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

Adult assessment

Unaddressed dyslexia disabled me

I was assessed for dyslexia in my early 20s but not identified. This meant my dyslexia went unaddressed.  Living with unaddressed dyslexia wasn’t easy or positive.  I felt inept and blamed myself for my difficulties.  This had a negative impact on me and the people around me.

Being assessed let me understand my dyslexia and address it

16 years later, my unaddressed dyslexia was causing me and others problems in employment. So I went to be assessed again.  This time I was identified.  Straight after my dyslexia assessment, I was given a Workplace Needs Assessment.  The dyslexia specialist who assessed me recommended a set of reasonable adjustments which I asked my employer to make.  My newly discovered self-awareness also let me start self-managing[1] my dyslexia by addressing my difficulties and maximising my strengths.

Why did I delay going for assessment?

I only sought assessment when I could see no other solution to my problems. Here’s why.

  1. I didn’t realise that I might be identified the 2nd time round.
  2. I feared the irreversible step of being identified because I didn’t know what life would be like as an identified dyslexic.
  3. I feared discrimination.
  4. I feared dyslexia, and not being able to overcome it.
  5. I didn’t know how assessment might have helped me, or where to go for assessment.

Self-acceptance

Now that I know I am dyslexic, I can accept myself. This makes me feel more positive and confident. I still find it hard to fulfil my potential. But success is achievable whereas previously, it wasn’t.

Why be assessed if you’re not experiencing problems?

If you’ve not been assessed, and wonder what you’d gain from assessment, here are 10 things I’d say to you.

  1. Dyslexia might not appear to be causing you problems just now. But if I’d been assessed before I felt I had no other option, it would have avoided many undesirable outcomes for me and others.
  2. You might not realise the negative impact your unaddressed dyslexia is having on you and others, because this is what you’re used to.
  3. If you’re dyslexic, it’s better to know, because then you can do something about it.
  4. Each person’s dyslexia is unique to them. Being assessed let me understand how dyslexia affects me. It set me off on a journey of finding out how I think and learn. Now I can make informed choices on how I approach things. For example, I use street view when using a map.
  5. Your dyslexia doesn’t just affect you: it affects the people around you too. So they need you to understand and address your dyslexia too.
  6. 1 in 10 people are dyslexic. So you won’t be alone and support is available.
  7. You might lack faith in your ability to cope with dyslexia. But you have strengths which you’ll be able to use to overcome your difficulties.
  8. It’s never too late to be identified, to understand yourself and accept yourself as you are.
  9. You deserve to understand your dyslexia and fulfil your potential.
  10. I recommend Dyslexia Scotland’s information leaflet ‘Dyslexia – assessment for adults’. It is available in audio format and pdf at http://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk/our-leaflets

Further information

  1.  Dyslexia Scotland has a helpline for anyone in Scotland. See  http://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk/helpline
  2. There is currently no government funding in the UK for adult dyslexia assessment.
  3. ‘The Dyslexic Adult in a Non-Dyslexic World’, reviewed at         https://alifelessordinaryds.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/book-review-the-dyslexic-adult-in-a-non-dyslexic-world/

[1] To find out about self-management, see https://alifelessordinaryds.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/hello-from-the-health-and-social-care-alliance

This blog was written by a Dyslexia Scotland member

Finding Success with Dyslexia

dragon mindmap doreen

The mindmap/picture above (please click on the link) is partly inspired by Rob Gilbert’s “It’s all right to have butterflies in your stomach. Just get them to fly in formation”. The Dyslexia Dragon in the middle is dangerous, passionate and unpredictable: but when someone with dyslexia finds success it appears they manage to make society, workplace and their self, dance in time. While using the dragon’s passionate fire to create something sensational.

This composition is proving rather difficult because I am a dyslexic individual who does not yet count herself among the high-flying successful individuals. However, self-help literature advises visualisation of success in order to plan one’s goals.

I was inspired to create the opening image by attending the adult network meeting in Stirling on Saturday 18th February 2017. The meeting was focused on individual dyslexia stories.

