Author Archives: Rebecca Young

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – February 2019

In the headlines

1 February 2019

The TES reports that Warwickshire County Council are sticking with their guidance document that questions the science around dyslexia despite being criticised by the House of Lords over it last Autumn.  Their stance is backed by Julian Elliot, Professor of Education at Durham University.  However, Helen Boden, Chief Executive of the British Dyslexia Association hit back saying that the Council’s stance was ‘ludicrous’ and she vowed to battle its ‘regressive and demeaning approach’.

21 February 2019

Digital Journal reports on a company called Lexplore, which uses AI technology to collect eye gaze data from children reading a screen of text.  The company suggests using it on children between 2 and 5 years old to establish their reading level and determine whether the child has problems with the saccadic eye movements used in reading.

28 February 2019

Jane Broadis, a teacher in the South-East of England has tweeted a powerful reverse poem written by one of her 10-year-old pupils on the subject of dyslexia.   She signed the poem AO.  It has received an extremely positive reaction online and been picked up by the world’s media.

Follow us on Twitter.  We are @DyslexiaBytes

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – January 2019

In the headlines

8 January 2019

Kath Wood of Remploy writes that teachers and trainers in the Further Education and Training sector may be missing the potential in their learners who have dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD or Autism.  She says it is important to appreciate neuro-diversity and see their different strengths like visual thinking, the ability to spot patterns and themes and their creativity.  Teachers/Trainers must take into account individual learning styles to help everyone reach their potential.

16 January 2019

Chris McNorgan, a psychologist at the University of Buffalo, has produced a neuro-imaging study to help develop tests for early identification of dyslexia.  Using fMRI scans on 24 participants of ages 8 – 13, taking part in rhyming tasks, the research seems to show a lack of coordinated processing in the four brain areas known as ‘the reading network’ in the children who struggled with the tasks.

23 January 2019

Made By Dyslexia has produced some awareness training films using dyslexic celebrities including Keira Knightly, Orlando Bloom and Darcey Bussell.  The films cover topics including dyslexic strengths, dyslexic challenges, how to create an inclusive classroom and how to identify dyslexia.

Direct links to the first two films on youtube follow –

24 January 2019

Professor Robert Plomin, from the Behavioural Genetics Department at King’s College London claims that diagnosing dyslexia is wrong as there is ‘nothing to diagnose’. He controversially claims that there is no dividing line where you have it or do not.  He claims that it is ‘a dimension’.  Others argue that dyslexia has a wider impact than just causing reading difficulties.  Helen Boden, Chief Executive of the British Dyslexia Association states that it is ‘a complex neurological difference’.

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – December 2018

In the headlines

8 December 2018

Ann Clucas, who has worked as a teacher, a head of department and a SENCO has shared the three classroom strategies she discovered dyslexic pupils most want their teachers to use.   Firstly, they want to be given enough time to do a task, secondly, they need visual support for example using diagrams, pictures and mind maps to convey information and using a font size of between 12 and 14 pts for any text and providing printed out copies of any PowerPoint slides so they can follow along easier in class and thirdly, they would like discreet help by having a prearranged learning buddy or using red and green cards on their desk to signal if they need help or not.

12 December 2018

Cathryn Knight, Lecturer in Education at Swansea University writes on the website The Conversation about her recent research into what teachers know about dyslexia.  Her survey found that three quarters of her sample understood it to be having problems with writing, reading and spelling.  They had no knowledge of the potential additional issues for dyslexics of trouble expressing themselves, phonological processing differences, decoding difficulties and memory problems.  She also reports that the teachers themselves felt they did not receive enough training on dyslexia.

18 December 2018

Caroline Henshaw reports in the TES that the Department for Education (DfE) is scrapping the need for multiple dyslexia assessments from February 2019.  Previously, students who had been assessed with dyslexia at school had to undertake costly second assessments after the age of 16 to receive support at university or work.  Fees for the assessments could range from £600 to £800.  The move has been welcomed by dyslexia charities as ‘dyslexia does not go away’.

