Tips on finding your way about

Map reading? Forget it! I have to find my way around a city by other means. When I planned a recent trip to London, I was able to find my destination and arrive there on time. There were some strategies that helped me. So I’d like to tell you about them here. I hope you might be able to use them to travel with confidence and success.

  1. I found out which bus to take, using the local travel website

I knew my journey in London would start from King’s Cross train station. I wanted to use the bus (rather than the underground) to reach my destination because you can see where you’re going from a bus, especially the upper deck.

So I needed to find out which bus route to take, and how often it ran. For that, I used the Transport for London website, which I found extremely dyslexia-friendly. Here’s the route diagram I used: https://tfl.gov.uk/bus/route/91.

To find the times you click on an arrowhead, like this > Arrowhead

And you can access the timetable from there. I was amazed at how easy I found it to read the times and timetable.

2. I located the bus stop, using a video and Google maps

Next, I had to work out where my stop was. I saw from the route diagram that it was called R. I needed to see a photo of the stop, rather than a map of it. So I googled ‘number 91 bus route + video’ and found a video of the bus route. It has a catchy soundtrack which made me feel positive about my journey!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8lrNfUyWBk.

The video let me work out where the bus stop was, in relation to the station.

Then I used Google maps in earth view to go for a virtual walk, from the train station to the bus stop. It was quite tricky to navigate but after some perseverance I managed to see my stop. That meant I knew exactly where it was and how to reach it.

3. I found out where to get off the bus, using a landmark / Google images

The stop I needed to get off at was the terminus of the route. It should have been easy. But I still managed to get off a stop early, and I know from using buses regularly that this is a common mistake people make. So I knew I’d need a landmark. I found one on Google maps (the National Gallery). Then I looked it up on Google images so I could recognise it when I saw it. I used it to find the right road for the walk to my final destination.

Final tips

  1. You can’t pay your fare with coins or bank notes on London buses. You have to pay by contactless technology; or by Oyster Card (the travel pass for public transport in London). If you plan to pay by contactless check your bank card has the contactless icon on it.
  2. To complement any verbal instructions you are given, ask your contact for an aerial photo of the whole building with an arrow pointing to the exact entrance you’ve to use.
  3. Plan in plenty of extra time to your journey in case of delays or mistakes
  4. Ask someone for help to plan your journey if you need it. Be specific in what you ask for help with.
  5. Ask for help on your journey if you need it. If I tell someone I’m dyslexic before I ask them for help, they are more understanding and patient.

By an anonymous adult member of Dyslexia Scotland

Advertisements

Cutting-Edge Technology from 3500BC

papyrus_featherYou probably don’t remember learning to speak. It happens too early. Most of us are chattering away before we’re out of nappies. But you may have painful memories of learning to read: the anxiety of spelling tests, word lists, and red pen.

That’s because speaking comes naturally to us, and reading doesn’t. Human beings have always talked. Our brains seem to be ‘hard-wired’ to pick up language. Put a normal baby in an environment where people talk to it, and within a couple of years it will have started to speak itself.

But put a normal person in an environment where there’s writing, and they’re unlikely to learn to read without being taught. That’s one reason why we spend such a large part of our childhood in school. Reading and writing isn’t usually something you just pick up.

Writing first developed in Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC. It started with pictograms, mostly used on receipts for purchases of beer. (There’s your fun fact of the day.) But then the city of Uruk developed symbols that represented sounds rather than things, so you could write down anything you could say. The Phoenicians developed this into a proper alphabet, and their trading network spread the cutting-edge technology.

However, for most of history, writing was reserved for experts like scribes and priests. Sometimes rich people and merchants would be able to read and write too, but it wasn’t until relatively recently that the ‘three Rs’ were considered essential for everyone.