Super

Unique

Crazy

Creative

Energy

Sows

Success

Part of the reason I don’t yet count myself amount the ranks of successful people is that I am having real difficulty finding an employment role in which my talents can shine. I am extremely creative but my fine motor skills do not allow me to excel in fine art or music. I enjoy science and studied for and achieved a BSc Hons in Biology With Geology, but for a variety of reasons this has not led to the start of a fulfilling career.

I am trying to use my periods of non-paid employment wisely: I have discovered that the internet is full of excellent free learning resources, a lot of which I have been using to try to discover a suitable career path. I have, however, also found an excellent citizen science website, www.zooniverse.org. The website/project was initially set up to identify celestial objects but now includes many diverse research projects. The scientists had far too much data to analyse and asked for volunteers. They said they needed human eyes attached to human brains to identify patterns (too complex for computers to make sense of). I have found that it provides an excellent opportunity to use my dyslexic talents of pattern recognition to help with real science. I like learning and volunteering with Zooniverse as there are no classrooms and no face-to-face interactions (that one would need to engage in when volunteering in a charity shop and other voluntary roles).

I also use Zooniverse to keep myself job and interview ready. When I don’t need to make decisions, I tend to avoid decision-making which can be a problem when I go back into the work place. Also, I often struggle to talk about my hobbies in interviews – when I try to talk about my crafts they sound a bit homespun and not overly intellectual. However, I think my work on Zooniverse will provide an excellent non-controversial, cerebral and socially conscious activity to talk about. I could not claim to like reading, as my lie would be obvious as soon as they asked me what the last book I read was. While talking about studying various subjects would make me sound like an eternal student which is not always seen as an advantage by employers. Also, I probably wouldn’t manage to organise my thoughts enough to give a quick overview of a subject to an interviewer.

I hope this blog helps someone to see the world or their life differently. When the world often gets me so down that I can no longer see the wood for the trees; I am really grateful for the situations that remind me of things I already know (but presents the knowledge in a new way, so it really hits home).

Doreen Kelly, Dyslexia Scotland volunteer and member

Book review: ‘The Dyslexic Adult in a Non-Dyslexic World’

‘The Dyslexic Adult in a Non-Dyslexic World’ by Ellen Morgan and Cynthia Klein

John Wiley & Sons, 2000. ISBN: 978-1-86156-207-4

Available from Dyslexia Scotland’s resource centre.

This book is about dyslexic adults who were identified in adulthood. I think it is an excellent book.  Here are 10 reasons I liked it.

  1. It deepened my understanding of dyslexia. For example, it discusses how dyslexic people learn better if the learning content is linked to a context that is meaningful to them.
  2. It helped me make sense of my experience. For example, I was assessed and not identified in my early 20s, then assessed and identified in my late 30s. The book revealed to me possible reasons for that.
  3. It broadened my knowledge of the experience of dyslexic adults. This helped me to put my own experience in context. For example, one adult featured did not label himself negatively at school. He was able to see beyond his literacy difficulties and recognise that he was good at academic subjects and enjoyed learning.
  4. The content is beautifully and simply expressed. The authors and interviewees articulate brilliantly and succinctly what it’s like to be a dyslexic person identified in adulthood. The book provides a framework and stimulus for any dyslexic adult’s own story.
  5. I found it accessible. It’s rich with detail but never heavy-going. It quotes directly the dyslexic adults who contributed to the book.
  6. I found it therapeutic. I was identified in adulthood. Much of the book reflected my own experience. I found it so self-validating it felt like a treat to read it. I didn’t want it to end.
  7. I found it fascinating and insightful
  8. It shares some inventive strategies that dyslexic adults have devised. For example:  A strategy for managing time which involves imagining the days of the week in a ring and a method for remembering how to spell the word ‘pyramid’:

Pyramid Page 164 of the book.[1]

   9. It crystallised some ideas for me. For example, identification in adulthood lets   an individual start to reframe school experiences.

  10. It is underpinned by research. It draws on research by the authors and others.

3 tips for engaging with this book

  1. Ask the Seeing Ear[2] if they would produce it in Word so that you can use a text reader to listen to it[3].
  2. Engage with other books that complement it. For example:
  • ‘Dyslexia – How to survive and succeed at work’;
  • ‘Understanding Dyslexia – An Introduction for Dyslexic Students in Higher Education’; and
  • ‘The Dyslexic Advantage’.[4]

3. Try to obtain your own copy. Highlight points that are particularly significant for          you. Note your responses and cross-references in the margins.

