Symbiotic partnerships

Dyslexia Scotland relies on the continued support of its members, ambassadors, staff, volunteers and of course many organisations to help us achieve our goals.

One such important partnership has developed with Edinburgh City Libraries.

Sarah Forteath, Business Development Manager, Library & Information Services at City of Edinburgh Council writes:

‘Edinburgh City Libraries and Dyslexia Scotland have developed a strong partnership since Dyslexia Awareness Week launched in Central Library in Edinburgh in November 2010.

The success of the partnership is based on the mutual benefit to both organisations – through our increased knowledge of dyslexia we have been able to develop our reading services to incorporate the UK’s first reading group for children with dyslexia.

We have been able to encourage many more young people with their parents and families into our libraries by using Dyslexia Scotland’s host of fabulous ambassadors to launch events –  as well as their President Sir Jackie Stewart and Kenny Logan!

In turn we host a series of creative and entertaining events for free in our libraries for Dyslexia Awareness Week every year and encourage several hundreds of people to get involved in reading for pleasure.

In the next 12 months we aim to roll out several more Dyslexia Chatterbooks reading groups across the city too!

Our partnership is of great interest to other professionals and I’ve been asked to speak about it at a Spotlight at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP Umbrella 2013) in Manchester on 3 July.’

To find out what events are available in The Edinburgh area visit www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk.  Details of events taking place across Scotland during Dyslexia Awareness Week will be published soon.

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Mind Mapping – like connecting the dots

My daughter came to me with a problem recently. She has only just been identified as dyslexic and she still doesn’t really understand what it all means. We are however beginning to deal with her difficulties and seeing what works for her.

Well, her problem was to do with writing stories at school.

She told me that they had to write stories based on the topic or literature they were learning about.

She said “Mummy, it’s really hard. I have lots of ideas and know what I want to write about but when I start to write, I forget everything that I was going to say and can’t get it to work”

This struck a chord with me and was similar to a problem that I had while at university. I used to read everything on the subject we were to write about, take copious notes, have a fantastic idea and tell my long suffering parents my full essay before I sat down to write it.

However, when I started, I got about 2 lines in and lost it. No matter how much I revisited my notes I couldn’t understand it again and I was right back at the beginning.

I was told by one of the additional support lectures to try mind mapping. This was something that I had learned at school, I think, but never really saw its significance.

Suddenly I was able to put all my ideas down and link one idea to another. It also helped me not over read and I was able to write down everything I already knew and find out where the gaps were.

When I came to write, while it still had its problems, I was able to focus and minimise my hours of staring at a blank computer screen and the stress and hours of procrastination watching of videos of talking dogs, cats playing the piano etc etc, none of which helped me write my essay.

So when it came to my daughter, we tried mind mapping. I told her to write or draw pictures when the teacher was talking, so that she could remember what had been said.

Then when she still had all her ideas in her head, she drew a diagram of what she thought her story was going to look like, how all the people and places were going to link together and how this related to what she had to write about.

She seems to like this technique and drawing her ideas before she has to put it in to words seems to help her gather her thoughts. It has lessened her frustration about forgetting and getting ‘mixed up’.

Example Mind map, not my daughters... I was not allowed.

Example Mind Map, not my daughter’s… I was not allowed.

For me, mind mapping was like connecting the dots in my mind and focusing my thoughts. I use it for lots of different things in my life now and it is definitely a coping strategy that has worked for me and hopefully my daughter as well.