One of my huge problems with attitudes to dyslexia is that having dyslexia is seen as a huge problem rather than a good thing that offers opportunity.
Please do not misunderstand me. Having dyslexia can result in huge challenges that affect children and adults not only academically but also socially and mentally.
The negative impact socially and mentally often stems from a misunderstanding about dyslexia.
Within many schools, this is changing, but when a dyslexic child is struggling to concentrate on their work, often the teacher reacts to the behaviour rather than try to re-engage with the child. They kind of have to as their own workload is so great and the class size needs managing. They are under pressure to get good academic results from their students. So when a student is exhibiting difficult behaviour there often isn't time to get to the bottom of what is causing the behaviour.
So then we have a downward spiral of negativity surrounding dyslexia, the teacher is on the case of the child, the peer group is noticing and the child may well be feeling a lack of self-esteem and compensates through different behaviours some of which are extrovert in nature and some introvert.
Without intervention, this negative spiral leads into adult life, careers without purpose, mental health issues etc.
That is a worst-case scenario, as there are excellent schools out there that teach kids in dyslexia friendly classes, using strategies that resonate positively with the learning styles of each child. There is a mix of outcomes across the UK in education for dyslexic kids. I am proud to live in a country that supports undergraduates with dyslexia and other conditions that affect studying, but more has to be done at an earlier age, interventions should be more freely available, and getting support should be easier.
For all this to change, we need to see dyslexia more positively as a nation and I am thrilled that the British Dyslexia Association has taken a lead in sending out a positive message that explains what dyslexia is and why it can be a positive, to have it, through their latest video, launched this week.
The core message is that everyone thinks differently and with that diversity comes great benefits. In terms of dyslexia, there are strengths that come with this condition in areas of creativity, objectivity, resilience, problem-solving and so much more. Those strengths only come to fruition when the person with dyslexia feels positive about themselves and sees having dyslexia as an advantage and not a disadvantage.
I would like to thank the British Dyslexia Association for producing this video as it is so useful in spreading a positive message about what it is like to have dyslexia. If you use Twitter why don't you share some of the positives that you have experienced with dyslexia using the hashtag #seedyslexiadifferently?
Parents and teachers need educating further about what it is like for a child to have dyslexia and other co-occurring conditions and there are many events that happen throughout the year that will help to inform.
One event is the SEN Jigsaw Conference that is taking place in Stoke-on-Trent in April. The conference seeks to help parents and teachers understand the puzzle that comes with a child experiencing special educational needs. The conference provides plenary talks,SEN focused workshops and even has an exhibition consisting of charities and companies that provide products and services supporting SEN. I would like to especially mention the sponsors of the conference, Jabbla and Crossbow Education. Jabbla, who support children with dyslexia (who want to be more productive and independent with reading and writing), with their software,
SprintPlus. Crossbow Education provides a range of educational products that support children in school with dyslexia and visual stress. Both will be exhibiting at the conference.
The full lineup for the SEN Jigsaw Conference can be seen below. If you would like to know more and book your ticket then simply click on the lineup and check out the EventBrite booking page.
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