RECRUITMENT – BRANCH COORDINATOR, CASHEL
The Dyslexia Association of Ireland is planning to establish a new after-school workshop for children and young people with Dyslexia in Cashel from September 2017. We are looking to recruit a Branch Coordinator to manage the running of the Workshop.
The Branch Coordinator will be responsible for managing the educational activity of the Workshop and will be responsible for the appointment and oversight of tutors and volunteers to work in the Workshop, in liaison with staff in the DAI National Office and a local Parents’ Committee.
The Branch Coordinator is required to have a teaching qualification and be registered with the Teaching Council. They are also required to have undertaken additional training in teaching methods best suited to teach students with dyslexia.
To apply please email CV and covering letter stating why you feel you are qualified for this position to email@example.com by 5pm on Monday 22nd May 2017. Interviews will be held locally on the afternoon/evening of Wednesday 31st May.
Hidden Potential – a new Irish short film on dyslexia
DAI is delighted to share ‘Hidden Potential’ a new Irish short film on dyslexia to mark Dyslexia Awareness Month (October 2016). This short film was made by Eamonn McMahon a talented young film-maker from Wicklow in Ireland, with some support from the Dyslexia Association of Ireland. Well done to all those involved in producing this lovely, moving short film.
EGM – 12 Nov. 2016
Notice is hereby given that an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI) will be held at DAI, 5th Floor, Block B, Joyce’s Court, Talbot St., Dublin 1 on Saturday 12th November (12.30pm – 1.00pm).
Every fully paid up current member of the Association is entitled to attend and vote. A member is entitled to appoint another person as their proxy to exercise all or any of their rights to attend and to speak and to vote at the meeting. A proxy form is available here. Completed proxy forms must be returned at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting, if you wish someone else to attend and vote on your behalf. It would be greatly appreciated if members planning to attend would phone or email us to confirm their attendance.
- Proposal for approval of new Constitution in line with the requirements of the Companies Act 2014.
The Board of DAI recommends to the membership that the attached Constitution, and associated Company Governance Handbook, be adopted by the members. This will ensure that DAI is compliant with the requirements of the Companies Act 2014 and that the Constitution meets the requirements of the Charities Regulatory Authority. The Constitution is largely an updating of the original Memorandum and Articles of Association of DAI which were written in 1992. The Constitution must be filed with the Companies Registration Office by 30 November 2016.
The intended business of the meeting will therefore be for members to consider, and if in agreement, to approve the proposed Constitution, and the associated Company Governance Handbook.
The E-Fun Brain Training Study is seeks participants.
The E-FUN study is exploring if playing their E-FUN (Executive Function – EF) brain training game can improve EF, brain activity, reading and regulation abilities in children with dyslexia. They are looking for children aged 10-12 years with a diagnosis of dyslexia to take part in their research study.
What’s involved: You and your child will be asked to attend two testing sessions 6 weeks apart at DCU. During each session your child will complete a number of EF and reading measures and you will be asked to complete some questionnaires on your child’s behaviour. They will also record your child’s brain activity using EEG technology (electroencephalogram) for two EF tasks. Each session should take approx. 2 hours. In the 6 weeks between sessions, your child will be asked to play our online brain training game under your supervision at home.
If you are interested in taking part or have any further queries about the research please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01 7006868.
DES Launches new Action Plan for Education (15.9.2016)
Today the Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI) welcomed the launch of the first ‘Action Plan for Education’. This is a three year strategy statement from the Department of Education and Skills spearheaded by the Minister for Education Richard Bruton. The plan lays out specific goals and intentions in relation to the quality of education children are receiving as well as their health and wellbeing within the education system. This strategy has been launched on foot of the call for submissions from individuals and NGOs in June 2016, which the DAI and its members contributed to. You can read our full press release below.
Adult Dyslexia Resources – Launched July 2016
Check out our great new resources on adult dyslexia. We hope they will help to increase awareness of adult dyslexia and what can help.
They include a new Adult Dyslexia information booklet, Guidelines for Tutors in the Further Education and Training sector on how to support adult learners with dyslexia, and a series of three posters. We are currently distributing them nationwide to adult education and further education centres, as well as to community-based agencies including libraries and Intreo offices. This project has been kindly supported by funding from SOLAS.
