Author Archives: Rebecca Young

Monthly New Digest – July 2018

In the headlines

6 July 2018

John Spence writes about overcoming dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Irlen Syndrome. He had a difficult time at school in the 1970s and 1980s due to the conditions being undiagnosed. He thought it was normal to see ‘words swirling in 3D’ on the page but it meant he struggled to learn to read. In order to hide his difficulties, he developed a persona as the class clown and learnt things by heart. He was good at practical biology and left school with an ‘O’ Level in Home Economics. He joined the military and enjoyed it because it was practical and physical. It was during his time in the army that the fact he could not read was uncovered. It led to him returning to education at the age of 34. He took a degree in biological medicine and health sciences at the Open University. An educational psychologist diagnosed him with Irlen Syndrome and he was able to use his Disabled Students’ Allowance to pay for a tutor. He used a laptop with read and write and speak and spell programs and had any reading material printed on green paper. It took him 9 years to complete his degree. He is now an Ambassador for the OU alongside his work in the military.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/06/experience-i-couldnt-read-until-i-was-34

16 July 2018

The advertising agency Leo Burnett London has won the digital creative competition run by Ocean and Campaign for its ‘A moment of dyslexia’ ad for the British Dyslexia Association. The ad uses facial-detection technology on Ocean’s digital out of home screens which can tell how long someone looks at the screen and the longer they do the more jumbled the words and letters become as a simulation of what happens to dyslexics looking at a page of text.

There is a short youtube film about the ad here –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQTIXdOCaq8

https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/facial-detection-tech-makes-dyslexic-experience-real/1487804

https://www.charitydigitalnews.co.uk/2018/07/17/dyslexia-association-digital-ooh-campaign-live/

22 July 2018

Brendan Morrissey, a Tech investor is launching a ‘bespoke social network’ for children and teenagers with dyslexia and ADHD called iDyslexic. He is partnered with the Irish Dyslexia Association and plans to tie-in with dyslexia associations around the world.

Sign up to be kept informed about the launch of the app at the website www.idyslexic.com

https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/tech-investor-to-launch-bespoke-social-network-for-dyslexic-children-37141341.html

 

 

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – June 2018

In the headlines

14 June 2018

Dr Daryl Brown, Headteacher at Maple Hayes Hall in Lichfield which is a school specialising in teaching dyslexic children, has written in the TES about how the introduction of EHC (Education, Health and Care) plans in 2014 has created problems in SEND provision in schools. His experience has been that local authorities are reluctant to do the necessary assessment tests on struggling children because if found to be in need of extra support the council has a legal duty to follow up with funding for the necessary support up to the age of 25 where needed. EHC plans are more complex than the previous statements of SEN, which had six sections. EHC plans have twelve sections.   Dr Brown is aware of the frustrations of parents trying to get their children assessed so they can access the support they need. The process has become lengthy and expensive as the parents are having to fight every step of the way.

https://www.tes.com/news/big-problem-heart-send-funding

24 June 2018

Sally Magnusson’s 26 year old son Rossie Stone who was diagnosed with dyslexia aged 11 has turned his innovative technique for learning into a range of educational comic books. He used to turn his notes for his Highers studies into comic book form with smaller text boxes with images alongside. He found the technique helped him to learn the content. Having done a degree at art school he founded Dekko Comics three years ago. The company produces monthly issues, which feature maths and English in every issue. Two Scottish Local Authorities are already using them in their schools and they receiving a lot of interest and acclaim.