So what has all this got to do with dyslexia? By the end of the twentieth century, the developed world finally achieved near-universal literacy – so dyslexia suddenly became visible. Even though ‘dyslexia’ describes a whole spectrum of challenges, reading and writing are the most obvious ones. In fact, dyslexia is only a significant problem if you live in a society where everyone is expected to read and write. Literacy has its drawbacks!

It might be tempting for dyslexics to wish we had been born in a pre-literate age, when we would have been just like everybody else, but that would be a huge loss. Literacy reduces inequality and enables social mobility. It provides huge opportunities for communication and co-operation around the world, without having to go through privileged mediators like priests and scribes. Reading fiction increases the skill of empathy. Some scientists even think that learning to read is necessary for analytical thought; being literate allows you to organise your thoughts and make connections between them, even when you’re not actually writing them down.

With the invention and growth of the internet, we’re currently living through a technological change almost as huge as the invention of writing. But it wouldn’t have been possible without writing. Even computer code is a form of writing, after all.

The written word can sometimes feel like the enemy to dyslexics, but writing is the thing that makes our whole modern world possible. That includes technology, like text-to-speech, that is making life easier for people with severe dyslexia. For better or worse (at least until the next dark age) our modern lives are founded on literacy.

Karen Murdarasi, guest blogger

About Me

 

Dyslexia: a journey of discovery

In May 2015, I attended an adult network meeting in Glasgow. The topic for discussion was ‘living with a dyslexic – a partner’s perspective’.   Hearing the discussion was really enlightening – I really started to understand my husband better. I’d suspected for some time that my husband and stepson were dyslexic, but at that time none of us knew for sure. I was already on a journey to discover more about some of the difficulties that I’d faced over the years and was assessed as dyspraxic in June 2015.

Fast forward to spring 2016 and my stepson had been screened at school and confirmed to be dyslexic. As a result of this, my husband decided to go for an assessment too, and the results confirmed his suspicions.

In my current role, I’ve learned a great deal about the journeys that people go through when they discover that they are dyslexic later in life. There is a need to reframe the difficulties that the person has faced in school, college/university, work and life in general; away from ‘why don’t I get this as quickly as other people?’ to ‘ah, that’s why I struggled with that!’.

If you have an understanding partner to talk these difficulties through with, it can help them to understand why you do those things that drive them round the bend. Even after 12 years together, we’ve learned new things about why we do what we do – especially around life admin. In previous years, I never really understood why the confident man I knew, felt anxious about booking a train journey while we were on holiday in Italy and why he had many piles of unopened mail! Now I understand that dyslexia was the reason. Trying to decipher timetables and communicate well enough to buy a ticket is hard enough, without trying to do this in another language too; opening a letter might mean reading complicated instructions, processing that information, then trying to find the right way to respond (and procrastinating a fair bit along the way – but that’s a whole other blog!).

We do wind each other up regularly – Me: ‘Why did you do/not do that?’ Husband: ‘Come on, don’t you know I’m dyslexic?! Or vice versa. We have a laugh about our foibles and the tension dissolves. I know I’m lucky, I have a neurodiverse mind and so does my husband – we can understand and empathise now about why we each do those things that drives the other one round the bend. We have grown as a couple, as we have learned more about how dyslexia and dyspraxia impacts on our daily and family life.

I know that not everyone has such understanding partners and if you are in that situation, please know that you are not alone. Come along to one of our adult network meetings. There is a real mixture of people, between those who learned that they were dyslexic while at school, but never really understood much about how dyslexia impacted on their daily lives; those who found out only when they went to college or university and thrived when they finally got the support that they needed; to those who found out much later in their lives and are still on a journey to learn more about themselves. All of them have stories to tell and strategies that have worked for them – come along and hear all about them. And if you feel like it, tell your own dyslexia story.

To learn more about the Dyslexia Scotland Adult Network meetings, visit our website here.

Helen, Volunteers Manager

 

 

Dyslexia Scotland Adult Network

This blog post tells you 10 things about the Dyslexia Scotland Adult Network, and 10 ways I benefit from it.