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – November 2018

In the headlines

5 November 2018

Campaigner Ross Duncan writes an impassioned plea for more inclusion of neuro-diverse people in the workplace. He explains that given the right support someone with dyslexia can be an enormous asset to a company, particularly in the workplace of the future where their skills of vision, perseverance, problem solving, empathy, delegation and creativity will be vital. He is recommending an inclusive and ‘neuro-friendly’ workplace but he knows this will require a cultural change in recruitment policies and training procedures.

11 November 2018

Driver Youth Trust’s Director of Education, Jules Daulby has written a piece for Schools Week about how to get the most positive effects from specialist teachers in schools.   Over her career she has seen specialist teaching go from being a free service provided by the Local Authority to a traded service through the local authority, or bought in by schools privately or sometimes a full-time specialist teacher might have been trained using funding from the Department for Education following the Rose Report of 2009. She feels that the specialist teacher should be assessing, advising and implementing strategies both in the classroom and in interventions. She recommends that the other teaching staff see how the specialist teacher works and what they do so as to provide CPD to the classroom teaching staff in the area of literacy difficulties in children.

13 November 2018

James Rix, Founder and CEO of Harrix Group writes in FE News about his delight in hearing the content of EY’s report on the future of work. The report states that the skills that a dyslexic person has will be vital in the future workplace. He points out that one of the key conclusions of the report is that dyslexia is still regarded by teachers, employers and the Government as something to be overcome whereas the authors of the report see it as a difference and something that is valuable to society and business.   Dyslexic individuals have different abilities to neuro-typical people – strength in creativity, problem solving and communication skills.

28 November 2018

The European Dyslexia Charter has been launched at the European Parliament in Brussels by MEP Francis Zammit Dimech, with the aim of giving dyslexic people more opportunities to fulfil their aspirations in life. The Charter has been developed because research has established that there is a high level of disparity in understanding and addressing dyslexia across the 28 EU states. Many dyslexics still feel a stigma about the condition. It is estimated that the European dyslexic population is between 50 to 100 million people.

Click on the following link to read the full document –

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – October 2018

In the headlines

1 October 2018

A third of Local Authorities face a shortage of dyslexia teachers despite the 2009 pledge from Ed Balls, then Education Secretary, to spend £10million to train 4000 teachers as dyslexia specialists. The Driver Youth Trust have discovered that in the years since the pledge was made only half of the allocated funds have been spent and only 3000 specialists have been trained. The Driver Youth Trust’s Freedom of Information request also discovered that the Department for Education does not record where the trained teachers live and work.

2 October 2018

Matt Hancock MP, Health Secretary, has spoken about his dyslexia for the first time in print for an interview with GQ magazine. He was only diagnosed at university at 19 years old. He talks about how important technology has been for him particularly Microsoft spellcheck. He feels that dyslexia has helped him to think laterally because he has to work round problems. He is still a slow reader so has to have documents written in a ‘pithy way’ and he writes in the same way himself.

3 October 2018

Dyslexia support in schools is being made a priority in Borders Schools by the Scottish Borders Council. They are going to run a training programme for staff and issue a comprehensive set of operational guidelines for primary and secondary schools. Councillor Carol Hamilton, Executive Member for Children and Young People has said that the Council wants to make sure that children with dyslexia are ‘identified in a timely way and are provided with appropriate support’.

4 October 2018

Professor Nigel Lockett, the Dyslexic Professor, who first appeared in the Monthly Dyslexia News Digest in May 2017, is continuing his campaigning for better understanding of dyslexia as a learning difference not a learning disability. He went public with his own dyslexia in 2017 to help people see that anything is possible with the right support.  He blogs at and is Professor of Entrepreneurship at Lancaster University.

4 October 2018

McDonald’s branches in Sweden supported World Dyslexia Day this year by making all of their digital outdoor ad displays simulate the effect of dyslexia by jumbling up the letters out of order. The in-restaurant menus did the same. The ad campaign was an attempt to demonstrate the daily frustrations for dyslexic people.