All these new resources are also available to download for free from our website at www.dyslexia.ie/download-section. Copies are also available from our national office – email email@example.com or phone 01 8776001.
New Development and Support Officer (Adult Services)
DAI is also pleased to announce the appointment of Michelle Kinsella as our new Development and Support Officer (Adult Services), thanks to funding from SOLAS. This new post will enable DAI to increase our adult service delivery nationwide, including the provision of information seminars, training sessions for adult education and further education tutors, seminars on dyslexia in the workplace, and the development of support meetings for adults with dyslexia.
Branch Status Update
We would like to advise members that the dyslexia workshops which had been operating in Arklow, Glenties and Navan are no longer affiliated to the Dyslexia Association of Ireland. DAI continues to support a large nationwide network of affiliated Branches who offer local community based weekly workshop classes for children with dyslexia. Contact details for all currently affiliated Branches can be found on our website at http://www.dyslexia.ie/about/dai-structure/nationwide-branches/
DAI also maintains a listing of qualified teachers; these lists are only available to current members. Please contact our national office at 01 877 6001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for info on the tutor lists.
Key Findings from DAI’s Spring 2015 Survey
In Spring 2015 DAI undertook a major survey of parents, students, teachers and adults with dyslexia (787 total respondents). The following is a selection of the key findings which illustrate the challenges people with dyslexia face in Ireland in 2015.
- Only 26% of children received a public assessment (NEPS, HSE); 74% had to seek a private assessment.
- Even after dyslexia is identified, 55% of parents report difficulty in gaining help for their child.
- 76% of parents feel that earlier identification would have helped their child.
- The average annual family cost associated with dyslexia assessment, tuition and assistive technology is €1,229. For many families it is much higher.
- 66% of families report that these costs have created significant financial stress.
- 62% of parents report being unable to access appropriate supports for their children due to lack of funds.
- 66% of parents are dissatisfied with the level of support provided by government in relation to assisting families with dyslexia, and a further 22% are unsure what the government provides (88% in total).
- 59% of students (under 18) are not confident that their teachers understand their dyslexia and know how to help them.
- 78% of students with dyslexia feel that the government does not provide enough support for them.
- 67% of students feel that their school needs training on dyslexia.
- Only 30% of teachers report getting any pre-service training on dyslexia/SLD.
- 92% of teachers report that the level of pre-service dyslexia training they received did not adequately prepare them for the classroom.
- 97% of teachers agree that they need and would benefit from further training on dyslexia.
- 93% agree that having a child’s dyslexia identified helps them to better support the child’s learning needs.
Pre-Budget Submission – July 2015
DAI has made a Pre-Budget Submission to the Minister for Education and Skills, departmental officials and public representatives.
DAI is calling for:
- Mandatory Teacher Training on dyslexia identification and support strategies
- Equitable Access to evidence-based assessment and support
Mandatory pre-service and in-service training for all teachers, combined with an education system which, by design, ensures equitable access to assessment and supports, will go a long way to providing the level of support which all children and adults with dyslexia deserve.
Data from our members survey completed earlier this year was used to highlight the current needs of those dealing with dyslexia. Sincere thanks to all those who took part in our surveys; your active participation enables us to better identify and advocate for your needs.
A copy of the Pre-Budget submission can be downloaded below:
Pre-Budget Submission JULY 2015 (PDF format)
DAI’s European Conference 2015: Innovation in Assessment and Teaching
Venue: UCD, Dublin Date: Saturday 25th April, 2015
Please visit our Conference webpage for full details on the conference, including the keynote speakers presentations/handouts.
DAI was delighted to get a great media response in the run up to the European Conference. Links to some of the major articles are listed below:
- Sunday Independent (19.4.2015): http://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/health-features/true-to-his-word-how-dyslexia-can-be-overcome-31142644.html
- Irish Times (21.4.2015): http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/dyslexia-do-our-schools-have-the-tools-to-help-1.2178604
- Irish Independent (22.4.2015): http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/dyslexia-ensuring-fairer-access-to-identification-and-supports-31161612.html
Response to The Dyslexia Debate book (Feb 2014)
The Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI) welcomes debate and research on the issue of dyslexia that is reasoned and evidence informed. DAI is committed to ensuring a clear link between research, and policy and practice in the Irish education system. We have not yet received a copy of the book and would have to reserve full judgement until we do. From what we have read about the book’s contents, a number of the issues raised have been in the public domain for some time. Dyslexia “now recognised as a ‘neurological disorder’” (ref. Margaret Snowling, 2013) is a complex condition and deserves to be identified as a specific learning difficulty. However, the term we use to define dyslexia and reading disability is quite probably of less importance than what we know of the areas that are affected to ensure timely identification of children’s needs and access to appropriate evidence-based interventions.