10 things about the Adult Network

1. What is the Adult Network?

A network of 3 support groups for dyslexic people in Scotland aged 18 and over. The groups meet in Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

2. Who coordinates the groups?

  • Stirling and Glasgow: a Dyslexia Scotland volunteer.
  • Edinburgh: a Dyslexia Scotland staff member.

3. When and how often do the groups meet?

  • Stirling: Saturdays 11am – 4.15pm, 4 times a year.
  • Glasgow: Monday evenings 6:30 – 8:30pm, 10 times a year.
  • Edinburgh: Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons, 4 times a year.

4. Are meetings confidential?

Yes. Network members are asked to value everyone’s right to privacy by not disclosing personal details of others outwith the meetings.

5. Who facilitates meetings?

The network coordinator, guest speakers, or Network members.

6. How many people attend meetings?

Usually between 10 and 20.

7. What happens at meetings?

Presentations, workshop activities, group discussion, informal chat and drop-ins.

8. What are the learning aims of the Network?

  • Learn about dyslexia
  • Improve your self-confidence
  • Develop belief in your potential to learn more
  • Share dyslexia experiences with others
  • Evaluate your own dyslexia experiences
  • Change your attitude to dyslexia to focus on your own strengths
  • Build on positive dyslexia strategies and transfer these to new situations

9. Do meetings cost?

No. Dyslexia Scotland has funding to cover the cost of room hire.

10. Do all 3 groups ever meet up?

Yes, there was a meeting in June in Stirling for all 3 groups. Another all-network meeting is being planned for June 2018.

10 ways I benefit from the Adult Network

  • I enjoy it! It always makes me feel positive and uplifted.
  • It gives me a safe space to articulate and share experiences with people who have had similar experiences.
  • I learn things that help me self-manage my dyslexia. (To me, the term ‘self-management’ means doing everything I can to manage my dyslexia.)
  • It gives me a fuller understanding of dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties. This lets me see where I fit in the context of the adult dyslexia community.  It also helps me understand and support my dyslexic adult peers better.  And it means I am better informed for talking to others about dyslexia.
  • It makes me feel stronger and more confident in my ability to cope as a dyslexic adult.
  • I can attend without signing up publicly because the communications are distributed by blind-copied mailing list.
  • It makes me feel normal because everyone else in the room is a dyslexic adult.
  • It lets me help other dyslexic adults by sharing tips and my experience. This gives me confidence.
  • It’s good to talk to other dyslexic adults because they make adjustments without me having to ask. For example, if I forget what I was going to say, they help me remember and understand if I don’t manage to.
  • It makes me feel hopeful and confident about dyslexic adults’ ability to support themselves and each other.

Final word

The Dyslexia Scotland Adult Network provides a unique form of support for dyslexic adults in Scotland. It has let me grow personally and professionally in ways that nothing else has.  I warmly recommend it to dyslexic adults as a chance to learn, feel part of a group, and help others.

More information and upcoming meeting dates

Please visit https://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk/our-adult-networks.

By an anonymous adult member of Dyslexia Scotland.

Thinking about Dyslexia

We live in more ‘dyslexia aware’ times.   We must be grateful for this, but not complacent.   Only when every child’s learning needs are assessed and the appropriate teaching strategies for each child are identified and in place can we say that the rights of the dyslexic child have been recognised.

Part of the increase in dyslexia awareness has been due to the number of dyslexic adults who have ‘come out’ about their dyslexia.   The impact of dyslexics in the public eye who talk about their dyslexia must not be underestimated.   Susan Hampshire’s book Susan’s Story: an autobiographical account of my struggle with words was trailblazing.   (The cover, and the cover page of the book, had each ‘S’ inverted, like it would have been in Susan’s handwriting.)   Also significant was the Kara Tointon TV documentary Don’t Call Me Stupid.   Both Susan Hampshire and Kara Tointon discussed the humiliation they felt during their schooldays, their yearning to be able to read ‘just like everyone else’, and in detail how as adult actresses they tackled reading their scripts and learning their lines.   Charley Boorman used press interest in his and Ewan MacGregor’s epic motorcycle journey from London to New York, via Europe and Asia, to talk about his dyslexia.   And it’s always good to listen to Henry Winkler, ‘The Fonz’, when he mentions his dyslexia and we learn of his work supporting and encouraging young dyslexics.