Here is a short film about the campaign on youtube –

9 October 2018

Made By Dyslexia has published a report called “The Value of Dyslexia: Dyslexic strengths and the changing world of work” on future work-related skills and abilities and how dyslexics possess them. They are campaigning for neuro-diversity in business and better support for dyslexic children in school so they can reach their full potential.

13 October 2018

Read the full report “The Value of Dyslexia” from Made By Dyslexia and EY at the following link.

15 October 2018

The first Global Dyslexia Summit was held in London on October 15 and was livestreamed on facebook here

15 October 2018

Nick Jones the creator of the private members’ club chain Soho House has given an interview to GQ Magazine about how he feels that his dyslexia has helped him as an entrepreneur. He says that he was lucky that his Mother spotted his dyslexia at age 11 or 12 and sent him to Shiplake College, which specialises in dyslexia. He says that his dyslexia makes him look at things differently and create things differently.

23 October 2018

Alistair Low, a games designer based in Dundee, has produced a game to show players what it is like to have dyslexia. The game is called A Familiar Fairytale and is text-based. It uses jumbled letters to simulate the frustrations typically experienced by someone with dyslexia.

There is a short taster demo of the game here at this link –

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – September 2018

In the headlines

21 September 2018

Sally and Bennett Shaywitz have been researching dyslexia for decades. They run the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. Much of their research has drawn on data from their longitudinal studies on a cohort of children from kindergarten entry to mature adulthood. They have studied the prevalence of dyslexia, the gender composition, long-term outcomes and economic consequences of dyslexia in adults. Sally Shaywitz wrote “Overcoming Dyslexia” in 2003. Bennett Shaywitz is using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to try and discern a ‘neural signature for dyslexia’.

25 September 2018

Matt Boyd, Founder of Exceptional Individuals has launched a 6 week training course for neuro-diverse people to help them improve their chances of gaining employment. As a dyslexic himself he feels the job selection process of replying to job adverts and being interviewed is tougher for people with dyslexia and that their talents can be overlooked.  The Exceptional Individuals own website has a Jobs Board called Incluzy and the website provides support and ideas for job search for neuro-diverse individuals.

30 September 2018

BBC 4 broadcast the documentary “Farther and Sun: A Dyslexic Road Trip”, which is a film made by Richard Macer with his 11 year old son, Arthur exploring whether dyslexia is a disability or a gift.  Arthur was diagnosed at age 9 and Richard has always suspected he himself is dyslexic but was only tested during the making of the film. The assessor discovers that he has a Specific Learning Difficulty because he has developed good compensatory skills.

The pair visit academics including Maggie Snowling and Julian Elliot and successful dyslexics like Richard Branson and Eddie Izzard to learn more about the debate around dyslexia.

The hour long programme is still available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.



Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – August 2018

In the headlines

9 August 2018

Freya Ridings, 23, is a singer-songwriter who has expressed her gratitude for being dyslexic in an interview with the BBC. She says that her severe dyslexia is the reason that she began to write her own songs at the age of 9 because she struggled so much with learning anyone else’s that her music teachers gave up on her. She attended the Brit School from age 16. Her single “Lost Without You” has begun to create a stir. Watch her video for the single on youtube here


Dyslexia: to disclose or not?

August has been a quiet month for dyslexia stories but that just allows us to highlight some of the work done by the West Lothian Dyslexia Network on Dyslexia and Disclosure.

West Lothian Dyslexia Network is made up of a range of partners in housing, employment, learning and community-based services, who work together to enable fair access to services for adults with dyslexia. The network’s members identified that some of the adults they supported were reluctant to disclose their dyslexia, which makes it difficult to put relevant adjustments in place. The network decided to conduct a survey to get a better understanding of people’s motivations relating to disclosure.

Although some respondents had positive experiences to share on disclosure, many had felt discriminated against. Interestingly the survey found that younger people are more likely to disclose with all the respondents who were 25 or under doing so to help with work or learning.

Follow the link on West Lothian Dyslexia Network’s webpage to download the full article originally published by Dyslexia Scotland.




Monthly Dyslexia News 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.

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 –

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



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.

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 –

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.