Volunteers Week 2019: Time to Celebrate

Volunteers Week (1-7 June) is a great time to celebrate and thank all of our wonderful volunteers for all that they do for Dyslexia Scotland.

Thank you

Dyslexia Scotland has a long history of involving volunteers. Over 40 years ago, a few parents were the first to create a local group. The organisation then grew from this small group of passionate parents. We now have over 200 volunteer ‘roles’ across the organisation – these include our Directors, Ambassadors, President (Sir Jackie Stewart OBE) and Vice-President (Julia Trotter MBE), national volunteers and Branch volunteers.  Many of our volunteers wear several ‘hats’.

We currently have 36 active national volunteers (and 7 ‘resting’ volunteers), who are supported by me, as Volunteers Manager.  They have a variety of roles:

  • Resource Centre Volunteer
  • Admin Volunteer
  • Helpline Advisors
  • Media/Social Media Volunteers
  • Events Volunteers
  • Career Development Service Mentors
  • Young Ambassadors
  • Young Ambassador Mentor
  • Adult Network Facilitators
  • Adult Network Helpers
  • Photographer
  • Awareness Speakers

We have over 100 Branch Volunteers in 18 Branches, supported by National Development Officer, Lena Gillies. Our Branches cover Scotland from Dumfries and Galloway to Caithness! They aim to raise awareness and understanding of dyslexia by holding meetings which are open to the public.  If you’d like to be added to your local branch mailing list, just drop them an email – you can find their contact details on each branch page.

I am not recruiting any national volunteer roles at the moment, but if you are interested in getting involved as a Branch volunteer, volunteers are needed in Fife, Forth Valley, Hebrides (Stornoway), Lochaber.  Please contact Lena at lena@dyslexiascotland.org.uk for more information.  

If you would like to help in other ways, for example, writing a blog or an article for our members’ magazine, be interviewed for our podcast, fundraise for us or have an information stand at your workplace etc. see our flyer here.

Thank you again to all of our wonderful volunteers, for all that you do for dyslexia awareness and Dyslexia Scotland!

Helen Fleming, Volunteers Manager

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Emotional Impacts of Dyslexia

emotions

As we reach the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, we thought it might be helpful to highlight that The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dyslexia and other SpLDs has recently released a new report titled ‘The Human Cost of Dyslexia: the emotional and psychological impact of poorly supported dyslexia’.

You can find the report here.

It states “Whilst dyslexia is not directly linked to emotional or mental health issues, failing to diagnose dyslexia early, and inadequate support – both academic and emotional – during education and beyond leads often to a short and long term human cost of dyslexia.”

This is certainly an issue that we are aware of in Dyslexia Scotland.  Many of the adults who attend our Adult Networks and our Career Development Service talk of little or no support for dyslexia when they were younger.  This has led to difficulties in further education, job-seeking, in the workplace and in their personal relationships. Our next Adult Network (Glasgow) meeting on Monday 17 June will cover the topic of Dyslexia and Mental Health.  Emma from SAMH will be speaking at this meeting.  

We recently surveyed our Adult Network members and found that the most popular topics that they would be interested in learning more about were:

Emotional Impacts of dyslexia 19
Understanding and living with the dyslexic in your life (you or your partner) 12
Dyslexia and support at work 17
IT and apps to support dyslexia 12

As you can see, the emotional impacts of dyslexia was the most requested topic.  This is something we are aiming to address in a variety of ways.  Our Career Development Service is supported by four active Career Mentor Volunteers. One of our Mentors, David, has specific skills in coaching and has explored emotions and dyslexia with a few of our Career Service clients. 

I have also recently completed the ‘Fundamentals of Therapeutic Mentoring in Addressing the Emotional Repercussions of Dyslexia’ course run by GroOops Dyslexia Aware Counselling. It was an excellent course and highlighted the importance of providing opportunities for dyslexic people to tell their story to help heal past difficulties.  We currently have a number of ways for people to tell their dyslexia story:

  1. Writing a blog for us here
  2. Being interviewed by one of our Media Volunteers, David Thomson, for our podcast series
  3. Writing an article/poem/creating artwork for our members’ quarterly magazine.
  4. Another of our Media volunteers, Trevor Thomson, is keen to create a second film (his first film is here) on the topic of dyslexia and mental health.

We’ve also recently brought together a small group of volunteers to explore if more developments are needed to support dyslexic adults. Our three adult networks are currently planning meetings in the coming year, targeting later identified adults.  This year we will also be highlighting adult dyslexia through our revamped roadshows. We are planning two events in Glasgow (September 2019) and Stirling (February 2020), so look out for more details on our events page and on our social media accounts in the next few months.

In the meantime, you can see our range of leaflets on dyslexia here. They are grouped by audience, so there are leaflets for adults – for example, information about recruitment, employment, and studying.

What are your thoughts on living with dyslexia as an adult? Please do contact me, if you would like to add your thoughts to our developments, write a blog, be involved in a podcast or create something for our magazine.  My email is helen@dyslexiascotland.org.uk or call 01786 446650.

Helen Fleming,

Volunteers Manager at Dyslexia Scotland

Arts Award Champions!

Trinity

Dyslexia Scotland is thrilled to announce that Trinity College London has selected us to be one of their Arts Award Champion Centres for 2019-20.

Arts Award is a set of unique qualifications that support young people up to age 25 to take part in arts activities, learn about the arts and artists, express themselves through the arts and become young arts leaders in their communities. And by ‘art’, we mean any form of making a creative thing happen, from drawing to dancing, singing to sculpture, music to mosaic…

Dyslexia and the Arts

We know that art and dyslexia have a much talked about relationship.

Dyslexia seems to be over-represented in creative industries, with visual artists and architects in particular excelling in their fields, and high proportions of dyslexic students in art colleges across the UK.

This is thought to be the case because dyslexic people often have visual-spatial strengths, think in picture form and can imagine and rotate images in their minds, all which lend themselves to drawing and making. Or because they prefer non-verbal ways of managing information, so become adept at creating images and sculptures, or playing with words in unusual ways.

Benefits of an Arts Education

Art is a portal to wider learning; it can help young people form strategies to develop literacy, cultural awareness, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, history, problem solving, STEM subjects and much more.

We offer Arts Award as part of our Career Development Service because it’s a very dyslexia-friendly qualification, it plays to dyslexic young people’s strengths, and gives them a formal recognition of their learning, in the form of a formal certificate issued by Trinity College London. Research by London South Bank University demonstrated that Arts Award helps young people to become more independent learners and has a positive effect on their early career development too.

Being a Trinity Arts Award Champion

One of our responsibilities of being an Arts Award Champion for a year is to promote the benefits of the qualification to other organisations and share our dyslexia-friendly practice. Our drive is to ensure that as many dyslexic young people as possible have access to the opportunity to gain an Arts Award qualification and make the most of their dyslexic strengths in a way that works for them.

Take Part

Are you a dyslexic young person (under the age of 25) taking part in arts activities? Find out more about our Arts Award offer here.

We offered Arts Award Discover to everyone who took part in our Youth Day in March. Watch our video case study here.

We’re always looking for art work, photos, stories, videos and animations for our magazine and website. Get in touch if there’s something creative you want to share!

References:

Brunswick, N. (2009) Dyslexia.

Katie Carmichael, Career Coach, Dyslexia Scotland