Painting Bigger, Brighter Pictures with Books about Dyslexia

Composition with hardcover booksGiven that the theme of this year’s Dyslexia Awareness Week was Positive About Dyslexia, I thought now was a really good time to highlight one of the ways in which this can be achieved. I know it’s an old, well-known saying, but knowledge really is power and I don’t think this is truer than in the case of an often misunderstood condition like dyslexia.

I was oblivious to the memory issues some people with dyslexia have before I started volunteering with Dyslexia Scotland, because that’s not an aspect of dyslexia the media really talks about. The only reason I got informed about all the lesser known bits of dyslexia was because the charity is really good about giving people as big and clear a picture as they possibly can.  But you can’t paint pictures without paint or brushes – or, more accurately, you can’t be informed without the information existing – and being accessible – in the first place.  That’s why I think the Resource Centre that Dyslexia Scotland has is really important.  Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.  Or the right place to look.  Given that it’s likely we picked up some new members as a result of DAW some of you may not even have known that we have it.  So let’s go over the basics.

First off, conscious of the fact that different people have different needs and associations with people who have dyslexia and that people will be at various stages in their lives, we have a diverse range of resources in the hope that everyone with an interest in dyslexia can find something to suit their needs. For ease of use, the resources are split into sections e.g. “Information for Teachers” or “Further Education and the Workplace.”  Mindful of the fact that not everyone can get to our office in Stirling, there’s a master booklet detailing what we have, an electronic catalogue of resources and a troubleshooting sheet on how the process of borrowing and the catalogue works, all of which are accessible to our members online.  Should you wish to be loaned something, you have the option to collect it yourself or have it posted to you.  Oh, and provided you’re a member of Dyslexia Scotland, it’s completely free!

The hope is that by using it, people are, for a variety of reasons, able to become more positive about dyslexia. Of course, the information people seek differs from person to person, and therefore their objectives and outcomes will vary.  It could be people just want to be more knowledgeable about the condition, need new strategies for themselves, their children or their students or the want dyslexia friendly fiction.  The Resource Centre encompasses all of those things and more, and is growing all the time – the master booklet is always being updated, in the hope that we can help arm more and more people with information and be positive about dyslexia as a result.

You can find out more about the Resource Centre here.

Gemma Bryant, Resource Centre Volunteer

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E-learning course: ‘How to Succeed at Work and Home as a Dyslexic Adult’

The British Dyslexia Association offers an eLearning course that aims to help dyslexic adults succeed at work and home. It’s based on research which you can find out about at http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/news/item/page/2/name/research-into-issues-for-adults-with-dyslexia-specific-learning-difficulties

I did the course recently. In this blog post I’d like to share:

  1. What the course does;
  2. How the course is dyslexia-friendly; and
  3. Further information.

 

  1. What the course does

 

The course identifies 10 traits that make dyslexic adults successful:

  • Determination
  • Self-esteem
  • Passion
  • Finding the right niche for you
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Sociable with good verbal skills
  • Empathy
  • Effective, fluent use of coping strategies
  • Help from family and mentors
  • It explains these traits, and tells you how you can gain or develop them.

2. How the course is dyslexia-friendly

  • Interactive, concrete and multi-sensory
  • The course mainly comprises written material but it features some visual content, case studies of real people, and activities such as questionnaires.
  • It signposts to resources e.g. videos, websites.
  • There is a course discussion forum (which you can opt out of if you wish). When I did the course there were 3 other participants doing it at the same time.

 

  •  Accessible
  • The course is in electronic print so you can use a text reader to listen to the text.
  • The background is pastel yellow. The titles are in navy font and the rest of the text is in grey font. The font is non-serif (i.e. without tails on the letters). The only way you can change the design is to copy and paste the text into a Word document.

 

  •  Clearly structured
  • The course is structured into 10 chapters, one on each trait. Each chapter is broken up into a series of pages. The pages vary in length from one short screen to several screens long. When you open each chapter there is a list of the pages on the right hand side, so you can see at a glance what the chapter contains.
  • On the home page of the course, there is a list of all the chapters with a box next to each. You can tick the boxes as you complete the chapters to keep track of what you’ve done.

 

  •  Flexible
  • You can do the chapters in any order. You can choose which chapters you do. You can redo chapters.
  • You have access to the course for 6 months. There is no restriction on how often or when you access it during that 6-month period.

 

  • Companion book
  • If you wish to consolidate or overlearn any of the course content, there is a companion book which has very similar content. The book is ‘Self Fulfilment with Dyslexia – a blueprint for Success’ by Margaret Malpas, who also wrote the course.

 

 

 

3. Further information about the course

  1. Is it assessed? No.
  2. Does it lead to a certificate or qualification? No.
  3. Does it cost? Not if you are retired or unemployed. For everyone else, it costs £12.99.
  4. How long will it take to do? I don’t know how long it will take you. It took me around 50 hours. This was partly because I copied and pasted the text into a Word document so I could mark it up with my responses. That involved a lot of reformatting.
  5. Where can I find out more? http://www.bdaelearning.org.uk/course/info.php?id=86

 

 

By an anonymous adult member of Dyslexia Scotland