Moreover, in a blog published by Dyslexia Scotland, I shall not forget the profile maintained and the huge amount of work done for dyslexics by our President, Sir Jackie Stewart.

But, I have to say that I’m always slightly uncomfortable when the names of Sir Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein are mentioned in lists of ‘famous dyslexics’.   Both certainly had difficult times at school, and although it is known that Einstein was slow in learning to speak and learning to read, neither Einstein nor Churchill had, or could have had, today’s assessments for dyslexia.   These lists of ‘dyslexics from history’ must always be suspect, but I have to say that being dyslexic, every so often I hear something or read something about someone that makes me think, ‘Hmmmm.   Was he, or she, dyslexic?’   Two examples come to mind.   The comedian Tony Hancock used to confuse ‘left’ and ‘right’.   His producer Eddie Joffe once said, “When he got out of a lift he’d inevitably go the wrong way, even if he’d been in the lift umpteen times before.   An almost infallible method of finding one’s way in an unfamiliar place was to take the opposite direction to the one chosen by Tony.”   Then, just like Susan Hampshire and Kara Tointon, Hancock had terrible difficulty learning his lines.   Could he have been dyslexic?

A few weeks ago, after watching the documentary programmes about George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn on BBC Alba, I delved into some biographies of the man.   Custer, it turns out, was not the perfect student at his military academy; far from it.   He fooled about a lot and struggled to graduate, often just scraping a pass in his examinations.   His writing was strewn with errors, he mixed his metaphors and confused singular and plural.   After he was married, and had to write reports and articles, he always asked his wife Libbie to read them before he sent them off.   I do wonder whether George Armstrong Custer was dyslexic…

Vin Arthey, Guest blogger

How I let my dyslexia stand in the way of my author dream – until now!

Being dyslexic, I wasn’t able to write down all the stories I had in my head so, when I was a child, I’d act them out, play them out with my Barbie’s, or draw them as cartoons.

When I was 12 years old I started writing my first ‘book’. It was a story idea that I could see turn into a book, akin to the kind I was reading at 12, about being a confused girl on the verge of becoming a confused teenager. I still have the handwritten pages, done in a fat, colouring-in pen, as that was the most comfortable for my hand to use, and it’s so riddled with spelling mistakes, it’s hard for me to make out now.

I gave that story up for another idea at 13, where I started using a typewriter. I gave up on that idea at 14 for another one, which I typed on the old DOS system on the computer. Every year, I’d mature a bit more and so would my ideas and I’d start on a new one.

In 2009, being between jobs, I managed to write my first finished ‘book’, a children’s fantasy story. (On a technicality, a story is not a book until published, and you’re only a writer until published when you can then call yourself an author).

In 2015 I wrote my second fully finished story, an adult fiction called ‘Do You Believe in Second Chances?’ about relationships and how love can change over time.

I tried to get them published the old-fashioned way, by getting an agent, who would then approach a publisher, as that’s how it’s primarily done in the UK. However, I didn’t have much luck, and I must admit, I was quick to give up and move on to the next project.

People kept asking why I didn’t self-publish, on Amazon for instance, as an e-book. It was an idea – but a terrifying idea! I wasn’t earning a lot of money, as I was still studying, and couldn’t afford someone to design a cover for me, but more importantly, I couldn’t afford someone to spellcheck my story. I couldn’t very well publish a book, and expect people to pay for it, and then have it riddled with mistakes, now could I?

