I am really pleased to be able to inform you that I have released part one of four of the survey data that I collected in collaboration with the British Dyslexia Association and Dr Helen Ross and which was used to inform politicians in Parliament about the emotional or 'Human Cost' of dyslexia.
In the first article, I am sharing the data regarding Parental Anxiety and Dyslexia. With the data comes comments and interpretation from myself and Dr Helen Ross.
To read the article on The Studying With Dyslexia Blog click here.
One of the things that dyslexic adults do not realise is that there is support available for them in the workplace via a UK Gov scheme call Access To Work. As part of my work as a parenting coach I work with adults who are keen to find strategies to manage dyslexia when it gets in the way and to unleash the benefits of being dyslexic.
Recently, I had the joy of being able to write about this in the Anglia Ruskin University Alumni Magazine, Connect. I attended what was formerly called the Anglia Polytechnic University for many years studying for my degree and graduated in 1999. Many of my fellow students from back then will be in the workplace, have families and commitments that cause cognitive challenges and perhaps brings about feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and stress as life gets more and more complicated. If dyslexia is a part of that mix then my article in this magazine will be useful to adults having these experiences.
Parents of dyslexic children in Devon are looking forward to a seminar called 'Dyslexia & You' aimed at providing parents with much-needed information on how to empower their dyslexic child at home and at school. The seminar is a collaboration between two parents of dyslexic children who are passionate about sharing information and supporting other parents especially at the start of their 'dyslexic journey' when their children are starting to show signs of or have been diagnosed with dyslexia.
The event will be held in Torquay, Devon, UK on Saturday 5th October 2019 at the Brunel Manor Conference Centre.
John Hicks is one of the main speakers along with Liz Loly, both of whom are active consultants in the world of dyslexia with their own skills and experiences.
John Hicks is a parenting and neurodiversity coach working with families who are looking to make sense of the impact of dyslexia from a mental wellbeing perspective. With his online initiative, Parenting Dyslexia (subscribe to this website to find out more) John is supporting more than 900 families. John is also responsible for The Studying With Dyslexia Blog which shares information and inspiration to supporters of dyslexic learners.
Liz Loly is a qualified teacher and parent to a delightfully dyslexic son. With a background in communications, which began when working on the London 2012 Olympic bid, Liz now works as a Communications and Education Consultant.
Liz is personally and professionally dedicated to (some may say, obsessed with) sharing knowledge of dyslexia, and enabling everyone the opportunity and strategies to reach their own full potential.
Addressing poor self-esteem
Ways to support a dyslexic child at home
Use of assistive technology
Working with your child's school
In addition to the talks, you will have a chance to see and use dyslexia-related resources and tools courtesy of event sponsors and exhibitors; meet other parents and enjoy a hot lunch in a beautiful setting.
Tickets will be available from Thursday 18th April 2019.
On the 28th March, I had the pleasure of visiting the Leicester Dyslexia Association Spring Meeting where I delivered my talk "How Can Coaching & Counselling Support The Emotional Development Of A Dyslexic Student?"
One of the things that I am so passionate about is that when dyslexic students get the support they need, often their mental health has been affected by the experiences of having dyslexia prior to diagnosis. When some students get diagnosed at secondary school age and beyond already by then they will have experienced feelings related to poor self-esteem or anxiety. This becomes a part of their psychological landscape and despite (hopefully) getting the academic support, there is a huge need to support them psychologically. Once you develop a sense of poor self-esteem, even if you are then taught how to perform better at school or college a student won't necessarily have been able to then get rid of those feelings. They are often there for life whether they are aware of that or not.
The good news is that feelings of poor self-worth or self-esteem can be managed so that a child can be aware of them but somehow they can 'dial down the volume' of thoughts related to self-esteem that might affect confidence and motivation thus setting out on the road to realising potential.
In my talk, I discussed how dyslexia affects feelings of self-worth and how also dyslexia affects familial relationships and feelings and how being given an opportunity to talk about some of the psychological challenges behind having dyslexia is so useful.
I also talked about the difference between coaching and counselling and the expected outcomes. Both seem very similar in the way that they are delivered but do have very different outcomes.