Have a look for yourself on their website – https://dekkocomics.com

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/son-bbc-news-anchor-overcomes-12778550

27 June 2018

A team of Norwegian researchers claim to have discovered another ‘gene for dyslexia’ and have written up their research in the Journal of Medical Genetics. They investigated 36 members of a Norwegian family to look for patterns in their genes. The family has a number of members with developmental dyslexia who exhibit a different processing pathway in response to phonological tasks and have impaired discrimination of both rapidly presented visual and auditory non-verbal information. The team are adding to the on-going threads of research that document the array of genes that seem to be involved in dyslexia.

https://jmg.bmj.com/content/36/9/664

 

 

 

 

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – May 2018

In the headlines

3 May 2018

‘The Mirror’ reports that Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers and Helen Boden, CEO of the British Dyslexia Association, along with twenty-four other charities, have sent an open letter to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, stating that children with Special Needs like dyslexia, partial sight, autism or learning difficulties are being the hardest hit by the government’s policy of austerity. The spending cuts in education are meaning that these children are not getting the help and support they so desperately need. The NAHT conference to be held in Liverpool in May is going to demand that the government provides more funding for children with complicated needs.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/head-teachers-warn-children-disabilities-12469150

7 May 2018

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) have called on the Scottish Government to review how local authorities are supporting children and young people with complex and high level needs. There has been a decline in the number of children with additional support needs (ASN) such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD receiving a so-called Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP). Having a CSP entitles the child to additional resources and places statutory duties on local authorities to review and ensure that the support provisions contained within the CSP are being met. Local authorities are more reluctant to provide CSPs due to the on-going cuts in health, education and social work services.

https://www.scotsman.com/news/leading-providers-of-services-to-children-call-for-more-support-1-4735841

22 May 2018

The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) has released its 2018 Style Guide which aims to encourage designers, businesses and teachers to consider dyslexics when making typeface, colour, spacing and imagery choices in their written communications including websites, apps and brands. The BDA has been publishing the guide annually for twenty years. It has been reviewed by researchers at the University of Southampton, who have collated the most recent research on dyslexia and readability. Recommendations include using sans serif typefaces like Arial, Verdana, or Tahoma, making fonts at least 12 pt with headings sized twenty percent larger than the normal text and for the first time looking at the spacing between letters and words which has an impact on readability too.

https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/21-27-may-2018/designing-dyslexia-style-guide-make-reading-easy-everyone/

Download your own copy of the Dyslexia Style Guide 2018 from this link to the British Dyslexia Association website –

https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/common/ckeditor/filemanager/userfiles/Dyslexia_Style_Guide_2018-final.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – April 2018

In the headlines

19 April 2018

Researchers in the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Iceland have published findings in the journal “Cognition” which seem to show that there is a connection between dyslexia and visual processing. They claim that the dyslexic subjects in their experiment had ‘abnormal face processing’ and exhibited ‘specific deficits in high-level visual processing’ which they say explains their dyslexia.

http://icelandreview.com/news/2018/04/19/icelandic-researchers-find-connection-between-dyslexia-and-visual-processing

26 April 2018

Theo Paphitis has told Business Leader that his dyslexia has helped him in his career as a successful entrepreneur. He claims that it led to him creating a whole new world for himself in finding alternative solutions from the norm for processing and analysing information. Skills that he employs in running his businesses of Ryman, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue.

https://www.businessleader.co.uk/i-wouldnt-be-where-i-am-today-if-i-wasnt-dyslexic-theo-paphitis-talks-business-and-success/44171/

26 April 2018

Richard Branson has given an interview to CNN Money about his life and career from being thought to be the ‘dumbest person at school’ due to his undiagnosed dyslexia to making his mark in a number of different business sectors including the record industry, mobile phones, trains, cruise ships and planes. He values taking risks in business and learning from any failures along the way.

http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2018/04/26/richard-branson-virgin-group-rebound-orig.cnnmoney/index.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – March 2018

In the headlines

11 March 2018

Andre Agassi’s Early Childhood Neuroscience Foundation has teamed up with Square Panda to fund a dyslexia-assessment game called Readvolution , which they hope to make available for universal screening for dyslexia in the U.S.A.

