Human Rights

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This month marks the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we’ll be reflecting on what this document has meant for dyslexic people across the world.

Many dyslexic people come to Dyslexia Scotland because they’ve felt left out, unsupported or unfairly treated. We often promote how the Equality Act (2010) has helped champion the rights of dyslexic people. Like this act, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is underpinned by values of fairness, equality, dignity and a right to participate, so we’re joining many other organisations to promote its importance to all people.

From 24 – 30 June, throughout the UK, human rights charities and various other organisations will be ‘flying the flag’ for human rights, and we’re encouraging all of our followers and members to get involved in this fundamental celebration.

Can you name your human rights? Most of us were never taught them. We don’t know that each of us – every moment of every day – is invisibly protected by them.” Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei has designed the official Flag for the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but true to creativity, he is encouraging everyone to express what human rights mean to them in their own way.

Why not represent what human rights means to you in relation to being dyslexic? Here are some ways you can get involved in our celebration:

How can you get involved?

  • Illustrate one of the Human Rights – choose one that means something to you and send us your art work. We could include it in a dyslexia friendly version of the Human Rights Act. Email your artwork to katie@dyslexiascotland.org.uk
  • Make your own unique flag – for you, your school or organisation. Share your design on social media.
  • Display an official flag in your home, school or work. You can buy one here
  • Retweet and share our social media posts on human rights, or this blog
  • Visit the Fly the Flag for Human Rights website for more inspiration

See an illustrated version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here: https://www.un.org/en/udhrbook/pdf/udhr_booklet_en_web.pdf

Katie Carmichael, Career Coach

 

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Emotional Impacts of Dyslexia

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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

 

How to speak with your dyslexic child about their career prospects

Careers_people

Parents can get anxious about what their dyslexic child might be able to do for a living when they grow up, especially if school is a struggle. So, how can you help nurture your child’s career interests without over-raising ambitions or creating self-limiting beliefs?

Adam Grant, professor of management and psychology, said in his recent essay that trying to identify the ideal job is actually counter-productive because you’re highly unlikely to ever find it, and if you do, the reality of it will be underwhelming as it’s not what you’ve built up in your mind.

As a result, Grant says the main question you should avoid asking your child is ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’

There are four main problems with this question.

  1. Their responses will be limited to the few jobs they’ve been exposed to
  2. As their parent, you might inadvertently project your own unrealistic expectations or limiting beliefs and pessimism on to their ideas
  3. We have no idea what jobs of the future are – or aren’t – anyway, so we can’t begin to imagine whether jobs of today will still be around, or what other new occupations today’s children can expect to fulfill as adults
  4. They’re not likely to have just one job, but a suite of jobs, and roles that change throughout their career

Your child’s career prospects are being shaped every day by global issues beyond anyone’s control. Think back just 15 years ago. Did you ever dream that jobs like Social Media Manager, Data Miner, 3D Print Technician or Driverless Car Engineers would exist, let alone be the norm? Fast forward 15 years from now, can you begin to imagine what industries and roles might exist that your child and their differing abilities will excel in? The good news is that, according to Ernst & Young’s report on the Value of Dyslexia, the jobs of the future will need dyslexic thinking skills, and the young dyslexic people of today represent the talent solution of the future, providing their natural skills in problem solving and collaboration, and character strengths and values are well nurtured.

Farai Chideya, author of The Episodic Career, predicts that the next generation are unlikely to have the same job for life, as their parents and grandparents expected; so adaptation to change, full understanding of themselves and awareness of the changing job market are key to putting their talents to best use.

So, instead of the dreaded ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ question, the best way you can have the career conversation with your dyslexic child is to ask them ‘what type of person do you want to be?’, ‘what problems do you want to solve?’, ‘what difference to you want to  make?’ and ‘what talents will you use to do that?’ They might just surprise you. You’ll be helping them prepare for life, as well as work.

What responses do you get? Let us know.

Check out this John Oliver clip highlighting the downside of children deciding now what job they want to do.