Then in May, Kindle was running a competition for an unpublished story over 50,000 words. I pulled ‘Do You Believe in Second Chances?’ back out and started editing and proofreading it as best as I could.

With only a few days to go, I read all the Terms and Conditions for the competition and came to realise you had to publish the book on Kindle to enter! That meant, setting up as self-employed, get a cover done, and put your book out there for sale, publicly!

I took the jump, and on the 19th of May 2017, I pressed ‘submit’ and my book went live! I was now officially a published author! After so many years of dreaming, wishing and hoping, I had made my author dream a reality.

The book will still have spelling mistakes throughout it and formatting problems as I’m such a novice, but I did it. Instead of hoping someone else would make my dreams come true, I went for it and did it myself.

Do you have a dream that you feel your dyslexia is preventing you from achieving? Tell us about your experiences, and what barriers you feel are in the way for you achieving this dream.  Or, if you have an example of removing these barriers to make your dreams come true, we want to hear about it by commenting below.

Guest blogger
Terese Smith

The Power of Purple

On the morning of my recent exam I received a text from my mum saying, “Remember to take your purple glasses!” That wasn’t because she hoped I would wow the examiners with my unusual fashion sense; the colour of my glasses reduces the effects of the visual stress associated with my dyslexia. In natural light, they don’t make much of a difference to me, but in artificial light they help me to read faster. In exams, it’s important to read fast, and let’s face it, they’re usually held in rooms with terrible lighting.

Different colours work for different people, and they don’t work for everyone. My purple lenses were prescribed for me at a specialist optician, but you can also experiment with different coloured paper, or computer screen backgrounds. You can even get transparent coloured plastic sheets to place over your computer or papers.

Colours are only one of the resources that can help. When I was a teenager I also got extra time in exams, because I couldn’t write as quickly as my peers. (Not so that anyone could read it, anyway.) These days I don’t really need that anymore, and I don’t have that many exams fortunately. But if your or your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia you can ask the school about extra time for exams, or being allowed to use a computer instead of handwriting.

Of course, life isn’t just about exams. In everyday life there are little things you can do to it easier for yourself if you’re on the dyslexia spectrum. As well as different colours, different fonts can make things better or worse. Studies have shown that fonts without serifs are easier for dyslexics to read. (Serifs are the little decorative lines at the ends of strokes.) Putting text in italics, on the other hand, make reading much harder.

Some of the best fonts for dyslexics are Helvetica, Verdana and Courier, which are available in most word processing programs. You can write your own documents in these fonts. If someone sends you anything in a Word file (.doc or.docx) you can also change the font to whatever you prefer – and maybe add a background colour, too.

So that’s reading – what about writing? Text-to-speech technology is much more widely available than it was. By downloading some software, you can dictate to your computer instead of writing on it. And with smartphones it’s even easier. Most have built-in apps that let you compose and send text messages, or search the web, without typing a word: OK Google, how do you spell ‘convenient’?

(You can find out more about assistive technology in this recent post.)

You can also set reminders on your phone, of course. That’s useful if you tend to forget important appointments, or even just to get the mince out of the freezer. And there are techniques that can improve your memory, things like memory palaces and using vivid images to ‘fix’ memories. There isn’t room to go into those techniques here, but anyone, dyslexic or not, can learn to use the brain they’ve got more effectively. And as a final backup, you can always get your mum to text you a reminder 😉

What are your top tips for handling dyslexic life? Let me know in the comments below.

Guest blogger, Karen Murdarasi

Purple glasses_KM

Seeing dyslexia in a positive light

think positive

As a mother of a dyslexic ten-year-old, I must confess that I have not always thought of dyslexia as being a positive thing.  I have been focussing on the barriers to my son’s learning, instead of thinking of the positives.