Original source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/11/andre-agassi-square-panda-readvolution-dyslexia/

24 March 2018

Writing in “The Guardian”, the Secret Teacher sees huge delays in assessments being undertaken on struggling children and feels that there is not enough funding for schools to have enough staff to help struggling children in the classroom. Read the full article at the following link –

https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2018/mar/24/secret-teacher-were-setting-dyslexic-children-up-to-feel-like-failures

27 March 2018

The British Dyslexia Association has produced an animation called See Dyslexia Differently, which challenges preconceptions about dyslexia. The animation has been sent to primary schools to raise awareness and spark debate and discussions. The BDA has also worked with Twinkl, a teaching resource website to produce further resources on dyslexia for schools. Follow this link to see the animation on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbWspi2_A1Q

Follow this link to see the BDA’s further teaching resources

http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/educator/additional-resources-for-educators

Original souce: https://www.charitydigitalnews.co.uk/2018/03/27/charity-turns-animation-spread-message/

31 March 2018

Angie Fox has written a lively article about understanding her daughter’s diagnosis of dyslexia. They live in Australia where dyslexia is not reliably recognised or catered for despite legislation since 1992. She can tell her daughter has many positive traits like the ability for Big Picture Thinking, problem solving skills, innovation and creativity. Her daughter was diagnosed aged 7 when she was tested privately at a cost of $1,200. She has received hundreds of hours of private, one-on-one intervention at $95 an hour. Angie knows that her family has been lucky to have the resources to support their daughter in this way. She feels the Australian education system is unfair to dyslexic children.

Original source: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/31/existing-between-the-lines-getting-to-know-my-daughters-dyslexia

 

 

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – February 2018

In the headlines

12 February 2018

Richard Branson writes about how the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, had dyslexia, which led to two of the innovative features of the way the company operates. The features are the use of memorable Swedish names and places to identify products rather than individual number codes and the use of pictures with no words on the assembly instructions. Dyslexia made IKEA!

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/how-dyslexia-helped-create-ikea

15 February 2018

HR magazine Re:locate Magazine reports that only 10% of HR professionals in the UK say that neurodiversity is included in people management practices despite the statistic that 10% of the UK population is neurodivergent. This inevitably means that neurodivergent individuals are unable to reach their full potential in the workplace and that the workplaces are missing out on using the unique strengths of their neurodivergent staff.

Uptimize and the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) have produced a guide called Neurodiversity at Work, which covers many issues including making your people management approach neurodiversity smart and how to build an inclusive, neurodiverse workplace. Read more at the link given.

https://www.relocatemagazine.com/news/hr-are-organisations-considering-neurodiversity-at-work-cipd

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – January 2018

In the headlines

21 January 2018

Jon Severs writes an exploration of the complex views and opinions around the use of the Comic Sans font in schools in The Times Educational Supplement. The much-derided font is widely used in educational settings for worksheets and displays with many teachers feeling that it is helpful for dyslexic pupils and for teaching handwriting but Severs claims that the research does not back up these supposed benefits. His overall conclusion is that it is the spacing of letters on the page rather than the letter shape that is the key to readability.

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/long-read-whats-so-bad-about-comic-sans-anyway

22 January 2018

Meredith Ringel Morris, Adam Fourney, Abdullah Ali and Laura Vonessen, researchers at Microsoft Research, University of Washington have investigated the needs of web searchers with dyslexia. Web search is an important modern literacy skill and dyslexia creates an accessibility issue for the process. The challenges faced are query formulation, search result triage and information extraction. The researchers found that people with dyslexia valued being able to use voice input to circumvent spelling challenges. They feel that search engines and websites need to change their user interfaces to be more accessible and user friendly.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/publication/understanding-needs-searchers-dyslexia/

29 January 2018

Kate Griggs, Founder of the charity Made by Dyslexia has given a TEDx Talk in Brighton expanding on her view that dyslexia is an advantage, not a disadvantage. According to yougov research commissioned by Made by Dyslexia, only 3% of people polled saw dyslexia as an advantage. Kate outlines her objection to mainstream education, which she feels takes away children’s natural creativity.