Katie Carmichael, Career Coach

 

Dyslexia Scotland’s Resource Centre

A brilliant service and resource for Members.

Composition with hardcover books

I am Doreen and I have recently taken over the resource centre volunteer role. I have known about the resource centre for years, but somehow never got round to using it until I was put in charge of it. I have noticed the main users of the resources are tutors. Which is great and tutors please continue to get in touch and borrow the books and educational resources.  That’s what they are there for.

However, few other members seem to be making use of this fantastic resource. I am not sure what the barriers are for everyone. For myself my lack of use was down to not really understanding how to use the website to search for things. Also, it wasn’t like I could just pop to Stirling from East Kilbride (the way I could my local council library).

So I would like to provide a quick introductory guide to Dyslexia Scotland’s Resource Centre. Members of Dyslexia Scotland can:-

  • Borrow 2 books at a time
  • For up to 3 months (and extensions can be requested)
  • Books/resources can be sent in the mail
  • Books can be requested by  email at resourcecentre@dyslexiascotland.org.uk or by calling 01786 446650. 

You Can Search the Resource Centre Books:-

  • In the member’s area of Dyslexia Scotland’s website http://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk/
  • You will need to sign in. At the top of the HOME screen on the purple navigation bar you will find “Member login”
  • Click on “Member message board”

members_board

rod_nicolson_book_image

I’m normally in the office in Stirling on a Monday or a Tuesday (10:30am – 3pm). More information about our resource centre can be found here.

Doreen Kelly, Resource Centre Volunteer

A gift for you

We’re sharing our latest magazine with you. 

Spring is here and with the lighter evenings and milder days we also bring you the Spring edition of our members magazine, Dyslexia Voice.  As usual, the magazine is packed full of great articles and information for children and adults with dyslexia, parents and professionals.  We want more people to be able to benefit from the magazine so, as a one-off, this edition will be available online to everyone. Subscribing to future magazines means that you’ll become a member of Dyslexia Scotland and part of a growing voice to help us raise awareness and understanding of dyslexia across Scotland.

Membership costs just £25 for a family, £20 for individuals and £10 concessionary rate per year.  As well as the quarterly magazine you also get discounts on assessments and our Education Conference.  You also get access to our Resource Centre and the chance to borrow books – there’s an online catalogue if you don’t live near us and we can send out resources.  There are often some great offers on the members’ area of our website and if there’s a branch of Dyslexia Scotland in your area, a percentage of your subscription goes to them.

The theme of the Spring magazine is Dyslexia and Studying and we hope you enjoy it.

Following huge demand for our Parent Masterclasses, our Autumn magazine will be a special edition featuring tips and information from the events.  Our Winter magazine will focus on self-esteem, social well-being and social interaction.

Why not make sure they’ll be dropping through your letterbox by joining online today?

 

#joinDS #membership #dyslexia

 

Laying a brighter career path

Crazy-Paving.jpg Dyslexia Scotland’s Career Coach, Katie Carmichael, explores how studying what you enjoy can lead to a fulfilling career.

We focus a lot on the issues of how to study, but before you even get there, do you really know what to study? And how are you deciding? We often try to decide what to study based on what job that might help us get, to plan out a direct pathway to what we’ve convinced ourselves, or been convinced by others, is the right occupation.

Keep an open mind

Road Trip Nation, career education organisation, observes that “life is only linear in the rear view mirror.” In other words, when we look back, we can probably spot the patterns and connections between our career decisions and activities, but if we expect to plot straight line to a very specific point in front of us, we might miss the real opportunities along the way as we charge down a very narrow pathway. Some of our best career opportunities can actually come about through chance encounter, as we go about doing what we enjoy and being open to new experiences.

Listen to your gut

When you’re making a decision about what to study, whether choosing your school subjects, applying for a college course or even undertaking learning for leisure, it’s perfectly ok to base that decision on your best feelings, rather than reasons, as following your intuitions can form a happier, more diverse and colourful career journey.