Recently, when I saw that entrepreneur Richard Branson had launched a charity ‘Made by Dyslexia’ at http://madebydyslexia.org/ , to raise the profile of those who are dyslexic, I realised how negative my thinking had been.  The charity’s aim is to change people’s perceptions about dyslexia amongst other things.  In a public survey this year, commissioned by the charity through YouGov, findings showed that ‘only 3% of respondents believed dyslexia is a positive trait’ (madebydyslexia.com, 2017).  Public perception of dyslexia causing difficulty in reading and spelling were the only two areas that concurred with the responses of dyslexic people.   Positive traits such as being good at problem solving, lateral thinking, creativity and artistic talent scored under 20% in terms of how the public view dyslexics, contrasting sharply with the results of dyslexic respondents, which were between 77 to 84%. 

Instead of seeing the disadvantages by gauging how he performs at school, compared to his peers, I started to think about my son’s talents.  For example, he loves playing games on his computer and has in the past said he wants to design games.  I discovered an online project called ‘An hour of code’ at https://hourofcode.com/uk/learn .  My son has recently been enjoying learning how to create themed games such as Minecraft and Star Wars using code blocks.  I know those with dyslexic brains are often creative and able to think in 3D and therefore can be excellent computer software designers.  He is also good at presenting information and public speaking.  Next year, he will be a house captain at school because he spoke to, and presented himself well, to the school.  

Before, I felt despondent about what career or future my son might have.  Now I feel positive, that his dyslexia can be used to his advantage.  He may not be rich and famous like Richard Branson, but he can be happy in his working life and find a rewarding career with the right support and encouragement.

Lorna Murray – guest blogger

 

CALL Scotland and Assistive Technology [1]

At a recent meeting of the Adult Network (Edinburgh), Allan Wilson from CALL Scotland told us about CALL Scotland, and demonstrated some assistive technology to us. This blog post:

  1. Shares some of the information Allan gave;
  2. Signposts you to further information;
  3. Tells you about my personal experience of assistive technology; and
  4. Asks you some questions. I will be telling you about specific pieces of technology that dyslexic adults may find helpful. This does not equate to Dyslexia Scotland endorsing these.

CALL Scotland

  1. ‘CALL’ stands for Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning.
  2. CALL Scotland supports people with disabilities, including dyslexic adults, to use assistive technology. For example, CALL provides:

The Scottish Voice

  1. The Scottish Voice is a computer voice[4] which CALL Scotland and software company Cereproc developed together.
  2. It comes in 3 forms: a female version called Heather, a male version called Stuart, and a Gaelic version called Ceitidh.
  3. You can install the Scottish Voice on your computer or mobile device. It is compatible with most text readers.
  4. All dyslexic adults in Scotland can obtain the Scottish Voice.
  5. Just fill in the form at http://www.thescottishvoice.org.uk/download and CALL will send you a link to download the voice.

Scanning pens and Apps

  1. Scanning pens and Apps let you scan text and then listen to it.
  2. Allan demonstrated 2 scanning Apps to us: ‘Claro ScanPen Reader’ and ‘TextGrabber’.
  3. Allan’s written a comprehensive blog post on scanning pens and apps: http://www.callscotland.org.uk/blog/scanning-pens-or-scanning-apps/

 ‘I have an iPad – which apps should I obtain to help me with dyslexia?’

  1. Allan is often asked this question. He answers it by asking: ‘Do you know about Speech Selection?’
  2. Speech Selection is built into the iPad. It does the same job as a text reader: converts text to speech.
  3. http://www.callscotland.org.uk/information/text-to-speech/text-to-speech-ipad

 My personal experience of assistive technology

  1. I use the Scottish Voice and text readers to proof read my writing, and to listen to a piece of text that is too long for me to read in print. The Scottish Voice helps me because I, and most of the people I speak to, have a Scottish accent. This makes the computer voice sound as normal as possible to my ears, which means I can focus on the content.
  2. My Workplace Needs Assessment acted as a useful starting point for me because it recommended specific software, and which purposes to use it for.
  3. For more information on assistive technology, see Dyslexia Scotland’s leaflet ‘Dyslexia and ICT’, available in pdf and audio at https://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk/our-leaflets

 What is your experience of assistive technology?