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/world-sees-dyslexia-disadvantage-its-not

 

 

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – December 2017

In the headlines

Behind the headlines

We report on two conflicting news stories published on the same day about Christian Boer’s Dyslexie font developed specifically to help dyslexics. We have covered this topic before back in June 2017 when reporting on the publication of “Muriel’s Murals” by Dean Wilkinson and Rebecca Morton which used the font.

4 December 2017

The Good News Network reports that Dyslexie font is designed specifically for dyslexia and that it really works. Boer devised a font that dealt with the issues of the dyslexic brain making the 3D movements of switching, rotating and mirroring the letters. He made the underside of the letters bolder so that they do not flip, he made the ‘twin’ letters like b and d no longer match up by slanting them differently, he made ascenders and descenders longer, he made bigger gaps in c, s and e, he put wider spacing between letters in words and he made capitals and punctuation bigger.   His font is widely used and is available to download for free home use at www.dyslexiefont.com

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/font-designed-specifically-dyslexia-really-works/

4 December 2017

Meanwhile researchers at the Behavioural Science Institute and Department of Special Education at Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands have reported on their findings on studies of the effects of the Dyslexie font in the Annals of Dyslexia pp 1-18. They claim to have discovered that Dyslexie font does NOT benefit reading in children with or without dyslexia. Separate studies claim that there is no difference between reading speed whether Dyslexie font or Arial font is used. Marinus et al (2016) claim to have discovered that if Arial font is matched with Dyslexie font for within-word and between-word spacing, reading speed is the same for both fonts. They conclude that if indeed Dyslexie font aids reading it is not because of the design of the shape of the letters but because of the increase in word spacing it uses.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11881-017-0154-6

11 December 2017

Researchers from the Department of Psychology at University of Jyvaskyla, Finland and Jyvaskyla Centre for Interdisciplinary Brain Research have discovered a longitudinal interaction between brain and cognitive measures on hearing speech taken when the babies are just 6 months old to their reading development when they reach the age of 14. The children in the long-term study had one or both parents with dyslexia so had an inherited risk.   This discovery could save years of waiting to see if the child has dyslexia and allow much earlier intervention and support.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-12-infant-brain-responses-secondary-school.html

14 December 2017

Judith Bliss, Founder and CEO of MindPlay, asks ‘Are you Dyslexia aware?’ She has produced a 10 question quiz for eschoolnews.com covering common myths and misunderstandings surrounding Dyslexia. Find the quiz at this link –

https://www.eschoolnews.com/2017/12/14/dyslexia-awareness-quiz/

 

 

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – November 2017

In the headlines

Behind one of last month’s headlines

Our final item last month dated 18 October reported on the research by French scientists Guy Ropars and Albert le Floch who claim to have found evidence that dyslexia is caused by physiological differences in dyslexic people’s eyes. Their paper garnered extensive coverage in the media, which is why it appeared in our round up. Since then though rebuttals of the theory have emerged and we report on them here.

27 October 2017

Mark Seidenberg, a cognitive and neuro-scientist based at the University of Wisconsin writes a powerful rebuttal of the French scientists Guy Ropars and Albert le Floch’s study. He feels the paper is a ‘terrible article’ and will have a ‘harmful impact’. He states that there is no single cause of dyslexia and that dyslexia is a spectrum condition. Read his forthright blog below.

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=35144

2 November 2017

A further detailed report on Mark Seidenberg’s rebuttal of Ropars and le Floch’s study appeared in Tucson News Now adding in criticisms of the research made by Jack Fletcher of the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston and Joe Elliot, researcher at the University of Durham who stated that in his investigations of research on dyslexia any explanation based on vision ‘always turns to dust’.

http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/36749672/experts-lambaste-french-dyslexia-study-claiming-to-have-found-cause-cure

