Sylvia gave an interview to Mike on Regal Radio this morning.
This event has unfortunately been cancelled.
There is going to be an event in Edinburgh, focusing on the Secondary Curriculum.
Keynote Speaker: Moira Thomson MBE and Assistive Technology by Iansyst Ltd, Edinburgh
Thursday 31st May 9.30a.m to 2.00pm
Edinburgh Zoo Conference Room
A key CPD seminar designed to help teachers develop a ‘core knowledge’ of dyslexia characteristics and their impact on learning – to help them adjust classroom practice to support individual learners and develop effective solutions.
The seminar will consist of two key presentations:
- Supporting Students with Dyslexia in the secondary curriculum:
- Dyslexia explained and how the characteristics may manifest in the classroom as barriers to learning
- How to identify them and meet the needs of individual dyslexic learners
- The approaches to develop effective reasonable adjustments that can minimise/remove those barriers (this will include access arrangements for exams).
2. Assistive Technology Presentation and Resources:
- Providing teachers with a good introduction to the range of assistive technology software available to support dyslexic learners including text-to-speech, speech recognition, mind-mapping and note-taking solutions
- Product presentations and supporting notes that make the connection between matching the appropriate AT solution with the needs of the learner.
A delegate pack of resources and a Certificate of Attendance will also be provided on the day. A free copy of one of the 25 titles in the series the ‘Supporting Dyslexic Learners in the Secondary Curriculum’ by Moira Thomson MBE, will also be included. (Available for either the English or Scottish curriculum).
About the Keynote Speaker:
Moira Thomson MBE. Iansyst ltd is pleased to be working with Moira whose career includes many years as an experienced teacher and development officer who managed a Support for Learning team in a large Edinburgh secondary school. Moira has previously been chair of Dyslexia Scotland South East providing advice and support for children and young people with dyslexia. Moira is a member of a team appointed by Scottish Government Ministers to be independent adjudicators for Additional Support Needs dispute resolution. As an educational consultant and assessor, Moira is an experienced CPD provider with a focus on dyslexia.
The Iansyst Team:
Iansyst Ltd has been established for 35 years as a leading dyslexia solutions and assistive technology supplier. Iansyst also has a dedicated office and Scottish team based in Edinburgh providing AT software and computer solutions with full help-desk support, on-site product training and a range of consultancy services for disability awareness and accessibility. Visit our ecommerce website www.dyslexic.com
Preview the latest Assistive Technology:
Iansyst ltd presents the very best AT software and hardware suppliers. At the seminar delegates will be able to try out a range of products to include: Scanning Pens, MindView, Kaz Typing Tutor software, No Isolation Avatar, Literacy Software, Hard of Hearing Devices.
9.30 Coffee on arrival. An opportunity to meet the team and preview the AT products
10.00 Welcome and Introductions. Janine King Managing Director Iansyst Ltd
10.10 Supporting Dyslexic Learners in the Secondary Curriculum. Moira Thomson MBE
11.50 Opportunity for questions and discussion
12.00 Lunch & exhibition
12.30 An introduction to the types of Assistive Technology available. Product presentations to include:
Making information accessible through:
- Scanning devices, Scanning Pens and the Exam Pen
- Dragon Speech Recognition
- Supporting literacy, reading & spelling with Text-to-Speech Software
- Organising ideas and planning using Mind Mapping approaches by MindView
- New to the UK, the ‘No Isolation’ Avatar robot enabling learners at home to be able to participate in the classroom in real time.
1.45 Plenary Session
Edinburgh Zoo will provide free passes for all delegates that attend. Delegates are welcome to visit the Zoo (and the Penguins Parade which starts at 2.15pm).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 –
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 –
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the headlines
4 September 2017
Jamie Oliver has spoken about how he views his dyslexia as having played a strong role in his success. He feels it gives him a unique perspective on projects. He would like people’s reaction to a diagnosis of dyslexia in their child to be more positive.
15 September 2017
Josh Penn has created an animation using kinetic typography that communicates what it is like to have dyslexia. Being dyslexic himself he decided to create something to help others understand the condition as part of the final year of his degree in Graphic Design at the University of Creative Arts in Canterbury. The typography in the animation moves, spins and flickers. The work is receiving a lot of positive feedback from dyslexia charities, teachers and parents. See for yourself at the link listed.
19 September 2017
Gemma Corby, a SENCo at Hobart High School in Norfolk shares her advice for helping dyslexic children in the classroom. She details tips on choice of font to use for presentations and handouts, the use of colour backgrounds on PowerPoint presentations, layout tips like using bullet points and numbering information points and the benefit of using visuals too.
20 September 2017
12 year old Ryan Hamilton Black is featured in a new book called “Dyslexia is My Superpower (Most of the Time)” by Margaret Rooke. Ryan feels that being dyslexic has made him more creative and made him be an extra good listener. Margaret Rooke interviewed 100 children with dyslexia from all over the world to record how they felt the condition affected them in their lives. She wrote a blog for us back in October 2015 when she published her book “Creative, Successful, Dyslexic”.
20 September 2017
The organisation WebAIM has developed a visual simulation of dyslexia to help people understand the issues for dyslexic people. The letters on the screen are reversed, inverted, transposed and the spelling is inconsistent. WebAIM is a non-profit organisation based at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. They help organisations to make their content accessible to people with disabilities. You can experience the simulation by clicking on the following link.
21 September 2017
Speech recognition solutions like Dragon from Nuance Communications use the human voice as the main interface between the user and the computer thus removing the barrier of the keyboard. These systems have assistive qualities for dyslexics as they are easy to use and accurate. They also offer the ability to read text aloud which makes it easier to identify and correct errors.