If you would like to know more about my work as a coach supporting parents and young people as they make sense of what dyslexia means to them personally and how it affects families then do get in touch and I would be happy to tell you more.
Helen Boden, CEO of the BDA addressing parents at the Parent Pop Up Event in Colchester organised by Dyslexia Assist. Photo courtesy of Dyslexia Assist.
The British Dyslexia Association Parent Pop Up Event In Colchester.
On Saturday 16th February 2019, the Essex Dyslexia Association (Dyslexia Assist) in conjunction with the British Dyslexia Association brought together more than 40 parents of dyslexic children to network and listen to talks from specialists in the field of dyslexia.
Parents, got to find out more about what dyslexia is and how they have the right to gaining support for their children from the Local Authorities across the country.
The delegates also gained an understanding of how assistive technology can be used to support literacy and Microsoft's approach to providing features that help in their Learning Tools with One Note and their other apps.
John Hicks talked about how having dyslexia in the family can emotionally affect the members of the family and can sometimes affect how parents relate to schools from which they are negotiating support for their children. The key take away for parents from John's talk was that as parents we should build up a sense of self-awareness and know where our emotional reactions are coming from so that we can manage them when we need to be objective when working with our schools to get the best support strategies in place for our kids. John, who works with parents and young people to find those strategies stressed how important it is to talk about how we feel and to get help when we really need it, suggesting that either coaching or counselling could well be good resources to rely on to achieve this.
John also gave some preliminary data from the 'Human Cost Of Dyslexia' Survey that has been collecting views and opinions from more than a thousand parents about their experiences of supporting their children, the data from which will be presented to MPs in Parliament at the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dyslexia on March 20th in collaboration with the BDA.
Congratulations to Valerie Shaikly from Dyslexia Assist who organised the Parent Pop Up Event in Colchester as it was a resounding success.
What is the 'Human Cost' of dyslexia?It is hard enough for many to understand what dyslexia is and how it impacts on a child's educational development. Certainly, in terms of the education system, there are so many metrics in place that a child educational development can easily be tracked as the years roll on but all those metrics that indicate attainment or the performance of a school do not track the human cost of how dyslexia affects the lives of 10% of our population here in the UK.
When we hear announcements from Parliament about how they are 'improving' the education system we often here facts and figures being quoted. The use tangibles to justify action.
Sadly the human cost of dyslexia is not tangible and if it is, our politicians are not monitoring it. How are we able to measure levels of self-esteem in a classroom or how dyslexia can reduce a child's sense of self-esteem? How can we understand how a child's parents feel about negotiating support in school when, for some, their own experience as a dyslexic child was quite emotionally painful? How do feelings and emotions surrounding dyslexia impact on the life of a dyslexic child and their attainment at school?
How can we communicate the sheer magnitude of the human cost of dyslexia to our politicians so that we can inform them and change education policy so that the school environment is more inclusive and supporting for children with not only dyslexia but also other special educational needs?
It is with great excitement that I can tell you that I have teamed up with the British Dyslexia Association to present parents with a survey that seeks to hear their thoughts on this critical topic. With their input, I will be presenting the data to the All Party Parliamentary Group For Dyslexia on March 20th 2019.
On the 7th of February, I launched the survey on the Studying With Dyslexia Blog and already we are close to 1000 responses which in turn has given us more than 2500 comments about how dyslexia
The new branding for The Studying With Dyslexia Blog - Coming soon.
affects family and school life. It has only been five days and this response just shows how passionate parents are about supporting their dyslexic kids.
This is a great opportunity to inform politicians about the emotional lives of families who experience dyslexia on a daily basis and to help politicians take this into account as they shape education policy.
If you are a parent of a dyslexic child and would like to take part in the survey then please click the banner below to find out more and complete the survey.
Followers of Parenting Dyslexia will know a little about my journey as a parent supporting my dyslexic daughter through education and some of the challenges experienced on the way. What you may not know if how my daughter's dyslexia positively affected my own personal development and delivered some emotional challenges. This article if for parents who feel like they are alone in these challenges.
