So, what is dysTalk?
Launched in September 2008, dysTalk is an information-sharing social enterprise devised by Will Orr-Ewing and Josh Pull. Our five-word mantra for the project is "helping your child learn better." It's for parents of children who are looking for information on how to optimise their child's learning. dysTalk provides information on specific learning difficulties that may be undermining a child's performance as well as learning strategies that can potentially be applied to all children of all abilities.
How will it do this?
dysTalk is separated into online and offline components. Offline, it is a lecture series starting in London, at which the top professionals in the learning difficulties world will speak to parents. This affords the crucial opportunity of interaction: both between the parents and the speakers; and between the parents themselves. We want parents to exchange information based on their experiences.
This ethos of sharing information is then reflected on dysTalk.com. We have filmed each lecture so that talks can be watched online for free. These lectures are accompanied by lots of shorter, 5 - 15 min talks and articles by similar professionals - as well as some parents.
The site also contains a resources section including useful books, links, professionals and schools. This section allows users of the site to upload and review any resources that they have found helpful.
These pieces form the focus for a Forum, in which parents can discuss the ideas raised further - as well as anything else that takes their fancy.
Why was dysTalk set up?
The original concept for dysTalk emerged as a result of Will's work running a tutoring company in London (Keystone Tutors London Tuition). A number of the children for whom Will provided tutors have dyslexia or dyspraxia; certainly, many of the parents are anxious about learning difficulties and unsure about the next step. One group of parents that he worked for had set up Dyskids several years ago - a very popular support network and lecture circuit in London that had to be shut down due to time constraints on the mothers who were running it. It was at their urging that we decided to set about relaunching this lecture circuit and furthermore adding the website to make information freely accessible to a wider audience. Will and Josh worked from January 2008 to the launch of the site in September 2008 on how best to achieve this.