6-11 November 2017

Scotland held its Dyslexia Awareness Week (as it always does a month after England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on 6-11 November. The theme this year was Positive about Dyslexia. Click on the link below to read Dyslexia Scotland’s round-up report on all the events that took place including the launch on 9 November of their new website for young people with dyslexia which is called Dyslexia Unwrapped and can be accessed directly by clicking on the second link listed below.

https://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk/dyslexia-awareness-week

https://unwrapped.dyslexiascotland.org.uk

17 November 2017

Nancy Gedge, consultant teacher for Driver Youth Trust wrote an article for the TES about the lack of but undeniable usefulness of specialist teachers who have undertaken qualifications at Level 7 in dyslexia and literacy difficulties. The awards are governed by the various dyslexia charities and mean that the teachers holding them are able to assess and diagnose dyslexia and suggest interventions or teaching styles that will benefit the student. She adds that the adjustments can be something as simple as changing the font you use in class, or adding bullet points or numbers to lines to help dyslexic students find their place in the text.

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/specialist-teachers-will-help-they-cant-weave-magic

22 November 2017

Professor Margaret Snowling, from St John’s College, Oxford has taken part in a half hour long podcast with the TES. She discusses the importance of early intervention for dyslexic children and how dyslexia is a continuum from mild to severe. Listen to the whole discussion at the link below.

http://tesnews.podbean.com/e/what-teachers-need-to-know-about-dyslexia-and-how-to-support-dyslexic-students-professor-margaret-snowling-talks-to-tes-podagogy/

 

 

 

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – October 2017

In the headlines

2 October 2017

Christopher Rossiter, Director of the Driver Youth Trust shares his thoughts on the state of dyslexia support in schools. He knows that many dyslexic children do get the necessary support in school that they are entitled to but he is also very aware of lack of funding in many local authorities where SEND provision is slipping away. He stresses the continued importance of Dyslexia Awareness Week in raising the issues for schools and teachers.

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/dyslexia-awareness-week-a-reminder-how-far-we-have-go-every-childs

3 October 2017

The website whatusersdo.com has compiled a useful set of dos and don’ts for making websites more accessible for dyslexic readers. They state that website owners should make reasonable adjustments to their websites to make them more accessible and user-friendly. Recommendations include using sans serif fonts e.g. Arial, using icons on the page as visual signposts and using lists of information rather than dense sections of text.

http://whatusersdo.com/blog/five-ways-make-usable-websites-people-dyslexia/?utm_campaign=Submission&utm_medium=Community&utm_source=GrowthHackers.com

4 October 2017

Aisling McGuire, Head of Learning Support in Belhaven School, Dunbar makes the case for using the teaching style adopted to teach dyslexic learners for everyone in the class.   She discusses 5 strategies that have application for all learners including breaking tasks down to facilitate comprehension and memory processes, repetition and teaching organisational skills in the classroom.

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/why-we-should-teach-all-pupils-if-they-have-dyslexia

5 October 2017

Sarah Driver, Founder of the Driver Youth Trust has written an article for The TES for Dyslexia Awareness Week about how important it is for school leaders to take dyslexia seriously. She makes 5 recommendations including deciding to make special educational needs and disability (SEND) a priority within schools and to follow through on this by ring-fencing SEND funding. She also stresses the importance of workforce development by buying in specialists to train teachers and Sencos.

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/five-ways-school-leaders-can-demonstrate-they-take-dyslexia

 

18 October 2017

French scientists Guy Ropars and Albert le Floch based at the University of Rennes have published their research theory that dyslexia is caused by physiological differences in dyslexic people’s eyes. They have discovered that the tiny light-receptor cells in the eyes of a dyslexic person are arranged in matching patterns in both eyes whereas in a non-dyslexic person the cells are arranged asymmetrically allowing the image from one eye to be dominant. In dyslexic people neither eye is dominant which leads them to make ‘mirror errors’ when reading. The researchers are testing an intervention technique using an LED light to erase the mirror image.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/18/dyslexia-scientists-claim-cause-of-condition-may-lie-in-the-eyes