Sunday, 23 August 2015

A Book Review

 Helping Children with Dyslexia by Liz Dunoon

Once Dyslexia was on our radar I hit the library.  I burrowed a few different books and I bought this one from Speld Qld.  Out of all the books I have read this one has been the most helpful.  It helped me to develop a plan to help our son.  It is an easy read and the fact it comes with audio is great as it made it easy for my husband to listen to it while we did our evening chores.  You know those chores that make the next day easier when you have three kids 7 and under, like making lunch boxes and washing dishes! 

What did I like about this book?
  1. It gave me a starting point.  
  2. It helped me work through my feelings on what we were going through.
  3. After reading this book I developed a plan of attack for the the start of the school year
  4. Even as an experienced teacher it empowered me to go in and meet with my school and ask the hard questions and to expect clear, concise answers where I was actually getting to see my sons results and being able to compare them with average results.
  5. It helped me understand the importance of assessment and what it would do for my son and me.
Liz Dunoon the author of this book is a teacher, her husband and three children have Dyslexia.  In writing this book she has talked to some of the best researchers in the field of Dyslexia, some of the most famous Dyslexics such as Richard Branson and many ordinary parents like you and I.

If you are just starting out on your Dyslexia journey this might be a great starting point.  It empowered me to have the confidence to make sure my son didn't fall between the cracks in the school system and convinced me that I was the my husband and I were the ones that would make the biggest difference for him.

You can buy the book here:

Disclaimer:  This is book review is my personal opinion.  I have no affiliation with the author or her products.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

A Simple Start To Multi-Sensory Teaching

Dyslexia was mentioned at the end of 2014 for us.  I met with the learning support teacher the next day and even though term 4 was about to end she kindly downloaded a number of the resources she had created over the years to help children learn to read.  I wasn't going to wait to til the start of 2015 to help my child.

I spent the next week pouring over websites and talking to people.  All the research pointed me towards Multi-Sensory Learning and Teaching.

In it's very basic form multi-sensory teaching means helping a child to learn through more than one sense. Most teaching techniques are done using either sight or hearing (visual or auditory).

With the attitude of starting somewhere was better than not starting at all I decided that over the holidays we would work on Mr 7's sight words using this approach.

Mr 7 loves to build and is competitive by nature so I harnessed these two attributes and made them into a game to help him develop his sight word knowledge

Build a Sight Word Wall

You will need:
  • Old blocks
  • A permanent marker
  • List of sight words
  • Write the sight words on the blocks
  • Player 1 selects a block and reads the word.  If they read the word correctly they keep the block and use it to start constructing a wall
  • Player 2 selects a block and reads the word.  If they read the word correctly they keep the block and use it to start constructing a wall
  • Continue taking turns until all the blocks are used 
  • Start with words your child has already embedded in their memory to give them a sense of success and then replace 1/3 of them with new words.
  • Make sure you look at each new word, talk about it, trace over it and read it before playing
This game was a big hit with Mr 7.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Someone Said Dyslexia - Some Quick Links


When Mr 7's classroom teacher mentioned they thought it might be Dyslexia. I was actually relieved, scared and relieved.  Being a primary teacher I strongly suspected something was just not right but I hadn't quit put my finger on it yet.  He was achieving, actually over achieving, in every area but struggling with reading.
I had noticed in prep that he wasn't focusing on words well and that when he tried to read his eyes would flick off the words a lot.  This was one of my first clues that something was up.  So of course I went to google and discovered there were such a thing as a behavioural optometrists.  We went to a great local behavioral optometrist for an eye test.  The test revealed that his
  • eye movements were unskilled
  • he had a reduced ability to team two eyes together to sustain focus for a prolonged period of time on a near reading task.
  • reduced ability to team two eyes together to allow simultaneous and comfortable viewing of an object and showed signs of under converging.
He now has relaxation lenses and we are currently doing a vision therapy program.  The vision therapy program has been a positive thing for our son but more on that another day
After our parent teacher interview, when the word Dyslexia was first discussed, I of course went to google again and started to search for information.  Initially I was fussy about what I wanted to read.  As a trained educator I wanted information that was reliable and based on research.  Here are my top 4.

And once you start reading you will be amazed at the number of incredibly successful people who were and are Dyslexic

If Dyslexia is on your radar check these sites out for up to date information based on the latest research.


Sunday, 2 August 2015

Dyslexia - Our Story

I have written this blog a number of times in my head.  Some days it is filled with fear, some days it is filled with anger and stubbornness and other days it is filled with pure amazement for my son.  Our eldest loves books, he loves to listen to them, he loves to read with us, he pours over pictures and listens to audio books for hours, his favourites are kept under his pillow (above was last nights stash) yet he struggles to learn to read.  He is Dyslexic, Dyslexic and sounds like a conundrum but it is actually not uncommon for Dyslexic people to also have extremely high strengths.  There amazing strengths can help them to fox the system, to make teachers think they are reading when they are not and can mean some of them get through to late primary years with no one realising they have been having difficulty.

We are lucky Mr 7 is in grade 2 and over the last 12 months we have been pouring time and effort into helping him learn to read and working out why it is a struggle for him.  It has not been an easy path. At times it has been confronting and emotional.  We have celebrated the successes, there have been many.  I have cried with fear about a system that does not recognise or provide funding for Dyslexia and wondered why our system is reactive instead of pro-active but most off all I have gotten stubborn.

Stubborn that our child who loves school, who loves learning, who has amazing strengths will have all the opportunities he desires. He choices will not be limited because of his Dyslexia.................maybe they will be increased.  That is what we have signed up for and that is what I am determined to deliver for him.  Some days he tells me he wants to be a marine biologist, some days a lego designer and some days a hot wheels designer and I am determined he will be able to make those choices when the time comes.

I don't believe it is going to be an easy road but it will be one that we take together and together we will share the ups and downs, the hard work and the successes, the laughter and the tears.  Together we will thrive.  So from now on 3 Me and Ice Tea are going to be Under The Reading Tree.  I am going to talk about how we are helping our son, what we do at home, how we work with our school, how we discovered he was dyslexic and everything in between.  I am going to attempt to share it all the successes and the frustrations, to be open and honest in the hope that we will connect with others and maybe just maybe help someone else along the way.