Lay your own path

Sir Dominic Cadbury, of chocolate fame, said that “There’s no such thing as a career path, it is crazy paving and you have to lay it yourself.” Imagine yourself making each step in whichever direction you are curious about at that point in time. Whatever stage you are at in your career or learning, you will probably have noticed that studying is easiest when it’s something you enjoy and are good at.

The reason being, that when we are really, truly engaged in what we are studying, we experience that sense of ‘flow’ that helps us to learn, feel confident and ultimately to grow and develop.

Scotland puts this in to action for young people, as the principles of Curriculum for Excellence recognise that all learning can be channelled through a subject or activity of interest, and that this builds the foundations for well-rounded human beings. This approach to studying makes for life-long and life-wide learning (and studying) success.

As there will certainly be things you know you have to learn in life or work, you can make studying have more ‘flow’ by directing the learning through a subject or activity that you are curious about, and, when you are faced with a choice about what to study, listen to what your heart wants, as well as what your head thinks.

Learning Points:

  • It’s ok to follow your heart when choosing what to study
  • Fulfilling careers aren’t always planned – often they’re discovered
  • The more enjoyable studying is, the easier it is to learn

Some further reading:

Here are some examples of people whose fulfilling careers have emerged from combining things they enjoying doing:

Did you know? Dyslexia Scotland has a members’ resource library with useful books on fun ways to develop learning, including on Literacy through Art.

This Scottish study makes a link between playing football and learning maths.

Let us know – what interests do you combine to make work or learning really enjoyable?

Katie Carmichael, Career Coach

 

When did your dyslexia story begin?

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The hardest part of having dyslexia is always figuring out where to start. It’s easy to say, you start at the beginning. But what does that mean. This is why my story doesn’t have a beginning, but it does have an end – I’ve just not got that far yet.

I first began to notice my struggles in secondary school. The teachers taught one way and I only learn one way. Unfortunately for me, it was different from the way the teachers taught. The only escape I had was my Art class, as you cannot teach someone how to express themselves as only they can figure that out on their own. That is when I realised my passion for Art & Design, there was no right or wrong way of doing it. I understood the importance of a painting portraying a thousand words. I finally found my passion.

Following secondary school, I attended college for 3 years and moved onto studying Interior and Architectural Design at Heriot Watt University. It was at University when I was tested for dyslexia by a specialist, whom I employed myself. Speaking to someone who could explain what I was feeling was such a relief. It became clear that all my life, I was trying to climb the stairs with my shoes tied together, but not anymore.

I still faced difficulties through my studies however, if you find your strategies to help you understand something it gets easier, I promise.

I used to think I would never achieve higher education and here I am, a graduate of Heriot Watt with a 2:1 Honours Degree in Interior and Architectural Design. In this world, there will always be people who will tell you that you aren’t good enough and who try to shoot you down. You may have fallen more times than you can count, but the only thing that matters is if you can stand back up again.

Margaret-Ann O’Hara

Supporting your dyslexic child

Today, we have a guest blog from Oliver at Twinkl. The resources referred to in this blog are free to download.

Having your child identified as dyslexic can be a difficult thing to hear as a parent, but even more so for the child in question. Questions about what dyslexia is, what it means for the future and how to manage it are likely to be playing on his or her mind. The most important thing is that it doesn’t mean future goals and aims have to change. Here are some suggestions about how to explain dyslexia to your child and effectively support them without changing your life aims.

Talk through what Dyslexia is

It’s possible, especially in younger children that they won’t have even heard of dyslexia before, so it is important to explain simply and clearly what it is and what it means for the child. It’s likely an educational practitioner will help to explain this to your child. Even if they have, it might be useful to go through it again at a later date in your own time as your child may feel more comfortable asking questions.

It is important to make your child aware that they can ask questions at all times. You should nurture this and ensure that they feel comfortable asking, whenever the questions might come along. It may be a good idea to give your child all the information they’ll likely need to allow them to read about it and research around it themselves without the pressure of parents. This promotes independence and allows them to form questions in their own time. They can then ask you whenever they’re ready.