What was it about my daughter's experience that resulted in my own passionate mission to support others? How has the whole experience made me feel to date?
If you are a parent of a dyslexic child, then there is a chance that you are dyslexic too.
I hope that my experience can give you some insight and comfort and most of all a renewed sense of purpose to help your child be the best that they can be.
MindMap Studios' Darius Namdaran interviewed me last week about my experiences with dyslexia and parenting and I would like to share with you the resultant podcast that he posted.
I am really pleased to let you know that the British Dyslexia Association have very kindly asked me to deliver a webinar about parenting and dyslexia.
The webinar is entitled "How Does My Child's Dyslexia Affect Me?"
Since I have been aware of the effects of dyslexia in the life of my daughter as well as countless other young people, I started to notice that a lot of resources out there are focused on supporting a child with dyslexia from an educational or study skills perspective which is entirely right. However, as a collective dyslexia community, if we want to support our children effectively we need to think more widely about what needs to be done or focused on. We know that in young people with dyslexia, there are high incidences of depression and anxiety as they negotiate life in an education system that, on the whole, is not, dyslexic friendly. We also know that whilst the BDA quotes that approximately 10% of the population is dyslexic, this can only be based on the number of assessments that have actually taken place, therefore, there must be more people out there who have not had an assessment and yet live with the daily challenges of having dyslexia either at school or in the workplace. With diagnostic assessments costing between £350 to £700, having an assessment is surely prohibitive to those on low incomes, so there must be more people out there that are undiagnosed.
At time of writing, I am 46 and I know that when I was at school, I had a vague idea that there was a condition called dyslexia, but I knew nothing about it and I certainly wasn't aware of any of my peers getting in-classroom support for it. So it stands to reason that, knowing how hard it is to get school support (generally, there are some wonderful schools who support kids with dyslexia), there are going to be many thousands of parents out there who have the condition and who may not be fully aware of what they are experiencing or that for many years they have been putting strategies in place to overcome the challenges of having dyslexia.
So the focus of my talk is about ensuring that us, as parents are making sure that we are getting what we need to be able to deliver the best support to our children as they come to terms with their dyslexia.
Many readers of my blogs will know that my own daughter's diagnosis six years ago sent me on my own path of self-discovery leading me to a point of considering getting a diagnosis. If I have dyslexia then it is only mild but it has a huge impact on my ability to focus and concentrate, to listen and process what is being said to me verbally. This, in turn, has had an impact on my family and I have experienced depression and anxiety which I am thankful that I have been able to overcome through coaching and counselling over the years. Through that time I have still had to support both my daughters who both have special educational needs and I know that when I get the support I need to ensure that I can be the best that I can be, then they have had the best support from me as their father.
In my BDA webinar I will be talking about some of my experiences from a parental perspective and how I was able to keep myself healthy so that I was always able to support my child. If you attend you will get a number of insights that I hope that you may find helpful in your own journey parenting a child with dyslexia.
I hope that you can make it and more details can be found by clicking here.
This year saw the third SEN Jigsaw Conference take place in Leek, Staffs in April. The event brought together parents, teachers, and SENCOs to listen to useful plenary talks and take part in workshops that all focused on aspects of Special Educational Needs.
The video below will give you an insight into how the SEN Jigsaw Conference went:
The SEN Jigsaw Conference 2018 - YouTube
During the past three years, I have received a number of requests to bring the SEN Jigsaw Conference to different towns and cities across the UK, I would love to do this but am lacking the resources to do so. So I decided to do something slightly different which could still be incredibly useful to everyone that is interested in the SEN Jigsaw Conference.
My new idea is called the SEN Jigsaw Local. The aim of these local events is to bring parents together for an evening to listen to two SEN focused talks as well as have an opportunity to speak with other parents who are having similar experiences to you. My hope is to build 'SEN Jigsaw Local Communities" around the UK.
On the 19th September we will have our first one in Cambridge at the fantastic CB2 Bistro which is close to the centre of Cambridge. There is free and paid parking nearby and it is about a ten minute walk from Cambridge Station.
We have limited our numbers to about 20 and tickets are now available on EventBrite.