It is estimated that 10% of people in the UK over 16 have dyslexia to some degree.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling (Rose, 2009); sometimes maths is affected too.
It comes from a difficulty in dealing with the sounds of words, which makes it especially hard to learn to read words using phonics (teaching to read and write by sounding out each symbol in a word e.g. the sound /k/ can be represented by c, k, ck, or ch spellings).
People with dyslexia often find it hard to remember lists of things they have heard, or to remember a name or a fact quickly.
People with dyslexia often have strengths in reasoning, in visual and creative fields; dyslexia is not related to general intelligence.
Dyslexia is not the same for everyone: it can be mild or severe; and it varies depending on other strengths, or difficulties, that the person may have. More importantly, it varies depending on the kind of support and encouragement that is given at school, home and work.
I have dyslexia, or I think I may have dyslexia, what next?
What support can I get from Dyslexia Action?
1. Free advice
Dyslexia Action Learning Centres offer free 30-minute advice sessions to help you find the best course of action.
2. Dyslexia and specific learning difficulty testing
We offer a range of assessments, designed for people who suspect they may have dyslexia. Options range from a short screening to a full diagnostic assessment.
Diagnostic assessments are carried out by a specialist assessor to identify strengths and weaknesses. The assessment may indicate dyslexia, another specific learning difficulty, or that no specific difficulties exist. Whatever the outcome, recommendations are provided to help with the most appropriate way forward.
An alternative is to complete a short screening interview using a questionnaire. This will not give a formal ‘diagnosis’ but it should allow possible problem-areas to be recognised and give a good starting point for an action plan.
Range of options
It is important to discuss the range of options for assessments with a Dyslexia Action Advisor prior to booking, to ensure you get the assessment that is most appropriate for your needs. All the centres have fully qualified staff to support you with your choice and ensure you are provided with the most appropriate and value for money solution. Assessors may be specialist teachers or psychologists, and all are professionally qualified and registered.
3. Tuition and support
Dyslexia Action’s specialist teachers can work with you to develop an action plan, taking account of your personal goals as well as the information from an assessment. The plan could include recommendations for technology, advice about ‘coping strategies’, advice about improving key skills through teaching or coaching.
Dyslexia Action Learning Centres offer a confidential teaching and support service on an individual or group basis to help with literacy, numeracy or organisational skills.
What support can I get at work or when seeking work?
- Access to Work: A free specialist disability service that gives practical employment-related advice and support to disabled people, whether they are working, self-employed or looking for employment.
For further details, contact the Access to Work Centre directly where you will be offered advice and guidance from an Access to Work Advisor. Visit: www.gov.uk/access-to-work
You could also contact your local Jobcentre or Jobcentre Plus office and ask to talk to an Access to Work adviser or a Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) for advice and an application form.
- Workplace consultation and coaching: Rather than attending lessons, Dyslexia Action can work with your employer and offer mentoring which may involve help with organisation, report writing and presentations.
What support can I get whilst studying or undertaking a course?
There are three main areas of support for students:
1. Special Examination Access Arrangements – provision of extra time, reader/scribe, specially modified examination papers, etc.
2. Equipment and Aids - dictaphone, personal organiser, laptop, etc.
3. Specialist Support - specialist tuition, study skills, note-taker, etc.
The type and extent of support will depend on the severity of your difficulties. Check your college/university’s website for more information. It is also advisable to make an appointment with the Learning Support Officer, or equivalent. They will advise you on whether you are eligible for different types of support, and how to apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) which can assist with costs that may be incurred as a direct result of a disability.
For more information please visit: www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas
- Dyslexia Action Learning Centre: Everyone with dyslexia is different so it is best to discuss your specific needs with your local Dyslexia Action Learning Centre
- Dyslexia Action Website: Our website provides a range of helpful resources. Or you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find regular ‘top tips’.
- Assistive Technology: This can be useful for general support and learning. It includes voice recognition software, text-to-speech communication aids, organisational aids such as mind mapping software, electronic calendars and much more.
- Load2Learn: A support service which offers a free user-friendly way of providing appropriate learning materials to learners who find it difficult to read standard print. It offers a variety of book-downloads in a range of formats and adapted to suit the personal reading needs of individuals. Visit: www.load2learn.org.uk
- The Dyslexia Action Online Shop: Additional learning resources can be a great help to support learners with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia. Our online shop sells products like Units of Sound; a computer based literacy programme to support reading, writing and spelling. Visit:www.dyslexiaactionshop.co.uk/.
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that primarily affects reading, writing and spelling but may also impact on memory, organisation, mathematical and sequencing skills. Dyslexia affects people of any age, intelligence level and background, and difficulties vary from slight to severe.
Many adults do not know that their difficulties may be the result of dyslexia or that they have learning problems, especially if they have developed strategies to hide or cope with their difficulties. It is never too late to get help – we work with you to develop your potential and fulfil your goals.
If you think you or a loved one may be dyslexic, you can contact us to discuss your concerns either in person at one of our centres or over the phone.
We provide individual support as well as small group support for adults, including working with the unemployed, university undergraduates, self-employed, parents and employees for workplace learning. We teach adults of all abilities by developing individual learning plans to address their specific needs.
Funding may be available from Access to Work or our Learning Fund which supports adults who would otherwise be unable to afford our help.