Tuesday, 22 March 2016


Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities.
People with this condition have difficulty in the areas of language processing.
People with dyslexia are usually more creative and have a higher level of intelligence.
People with dyslexia can only use the right side of the brain to process language, while non-dyslexics use three areas on the left side of the brain to process language.
Dyslexia ranges from mild to severe symptoms.
Dyslexia is a learning disability that people diagnosed with it have difficulty in the use and/or processing of linguistic and symbolic codes, alphabetic letters representing speech sounds or number and quantities.

Amy Smyth the Information Officer of The Dyslexia Association of Ireland's social media page on Facebook kindly agreed to answer a few questions about Dyslexia.
These questions and answers are very informative.
You can view the page at https://m.facebook.com/Dyslexia-Association-of-Ireland-92772324361/


What is dyslexia?
There are many definitions of dyslexia.
A very simple one would be that dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which makes it hard for some people to learn to read, write and spell correctly.

What causes it?
A great deal of research has been done in recent years on the cause of dyslexia and it may be that a great deal more needs to be done before we have a definitive answer. 
We do know that developmental dyslexia is inherited, only slightly more common in males than females and that one is born with it. 
While no conclusive research has been carried out in Ireland to determine how prevalent it is, studies in other countries would suggest that approx.
8-10% of the population are likely to be affected. 
It would seem that people with dyslexia share a cluster of genes, which may, it is believed, account for the variations in the nature and extent of specific learning difficulties.
Experts are not agreed, however, on the underlying causes of dyslexia. 
The prevalent research considers that a phonological deficit is the root cause of dyslexia. 
Evidence from brain imaging suggests that people with dyslexia do not activate the left hemisphere (the language side) in the brain as much when reading as non-dyslexic readers, and that there is less engagement of the areas of the brain which match letters with sounds.
Experts do agree that dyslexia describes differences in the way in which the brain processes information, and while there may be differences in the way in which the brain works, this does not imply any abnormality, disease or defect.

How is it diagnosed?
The first step is a proper assessment to confirm whether your child has a learning difficulty (such as dyslexia), and what type and degree of difficulty the child has. 
Following diagnosis the psychologist who assesses the child will then advise you on what strategies and supports would be most suited given the child’s own current needs.

What does an assessment involve?
An assessment takes approximately three hours and it is done by a psychologist, generally an educational psychologist.  
An educational psychology assessment consists of a series of activities to determine levels of literacy, numeracy and other relevant cognitive skills. 
The aim of the assessment is to to examine the learning strengths and abilities of the person and to find out if any learning difficulty exists. 
Following assessment the psychologist will explain the findings and advise on the best course of action.   
A feedback session is given immediately and a written report is supplied later.  Advice on tuition, and suitable strategies for improving learning is given, and referral can be made to other professionals. 
The assessment does not only test for dyslexia - if there is any kind of underlying learning difficulty it will generally show up with this assessment. 

How do I get my child assessed?
There are generally 3 ways to get an assessment done in Ireland – in school with NEPS, with the Dyslexia Association or with an independent private educational psychologist.

1. School-going children may be tested free by the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS).
School Principals will have information on this.  Schools are only allowed a limited number of assessments each year, so in practice, only students with very severe difficulties are likely to be seen through the school service.

2. The Dyslexia Association of Ireland arranges psycho-educational assessments at our Dublin Office. 
The assessment fee is €490.  
In very exceptional circumstances, a reduced rate may be available for people on social welfare or very low income; please ask if you feel that you may need assistance.
A subsidy of up to €245 towards the assessment fee may be granted in such exceptional circumstances.
DAI is a charity, and we are only able to offer these limited subsidies due to fundraising and donations. 
There is a waiting list for DAI’s assessment service of approximately 2-3 months for those able to pay the full fee and 6-8 months for those requiring funding.
We do occasionally get cancellations so if there is a particular urgency and if people are flexible to come at very short notice, and can pay the full fee, it can sometimes be possible to get an assessment more quickly.
To place your child’s name on our assessment waiting list, please phone us on 01-877 6001 or email to info@dyslexia.ie and we will send you the required forms.
Or, you can download the referral forms fromhttp://www.dyslexia.ie/dai-services/assessment-service/ .

3. There are also many independent private educational psychologists, throughout the country. 
A list of registered psychologists can be obtained from the Psychological Society of Ireland’s website at www.psihq.ie, by emailing the Society at info@psihq.ie or by writing to the Psychological Society of Ireland, Floor 2, Grantham House, Grantham Street, Dublin 2. 
Charges vary between €500 and €800 on average.

NOTE: Tax relief on the assessment fee of a dependent child is allowable via the MED1 Form.
Visit the revenue website www.revenue.ie and see the section on tax relief for health expenses for further information.
You can download a MED1 form from the revenue website or get one from your local tax office.

What help is available?
Technology has been a boon to people with dyslexia.
There is a wide range of technological aids available which can also help people to manage their dyslexia independently.
Dyslexia is a life-long condition.
It does not go away. 
However, with the right supports and aids, an individual can learn to manage their dyslexia and become an independent self-sufficient learner and worker.

What supports does the association offer?
•             An Information Service is run from our national office – post, phone, email, website and in person.
Information on local services is also provided by volunteers through our network of nationwide branches.
•             An Assessment Service is run in our national office.
We have a team of educational psychologists who provide a range of assessment services.
We work with children, young people and adults.
•             Specialist Tuition for Children. DAI has a range of specialist tuition services for children with dyslexia, e.g. one-to-one tuition, weekly Workshop classes.
•             Specialist Tuition for Adults.
DAI has a range of specialist tuition options for adults who have been diagnosed with dyslexia, e.g. one-to-one tuition, the Career Paths full-time course, and occasionally evening courses.
•             Membership of DAI is open to any interested individual.
Members receive a Newsletter twice each year, and some of our services are only available to members. 
Members also qualify for reduced rates at some DAI events. Membership also supports the continued existence of the Association.
•             Training and Education. 
DAI runs many seminars and courses for parents, teachers, and other groups. Conferences are held every two years. Bespoke training and talks are also available on request.
•             Lobbying and Campaigning. 
DAI both nationally and locally is active in lobbying and campaigning for greater awareness and improved services for those dealing with dyslexia.
All DAI members are also encouraged to lobby and campaign, as there is great strength in numbers.
•             Fundraising activities. 
As a charity with limited state support, DAI is very reliant on fundraising to enable us to continue to provide our services.
Please contact our Information Team by calling 01 877 6001 or by emailing info@dyslexia.ie if you have any questions.

Does a child with dyslexia require special needs education?
No a child with Dyslexia does not require special needs education.
However Students with Dyslexia may receive supplementary support in their school from the Learning Support teacher. 
This help is usually in a small group setting, and is usually organised on a withdrawal basis from the regular class.


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