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Dyslexia Positive has devised several checklists for discussing the possibility of dyslexia (both strengths and difficulties) for people working in particular employment fields. We hope this will be useful for individuals, for employers and for practitioners wanting to raise awareness or go through an initial screening with a client. You are free to use these resources, so long as you acknowledge Dyslexia Positive as the source. Please comment on what you think of these documents, and give us feedback if you use them.
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There has often been a reluctance for students who are going on a work placement, and for employees in general, to tell their employer that they have dyslexia or dyspraxia.
Here are some good reasons to tell your employer that you have some kind of learning difference:
- It opens up communication channels between you in an honest interaction
- The fact that you have disclosed your difference will help there to be better understanding between all of the staff
- It will enable you to access support – directly through your employer and via Access to Work
- It will reduce your anxiety about ‘being found out’
Bullet points adapted from: Supporting Dyslexia Adults in Higher Education and the Workplace (2012) Ed. Nicola Brunswick p.109One Comment »
I’ve been reminded of the BUG method for reading assignment questions (Price & Maier, 2007):
Box the action word
Underline the key (important) words
Glance back (check that you have read it correctly).
Discuss what you understand by the term dyslexia by reference to a critical review of research literature.
Box the word ‘discuss’ – that’s what you have to do.
Underline ‘dyslexia’ – that’s what you are talking about.
Glance back over question to make sure that you know what other information you need. Which of it is also important?
Leave a comment or ask a question »
For students with dyslexia, who are not entitled to Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and the wealth of software, there are free software applications available. Some have been put together by JISC Advance into a tool to help you to use them more effectively. Go to: http://mystudybar.blogspot.co.uk/
My Study Bar is only available to users of Windows Vista, XP or 7.Leave a comment or ask a question »
Some dyslexic adults (and other people) benefit from tinted glasses to help reduce print disturbance (labelled as Meares-Irlen syndrome, scotopic sensitivity or just visual stress).
I am indebted to Alison for finding a website that lists optometrists who can do specialist assessments.Leave a comment or ask a question »
Recently, I carried out some research on the effects on parents when their child is assessed as having dyslexia. As someone who works primarily with adults with dyslexia, I was interested to find out more about diagnosing dyslexia at an early stage. The research was a dissertation at the end of a masters degree, at the University of Birmingham, and like my colleague, Sue Partridge, I now find myself with new letters to add after my name.
Sadly, the results of the research did not fill me with glee: they point to a system that is failing children and their parents. The recently published report by Dyslexia Action: Dyslexia Still Matters (see the Dyslexia Action website for the report), further backs up the research.
What are we doing as a society who consistently seems to fail our children and their parents? As an adult specialist, I often find myself picking up the pieces where people have been disregarded, ignored or labelled as just thick or lazy. The research that I carried out demonstrates that the system doesn’t seem to be improving as one would expect in an age of inclusivity and equality.
If you haven’t already, please sign the petition to make it essential for teachers to have training for dyslexia. See: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/20674 [now closed!]
In the meantime, let’s make sure that we fight for the rights of our children with dyslexia, who will become adults with dyslexia.
Rather than discuss my research findings from my newly acquired Doctorate here – I thought I would reflect briefly on what it means to get a qualification.
On a personal note, I feel a certain ambivalence about using the title, Doctor, in my personal and professional life, with its slight air of stuffiness, its connotations of medical expertise, which feels disloyal to the social model of dyslexia, and rather strangely for me its gender ambiguity. In Italy doctors of anything are designated either Dottore (male) or Dottoressa (female) which feels right. Alternatively, being a sometimes insomniac listener to Radio 5 Live’s science phone-in, I like the way Aussie Doctor Karl refers to all callers as Doctor Tim, Doctor Jane, etc. So maybe next time you see me, call me Doctor Sue and it will make me smile (my children call be Doctor Mum, as there are now 3 Doctor Partridges in the family!)
The other important aspect for me is that we should encourage all the people we come into contact with professionally to be ambitious. The shy young lady newly told that she is dyslexic and not ‘thick’ can contemplate going to university. The slightly aggressive middle-aged man starting out in new studies can be told he is no longer the black sheep of the family, looked down on by already qualified siblings.
So – and this is a lesson to me too – be proud of your efforts and your qualifications.Leave a comment or ask a question »
“Creative, imaginative teaching works for all learners, not just dyslexic ones.”
With these words at the start of his presentation to the PATOSS conference, Alistair McNaught had me hooked! And then it got better.
“If you get it right for dyslexic learners, you get it right for everyone.”
“Dyslexic learners are motivators for positive change.”
So what were some of his suggestions for teachers which can benefit everyone? I do not intend to try to summarise all of his presentation, but here are a few of his ideas which I hope will inspire and interest you.
If you want to take information down verbally instead of writing it and are away from your computer, you can use a voice recorder.
You need to have a voice recorder with you and Dragon Naturally Speaking software on your computer, which you are proficient at using.
Record onto your voice recorder (some of the new ones have a special file allocated for Dragon).
To transfer it:
- Open Dragon on computer. Microphone should be off.
- Open a new blank Word document.
- Put your voice recording onto your computer (should auto transfer), save it in a new named folder e.g. ‘transcriptions’, so that you can find it. On desktop is easiest. Drag from voice recording file to transcription file.
- Go to Word document. Make sure cursor is over document, not anywhere else on page.
- On the Dragon toolbar it says: ‘transcribe’. Click that. You then have to select the file to take it from.
- Press ‘transcribe’.
- Click into document and it should then magically turn your voice recording into text.Transcribing
You will need to try out your voice recorder to see where the best place in relation to your mouth is in order for Dragon to recognise your words.
Also, you will already need to be proficient with Dragon and have correctly trained it to recognise your voice.Leave a comment or ask a question »
For many years Pat had been employed by a large public body, working at a small local site. She was conscientious, enjoyed her work and felt valued by her line-manager.
During reorganisation, she was moved to a large open plan office at the main site. Her role and the tasks to be undertaken remained the same but Pat felt unable to work effectively in this new environment. There was continuous background noise she found it impossible to cut out; telephones and mobiles ringing and pinging; people talking to colleagues, sometimes calling across the office; people talking on the telephone; scraping of chairs; closing of doors. Additionally, the bright light made it difficult for her to see a clear image of text, both on the screen and on paper.
Pat made errors, fell behind with her work and found the whole situation extremely stressful, which only exacerbated the problem. A once happy, experienced and competent worker, she became anxious and miserable and was unable to cope. Prior to reorganisation, her attendance record had been excellent. Now, she was having time off work; the stressful situation was affecting her health. Her new line-manager was unhappy with her performance. Pressure was applied, more stress was created and the situation worsened.
For some months, Pat had been attending her local college to improve her literacy and numeracy skills. There, she was assessed as dyslexic and with appropriate support she gained Level 2 qualifications in both subjects. Pat showed her Dyslexia Assessment Report and Recommendations to her line manager, together with her new qualifications. She hoped that this would improve their relationship and that recommended reasonable adjustments would be made, to enable her to work efficiently, but there was a complete lack of understanding.
Sadly, the situation was not resolved satisfactorily. The case went to tribunal. The tribunal found that the employers were at fault and awarded Pat compensation. After months of ill health, she left her job; a sad end to a formerly happy and successful career.