  1. What assistive technology do you use?
  2. What purposes do you use it for?
  3. What would be your top tip(s) on assistive technology?
  4. If you’d like to share your answers, please post a comment.

By a member of Dyslexia Scotland

 

[1] Assistive technology is technology that helps disabled people.

[2] An app, or application, is a piece of software you can download and use on your mobile device.

[3] Text readers read electronic text aloud. For a self-help guide on text readers, see Making written web content accessible using text readers

[4] A computer voice is a synthesized voice which you can install on your computer or device. It works with a text reader to read electronic text out loud.

Volunteers are the golden thread connecting our communities

Volunteering banner_2017_1

I crafted the above banner in response to Helen Fleming’s request. Helen (Dyslexia Scotland’s Volunteer Manager) is part of the Scottish Volunteering Forum and the Volunteering Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament. Helen asked me to create a piece of work for this year’s Volunteers’ Week Scotland, which is this week (1st – 7th June).  The theme is ‘The Golden Thread’ and it reflects the observations of Angela Constance MSP at the CPG on Volunteering meeting in November 2016.

It is my belief that voluntary organisations are the KEYSTONE in the heart of Scotland’s communities. They provide a setting and hub around which volunteers can concentrate their efforts and which we (volunteers) can find a voice. Golden threads require an anchor from which to maintain their strength and focus.

Dyslexia Scotland has a member’s only magazine, which is written by members for members. I would recommend both membership of Dyslexia Scotland and volunteering.  A pdf of a front cover of Dyslexia Voice (from March 2014) about Volunteering is attached to the end of this blog, for your inspiration and information.

The following are quotes from the above mentioned magazine. I wanted to use other volunteers’ words within this blog, as volunteering is a team effort and we all rely on each other (and therefore stand on the shoulders of giants) :-

  • “[The opportunity also allowed me to gain]  knowledge of dyslexia which could help me better understand the condition. (Ann, pp 16 -18)
  • [I have been involved with various] events like the education conference and helping man stalls at other conferences. I have also helped out with stuffing envelopes, organising information packs for conferences (Sam, page 21)
  • [If] you want something done, ask a busy person. That’s what they say and that would be me! … Driving towards Stirling at 6am on a Saturday. … “What am I doing?” … already had a really difficult week at work, … As the day comes to an end, my solemn, unappreciated mood has changed to one of satisfaction and elation… (Dawn, Dyslexia Scotland Fife, pp 36 + 37)
  • [I joined Dyslexia Scotland as a volunteer to] support other parents, and help raise awareness of the support available.  I wanted to give something back for the help I had received. (Janette, West Lothian Branch, pp 10 + 11)
  • [I] thoroughly enjoy being a volunteer at the branch where we meet monthly and look for things to do and how to get our message out. (Jock, Perth & Kinross Branch, pp 8 + 9)
  • One of my particular highlights was meeting Sir Jackie Stewart and the other wonderful ambassadors at the Edinburgh Castle event in 2013. (Hazel, page 30)
  • [Meeting] new people and the feeling that I’m making a difference with the advice that I can offer has given me the confidence I was missing (Angela, page 33)
  • [I am responsible for] ensuring that the organisation is adequately funded, that proper financial records are kept, and that the Board is fully informed at all times of our financial position.  As a volunteer I do of course give freely of my time and am very happy to do so. … many volunteers who give of their time and skills. … without you the worth of Dyslexia Scotland would be much diminished. (Jim, pp 12 + 13)”

I would advise people to try volunteering because I believe volunteering could be the cornerstone of everyone’s wellbeing. And the best bit is that as well as helping yourself: you could be someone’s (or a community’s) “stitch in time that saves nine”.

Doreen Kelly, DS Volunteer and Member

magphoto