To help broach the subject and pass the correct information to your child try using this free PowerPoint from Twinkl which helps children understand dyslexia.

Use examples

The younger the child, the more they’ll look for role models both in their own lives and through famous faces they might recognise. There are many famous celebrities who demonstrate what can be achieved by people who also have dyslexia. These include Jamie Oliver, Tom Cruise, Keira Knightley and Albert Einstein.

Using these famous names and faces can help your child to realise that their dreams or goals don’t have to change as a result of the dyslexia identification. It might help to use these celebrities as case studies and explore what they’ve been able to achieve in more detail. There are resources to help do this included in the ‘See Dyslexia Differently’ pack on Twinkl.

Dyslexia in the media

To help your child, it is also a really positive step to find TV, films or books that feature dyslexia. Watching or reading about children or people that your child can relate to, will be really helpful and may even be inspirational. It should show that despite the identification, anything is possible, dyslexia doesn’t define him or her.

Support Systems

It is also crucial to establish support systems, where necessary, for your child soon after a dyslexia identification. Talk to your child’s school and ask what they can do to help, also share with them any care plans you have, so they are fully aware of the support that is required. If you or your child would like extra help then there are always charities [such as Dyslexia Scotland] and support groups to turn to – which might be especially useful in the early days after an identification.

Further reading

If you’d like to read more about dyslexia, the Inclusion team at Twinkl have written multiple blog posts. covering a range of topics, around dyslexia. See below for a selection of these blogs.

Understanding Dyslexia and supporting your child

The first three steps to make a classroom more Dyslexia friendly

Oliver Lincoln, Marketing Coordinator, Twinkl Ltd

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If your child has just been identified as dyslexic and you’d like to chat further to one of Dyslexia Scotland’s friendly Helpline Advisors, please call our helpline on      0344 800 84 84  (Mon – Thursday 10:00am – 4:30pm; Fridays 10:00am – 4:00pm) or email helpline@dyslexiascotland.org.uk

We also have a wide range of helpful leaflets on our website: 

https://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk/our-leaflets

Please note, Dyslexia Scotland is unable to endorse any particular dyslexia products.

 

 

Dyslexia Friendly Storytelling

child-writing

A couple of weeks ago, the BBC launched this year’s 500 Words competition. 500 Words is a writing competition for children between 5 and 13 years old. Each entrant submits one story of up to 500 words. The three winners in each age category win either their own height in books, the Duchess of Cornwall’s height in books (5’6”), or DJ Chris Evans’ height in books (6’2”).

Entries are judged on

  • originality
  • plot
  • characterisation
  • language

Crucially, entries are not judged on spelling, punctuation or grammar. In fact, the official rules say that entries are judged “without regard” for these potential stumbling blocks for young dyslexic writers.

Entries are also submitted by copying or typing into an online text box. A helpful adult is supposed to do this bit, and to fill out the rest of the online entry form for the child. That removes another potential barrier for children with dyslexia – dodgy handwriting.

Chris Evans started the competition in 2011 while he was a DJ at Radio 2. He had a vision of inspiring a love of reading and writing in all children, regardless of their abilities and challenges. The competition has been a huge success: 800,000 stories have been submitted in the eight years it has been running.

My nieces have provided some of those stories. One of my nieces, Susannah, is dyslexic, like me, and faces the typical struggles with handwriting and spelling. (Her typing skills are very good, though.) This competition gives her a chance to express her creativity without unnecessary barriers.

Many great writers were dyslexic, or are believed to have been. (Dyslexia wasn’t well understood when W B Yeats and F Scott Fitzgerald were around.) There are also successful dyslexic writers today. I’m an author and freelance writer who’s mildly dyslexic. I would love to see more children with dyslexia enjoying writing without feeling intimidated.

If you are between 5 and 13, or you know a budding author who is, here is the link to the 500 Words competition. Entries must be in by 7pm on Friday 8th of March.

Karen Murdarasi