While there is no universally agreed definition of dyslexia currently, there is broad consensus that it is a difficulty in acquiring proficient literacy skills and which occurs across a spectrum. ‘The contemporary view is that dyslexia is not a diagnosis, rather it is a dimensional disorder. Many people have dyslexia and it will vary from mild to severe. It occurs in individuals with all levels of intellectual ability, and it is associated with multiple risk factors, not a single cause’ (Snowling BPS/British Academy Lecture 2013). Dyslexia is a reality for thousands of Irish individuals; it affects 8-10% of the population.
DAI would agree with many of the ideas behind Professor Elliott and Professor Grigorenko’s book. We agree that there are no miracle cures for dyslexia, that reading is not dependent on intelligence, that many people mis-understand and misuse the term dyslexia, that all children with reading difficulties deserve early and appropriate help.
Widening the term dyslexia to cover children who can’t read despite opportunity to do so is proposed by leading researchers (Stanovich), as research clearly shows no relationship between dyslexia and intelligence. Early identification is of huge importance; identifying known risk factors is key, such as genetic predisposition, phonological deficits, and language development. DAI would like to see more children and adults have the opportunity to have their reading difficulties identified and most importantly appropriate intervention put in place to assist the development of their literacy skills.
We don’t need to ditch the term dyslexia. In reality labels are often extremely important to parents and individuals; denying them or withholding them can cause more disruption and upset that is not in the interest of the chid who is struggling to learn to read. Instead of obsessing about what we call reading difficulties, the emphasis needs to be on how we support the reading, writing and spelling skills of these children and adults.
DAI strongly advocates for evidence-based interventions; for children struggling with literacy this means multi-sensory programmes which are explicit, structured, cumulative, individualised and intensive. It also requires the identification of known risk factors and working with these, e.g. developing oral language skills, alongside good phonics programmes to develop phonological awareness. A significant issue, however, is the lack of provision of adequate teacher training; many children’s literacy difficulties remain unidentified due to lack of specialist training. Teachers also often do not receive sufficient training on interventions which assist those struggling to acquire literacy skills.
The researchers also draw attention to how the education system makes use of traditional cognitive (IQ) testing as part of assessment for dyslexia. It may be that we need to revise the criteria for accessing supports for children with dyslexia, e.g. removing the need for IQ results for accommodations such as an exemption from Irish, or access to a special reading school. DAI encourages the government and our education system to constantly review practice, particularly around resource allocation for students with dyslexia, so that provision is fair and equitable and targeted to those most in need.
DAI advocates for a system which is child-centred and based on fairness and equity of access; supports should be provided based on identified needs (Orla needs …) rather than diagnostic labels/criteria (Orla has…) The waiting lists for psychological assessment and other professional assessments are currently very long in Ireland; DAI advocates for greater access to appropriate identification both in school and where necessary from specialists such as educational psychologists. DAI would also welcome the introduction of more early screening tests in schools, such as the TEST2R which is currently being developed for use in Irish schools, as this would lead to earlier identification and provide opportunity for targeted intervention.
CEO, Dyslexia Association of Ireland
New Children’s Book written by Irish school-children who have dyslexia
Dyslexic Brains Learn Differently is a new Irish-produced book about dyslexia for children. It is written by children for children, and has been created by the students of the Reading Class at Ennis National School, Co. Clare (aged 10-13 years, with severe dyslexia).
In this 40-page book, each of the ten children tells their own unique story, from discovering that they have dyslexia to learning how to cope with it. It illustrates their many talents and abilities. There are information pages for parents and families, including recommended websites and apps. A unique feature of the book is that readers can scan a QR code on the cover to hear an audio-recording of the stories. The book is beautifully illustrated by AnnMarie Cawley, a young student at Limerick College of Art and Design, who has dyslexia herself.
The book is available now from DAI. Price is €10.00 (or €12.10 including postage within Ireland).
To order phone (01) 877 6001 or email email@example.com