Conclusion

As I’ve been reviewing this book I’ve been wondering about its title. Does it help dyslexic adults and everyone else to think of the world as non-dyslexic? There is still low dyslexia awareness, and dyslexic adults still experience many challenges. But I think it’s now time to see dyslexia as a part of society, and accept that reality. Then we can all work together to address the difficulties and maximise the strengths of dyslexia. So if I were to write a sequel to this book, I’d call it ‘Including our Dyslexic Adults in our 10% Dyslexic World’. What would you call it?

By an anonymous member of Dyslexia Scotland

[1] The publisher asked me to include the following copyright notice. I take no responsibility for it. “All rights reserved. No part of ‘The Dyslexic Adult in a Non-Dyslexic World’ may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of John Wiley & Sons.”

[2] http://www.seeingear.org/about-us/contact-us

[3] For guidance on text readers see ‘Making written web content accessible using text readers’ at http://includeusall.org.uk/1205-2

[4] These books are detailed in a list of self-help books and resources that is available to download from http://dyslexiascotland.org.uk/our-leaflets (scroll to the foot, under ‘Further Reading’)

Hello! From the Health and Social Care Alliance

By Kerry Ritchie and Lara Murray, Network Development Officers

The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (known as the ALLIANCE) has recently become a member of Dyslexia Scotland and we are also pleased to welcome Dyslexia Scotland to the ALLIANCE family.

alliance 1

Kerry and Lara, Network Development Officers at the ALLIANCE

With over 1,900 members across health and social care, the third sector and including people living with long term conditions and unpaid carers, the ALLIANCE has a huge reach and a remit to improve services for people living in Scotland. We are both Network Officers at the ALLIANCE, working to grow and strengthen relationships. We want to introduce you to the ALLIANCE and to the different parts of our networking activities.

Membership of the ALLIANCE

At the ALLIANCE, our vision is for Scotland to be a place where everyone has support and services that put them at the centre. People of all ages living with disabilities, long term conditions or providing unpaid care for a loved one need to have a strong voice to ensure that they enjoy their right to live well and free from discrimination. We view everyone as an equal and active citizen who should be able to shape the health and social care services they use.

Our three core aims are to:

  • Ensure people’s voices are at the centre of design, delivery and improvement of services
  • Support transformational change, towards approaches that work with individuals and communities
  • Champion the third sector as an important partner in the delivery of health and social care

Working towards our vision, the ALLIANCE is involved in many different projects and you can read about them all on our website. However, our real strength is our membership: the people and organisations that provide their voice and expertise on what is currently happening in health and social care and what needs to change. 1,900 voices are so much louder together.

alliance 2

A recent ALLIANCE members’ networking event

In return for lending their strength to achieving our vision, we offer members a range of benefits, including up to date news, briefings and alerts as well as knowledge sharing and opportunities for networking across sectors.

Dyslexia Scotland is now a member of the ALLIANCE as an organisation. It is also possible to join for free as an individual supporter. Learn more on the ALLIANCE membership website. Contact Kerry Ritchie to find out about joining.

Self Management

One of the priority areas for the ALLIANCE is our self management work. When we talk about self management of a long term condition, we do not mean people being left to manage alone. Supported self management is about people living with long term conditions feeling able, through the services, support and information they access, to live well with their condition. Our work aims to bring about a change in the way services are delivered to support this way of working with people.

Since 2008, the ALLIANCE has been administering the Self Management Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government. To date, more than £16 million has been awarded to over 200 projects delivering innovative services that enable people to self manage their long term conditions.

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2016 Self Management Network Scotland event held with Crohn’s and Colitis UK showing attendees holding a paper chain made of ‘powerful partnership’ links to promote the theme of partnership working

Funding these projects is the cornerstone of our other self management work including the Self Management Network Scotland. Around 500 people with an interest in changing health and social care services to work in this way can connect and support one another through this network. Joining is free and we host regular networking events as well as issue updates on the world of self management in Scotland.

Find out more and join on the Self Management Network Scotland website. Contact Lara Murray to find out more.