Dyslexia Awareness Week

Dyslexia Awareness Week

Categorised in: Insights | Posted on: 3 October 2023

Every year, the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) runs ‘Dyslexia Awareness Week’.

This year’s theme for Dyslexia Awareness Week is Uniquely You. It aims to recognise that each person with dyslexia experiences it in ways that are individual to them.

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty primarily affecting the skills required for accurate and fluent reading and spelling. Every person experiences dyslexia differently. It can permeate many areas of a child’s life in addition to reading and spelling difficulties.

The importance of diagnosis

Importantly, dyslexia is not related to general cognitive ability and intelligence, or sensory deficits. Difficulties stem from neuro-cognitive differences in the way speech sounds are processed. Without diagnosis children can struggle to understand their difficulties. There is considerable evidence to suggest that dyslexia is associated with a range of mental health difficulties in childhood. These include low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.  It is imperative, therefore, that we are able to spot the signs of dyslexia early, diagnose and support effectively with multi-sensory strategies suited to the dyslexic learner.

Supporting dyslexic students

In order to help children understand their learning differences, the See Dyslexia Differently video is a great starting point, explaining dyslexia in a child-friendly way. This year, BBC’s Newsround also produced a brilliant Dyslexia Special featuring 12-year-old Ben, who really struggled at school until he found out he had dyslexia.

When we recognise and support dyslexic children in a multi-sensory and sympathetic teaching environment, basic literacy skills can flourish. In addition, creativity and confidence can also soar. There are some brilliant, free resources available now for schools and parents to be supporting dyslexic learners.

Dyslexia Awareness 2023

In addition to this, Made by Dyslexia, a charity led by successful dyslexics, continues to empower dyslexic thinking. They have produced some fantastic resources including comprehensive teacher training modules. Through their collaboration with Microsoft, everyone can now access the free Immersive Reader Tool in Word. Their Connect the Spots guide has essential information for every school, and links to their FREE teacher training. Plus their Join the Dots guide outlines 4 simple steps to empower dyslexic thinking in the workplace.

There are many positive, inspirational books for children including Made by Dyslexia’s brilliant “Xtraordinary People” book that will help you to understand the 7 ‘Xtraordinary’ strengths that come with dyslexia, and is a brilliant way to explain dyslexia to all children. For older children and adults, The Bigger Picture Book of Amazing Dyslexics and the Jobs They Do, is a great read.

For parents

If you are the parent of a dyslexic child, do check out the blogs, conferences and training from Arran Smith at The Studying With Dyslexia Blog. You can also join their private Facebook group on the very comprehensive resources page.

There are also an abundance of free assistive tech resources for children and adults on the market now, that can be hugely transformative for dyslexic learners. Please read more about this in my previous blog  Dyslexia and the Brilliance of Assistive Technology.

Lest we forget, dyslexics can often have exceptional talent in areas including the arts, engineering, business, and sports. During Dyslexia Awareness Week, let’s celebrate dyslexia and strive to help those still in need of effective support and understanding.

For more information on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me on sarah@octuition.co.uk

Coming soon: As part of a webinar talk for Dr. Kathy Weston’s Tooled Up Education and in collaboration with SEN specialist assessor Kate King, we will be releasing a series of bite-size webinars for parents on how to support dyslexic learners.

Sarah Cox, SEND Consultant and Dyslexia Specialist

The Tutors Association The Tutors Association The Good School Guide Tooled up