of the class reader or the GCSE set texts. These can then be used to highlight key passages or prevent time being lost if the primary text is left at school. Teachers know and will plan which texts they will be studying a year in advance normally ( I used to). 
Don’t forget some recommendations made in an assessment report may not be practical. Many Teaching Assistants are not specifically trained in dyslexia and SENCO’s often have the SENCo Award which is means they can do an Annual Review but not the teaching. Specialist support outside school is expensive but both the BDA and Patoss hold Tutor Lists for your area. Look for a teacher with an AMBDA (Associate Member of the BDA) qualification if you can. 
One of the best things to do is teach your child to Touch Type - they cannot suddenly use a laptop for exams and it has to be their 'normal way of working'. The BBC have a free Touchtyping course called DanceMat on their website. For more specialist programmes try Touch Type Read and Spell which helps with literacy as well as touch typing. Much assistive technology is free now eg Dragon Speech to Text software is now pre-loaded on many laptops or a free app can be downloaded onto an Ipad or phone. The new Reading Pens are still expensive for parents , but I expect will go down in price in time, and are a godsend -especially as they are connected to the Oxford English Dictionary. One of the things that dyslexic children often fail to improve is their vocabulary as they are not picking up new words through reading. 
“Toe by Toe” although an old resource , is cheap and works- don't be afraid to use something that is not electronic and new ! 
Look for local parent’s groups or the BDA has some group specialist lessons in London and Bracknell. 
Finally – perhaps encourage the school to think about recognising Dyslexia Awareness Week – it is in the first week of October and is an opportunity to celebrate Dyslexia ! More information is on 
Good luck! 
Katrina Cochrane 
NB. All recommendations my own through years of experience and I am not paid to endorse any products. 
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