Jill on 01/12/2010 As an adult,it is very difficult undertaking a PhD. My topic is supporting adult learners with dyslexia, in vocational education. Being dyslexic, and trying to keep up with the reading, writing and thinking associated with the degree, is difficult. Although I need some support my IQ is ok and slightly above average. I seem to progress, and do not have the appropriate support to continue. I am really frustrated and feel disadvantaged, when I have never felt this way before in my career.I have always had supportive parents, teachers, work colleagues and lecturers.
Ruth Behan on 04/02/2010 I am a 57 year old dyslexic . I have overcome this ro some extent and now have a degree in Childhood and Youth Studies and some othe Qualifications. In the 1950's I was taught to read by the phonic method ( phonics is nothing new.) I agree this is helpful but I don't think it is the whole story because a big problem for people like me is remembering the multitude of words that just don't obey the rules. In order to cope with these I have to remember which workd they are, then convert the word into what it would sound like if it was following the rules (ie piece = pie- see ) then type or write it, then convert it back again to check it's correct. As my main disability is in my weak working memory this means I still struggle, even after years of study. So I would be wary of giving people the impression that phonic's is the whole answer.
About this talk: Professor Maggie Snowling gives an insight into dyslexia support & interventions for parents.
About the speaker: Professor Maggie Snowling holds a personal Chair in the Department of Psychology at the University of York. She is currently President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (2008-10); she was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2008 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2009. She is one of the Joint Editors of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. In 2008/9 she served as a member of Sir Jim Rose's Expert Advisory Group on provision for Dyslexia (2009).
Dyslexia Support & Early Intervention: In terms of supporting dyslexic children or children who show signs of dyslexia it is very important to intervene early. For families the question is what would early be? We know that in preschool children it's their speaking and listening skills which are the foundations for learning to read and for the development of phoneme awareness (the ability to reflect on the sound structure of words). That ability is very critical for learning to read in a system like English, which is essentially an alphabetic system where the letters and the sounds correspond and the child has to learn how that coding system works. In the preschool period, if children have got any oral language difficulties then it is really important that parents seek support for them. This would usually be from a speech and language therapist. If the problem is one of speech or speech production it is important that children get some face-to-face therapy. But if the problem is more with langauage or comprehension then parents should seek advice as to how best to enable their child to increase their vocabulary and to increase the range of sentences that they can use in spoken language. It is also wise, if possible, to help children learn the sounds of the letters of the alphabet as soon as possible. Obviously you don't want to go completely overboard, but choosing maybe one or two letters at a time to teach children letter sounds and to show them words that contain the letter sounds (be it at the beginning or the end) will help them get tuned into the notion that print or written language is related to sounds. Any teaching of letters that you can do before the child goes to school makes the task of learning to read when they get to school easier. Children with dyslexia are likely to take longer than average to learn letter sounds, so if you can get in early, just teaching one letter sound a week (or maybe two contrasting sounds) puts dyslexic children in a better position for learning when they get to school.
Support & Intervention For a Dyslexic Child in School: Once a child is in school a parent should have a pretty good idea of how their child's reading is developing by seeing how they are doing relative to their peers. Also, with the highly systematic phonic instruction that's now going on in schools, a teacher should be able to tell a parent if a child is having difficulty in learning about phonics and if they are going through the phonic phases slower than would be ideal. If that is the case then the school should be developing an action plan for helping children to develop the phoneme awareness and letter-sound skills that they are not picking up from the general mainstream classroom. That might be in a small group initially. There are quite a few catch up programmes that are effective in enabling children who are slowly developing phonics to go more quickly. If after such a catch up programme the child is still lagging behind then the parents should be thinking about asking for some more individualised help. Of course through all this, as a parent you want to remain as someone that your child can go home to, who can support your child emotionally and who can ensure that your child's strengths are built up and praise them for their abilities. Parents taking on the role of the teacher at home often doesn't work. Parents do need to support literacy development but ideally they should do this under the direction of a teacher who might be asking parents to do a little bit of reinforcement work or little pit of sound play but not doing all the remedial work themselves. Throughout the primary school years it remains important for parents to read with and to their children and to discuss stories with their children. Many children with dyslexia really have very good language and very good imaginations and they need the information that is in stories to fuel their creativity and their language skills. It is very important to keep the reading situation quite a special one. Don't mix up reading for pleasure with reading for instruction. Make sure you are reading a variety of stories so that children with dyslexia learn a lot about story structure, vocabulary, and in turn those abilities can help support for them for what might be a slow development of decoding and more basic reading skills.
Dyslexia, Dyspraxia & Overlapping Learning Difficulties: Amanda Kirby describes the co-occurrence of learning difficulties (also known as comorbidity) and how dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD overlap. She discusses the importance of the whole child approach when assessing if your child has any learning issues.
The Emotional Side of Dyslexia: Dr Lindsay Peer provides a view of the emotional difficulties associated with dyslexia. She also gives some consideration as to how to cope.