Author Archives: Rebecca Young

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – August 2019

In the headlines

15 August 2019

Richard Branson has written an inspiring piece on his website posted on ‘A’ Level results day saying that ‘grades do not define you’.  He states that many entrepreneurs and business leaders had difficulties at school like he did.  He argues that exams do not always measure other ‘essential skills that the world needs’ like ‘reasoning, exploring, communicating and positively influencing’.

19 August 2019

Helen Boden, CEO of the British Dyslexia Association, writes an impassioned piece for The Independent on her opinion that dyslexics are discriminated against by the current GCSE exam system.  She feels that pupils should be able to use technology for exams, which would better reflect the modern, digital workplace.  Spelling, punctuation and grammar aids are integrated into the technology we use.

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – July 2019

In the headlines

13 July 2019

The Adult Dyslexia Centre has been given a grant of £1,500 by the Louis Baylis Trust.  The money will help them to continue their work of helping adults with dyslexia.  Established in 2003, the Centre now supports more than 300 people every year.  They offer assessments to children, information for employers and trainers on how to support dyslexic staff members.

26 July 2019

The BDA has attended a round table discussion event at the House of Lords on the issue of access to social security by vulnerable users.  The system is impenetrable to anyone with challenges associated with literacy, organisation and memory.  The BDA has submitted an evidence paper of case studies that highlights and details the issues and makes recommendations for improvements.

A bit of a quiet month here at Monthly Dyslexia News Digest, which allows us to bring you other stories like this great one-minute clip by Made By Dyslexia on Dyslexic Thinking.  The charity works to raise awareness of everything that people with dyslexia have brought to the world for example some of the world’s greatest inventions, brands and art.  All this innovation is down to the dyslexic way of thinking using Visualising, Imagining, Communicating, Reasoning, Connecting and Exploring.  Watch the clip here.

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – June 2019

In the headlines

3 June 2019

The Dyslexia Show is coming to Birmingham’s NEC next year on 20th and 21st March.  The free exhibition focussing on education, parents and carers and the workplace will deliver a range of resources and services along with inspirational speakers and CPD-accredited sessions.  The show’s director and founder, Arran Smith, intends the exhibition to raise awareness and share best practice.

5 June 2019

Another piece of HR research, this time conducted by Willis Towers Watson, has found that one third of businesses are failing to support neurodiverse workers.  Employees with dyslexia, dyscalculia and/or Asperger’s receive no additional support.  The report suggests that companies should hold workshops to raise awareness and offer workplace adjustments.  Companies should embrace the perspectives and value that neurodivergent employees could bring.

13 June 2019

A Sheffield Employment Tribunal has ruled that Shelter must pay £28,000 to James Bullers for unfairly dismissing him from his role as a helpline worker at the charity.  He worked as a phone line advisor before joining the instant-messaging webchat service.  He was removed from that job role because Shelter did not feel his written skills were good enough.  Mr Bullers was subsequently diagnosed with dyslexia and Shelter was found to not have complied with their duties towards him under the Equality Act.

Follow us on Twitter. We are @DyslexiaBytes

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – May 2019

In the headlines

May has been a quiet month here at Monthly Dyslexia News Digest but we bring you one uplifting story and one contentious story so read on…

29 May 2019

The British Dyslexia Association offers organisations the chance to receive their Smart Award, which is designed to recognise and promote good practice for supporting the needs of dyslexic and neuro-diverse individuals.  To achieve the award, organisations complete 6 simple steps that lead to dyslexic employees and customers being better supported.  The steps include awareness raising activity and identifying a dyslexia lead in the organisation.  In recognition of their support for dyslexia, organisations receive use of the Smart Award logo on their communications and publications, the Smart Award plaque to display and free licenses for online training modules along with other benefits.

30 May 2019

The debate continues over Warwickshire County Council’s dyslexia policy in schools as we covered in our Monthly Dyslexia News Digest in February this year.  The British Dyslexia Association continues to object to Warwickshire County Council’s policy describing it as a ‘ludicrous approach’ and stating that they are committed to ‘challenging this regressive and demeaning approach’.  Warwickshire County Council has withdrawn its guidance while it conducts a review, which is expected to be complete in June.

Follow us on Twitter.  We are @DyslexiaBytes

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – April 2019

In the headlines

12 April 2019

Philip Kirby and Maggie Snowling in association with the British Dyslexia Association have produced a detailed document called “Refuting the ‘dyslexia myth’: answering FAQs about dyslexia’s existence”.  They conclude that dyslexia affects 10% of the population and that it is a specific learning disorder, which varies in severity from mild to severe and has a genetic basis, which leads to differences in brain structure and function.  Download the full report from this link.

19 April 2019

Researchers at Cardiff Metropolitan University are using a tool they call RADAR, which stands for Rapid Assessment for Dyslexia and Abnormalities in Reading, to test children for signs of being dyslexic.  During the 15-minute testing process the child’s eye tracking is monitored and assessed to see if it is outside of the normal eye moving parameters used by successful readers.  Early diagnosis is known to really help children as it means they can be supported in their learning and do not lose confidence and self-esteem through not knowing why they are struggling to do things that their classmates can do more easily.

22 April 2019

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) has highlighted a dramatic increase in the number of Scottish pupils identified with autism, dyslexia and other conditions.  The figures are based on an analysis of the annual Scottish Government Pupil Census and show that between 2012 and 2018 the number of pupils identified with autism spectrum disorder, for example, in publicly funded primary, secondary and special schools has more than doubled.

The increase is partly due to better recognition and diagnosis of the conditions.

At the same time as more pupils are being diagnosed as needing extra support, more cuts are being made to ASN support in schools with decreasing numbers of specialist teachers, behaviour support staff and educational psychologists. There has been a reported cut in spend of £883 per pupil with ASN since 2012.

Follow us on Twitter.  We are @DyslexiaBytes

Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – March 2019

In the headlines

4 March 2019

Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India has provoked outrage by seeming to poke fun at dyslexia.   His comment appeared to be an attempt to ridicule his political rival.  Many have demanded that he apologise for his clumsy remark and the view of dyslexia that underpins it.

10 March 2019

Harry Potter publishers Bloomsbury Publishing are releasing a range of books adapted for people with dyslexia.  The books are in large dyslexia-friendly fonts and have tinted paper to reduce glare and provide maximum contrast.

18 March 2019

Acas, the UK employment watchdog is recommending that companies create ‘neurodiversity champions’ to help support neuro-diverse staff members.  The advice is that by creating a more inclusive workplace, organisations would be opened up to a pool of talent that might otherwise be overlooked.

28 March 2019

The Sunday Times and Fiona Gill, daughter of the late AA Gill have announced the AA Gill Award for next emergent food critic, in his honour.  The winner of the award will receive a £5,000 prize.   AA Gill was severely dyslexic and his articles had to be transcribed over the phone but this did nothing to detract from his witty and intelligent restaurant reviews.

Follow us on Twitter. We are @DyslexiaBytes

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’.