Former Runshaw College tutor speaks out about the about the 'value' of support for dyslexia

Latest statistics show one-in-10 of us are dyslexic. For Dyslexia Awareness Week, the British Dyslexia Association is focusing on schools and businesses empowering people with the learning difficulty as Education Reporter SONJA ASTBURY discovers

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 8:49 am
Updated Thursday, 10th October 2019, 9:49 am
Dyslexia Awareness Week aims to empower schools and workplaces to think about how to support people to do their best despite the disability

In most, or many, cases dyslexia is identified in school. With the right support pupils and students can progress into college and or university.

But, according to the British Dyslexia Association, people are not being empowered “to do their best work”.

So, this week schools and workplaces are being asked to set aside half an hour to explore how to empower dyslexia in their organisation, maximising the value it brings.

Ann-Marie McNicholas has written two books offering support and advice to dyslexics

Experts say empowerment needs to starts early though.

Former Runshaw College tutor Ann-Marie McNicholas has spent years helping students learn ways to work with their dyslexia, and she’s has seen first-hand how the right help and support can lead to people overcoming obstacles to get on at work.

She’s written two books for young people. The first, Dyslexia Next Steps for Teens, was written for those aged 14 and over and is intended to help smooth the transition to college, university or the workplace.

Making the right decisions about which college, which course and early planning of support are really important in ensuring a smooth transition and ultimate success at college.

With open evening season underway Ann-Marie says it is important that young people find out what help is on offer.

She says: “College open evenings are an ideal opportunity to find out more and to begin the transition process.

“I strongly encourage people to attend these events and provide some guidance on who to speak with and the kinds of questions to ask.”

Her second book is due out in January and is billed as a practical activity book to help young people learn how to study and revise effectively, by completing fun and interesting games and activities.

Ann-Marie adds: “The theme for Dyslexia Awareness Week this year is on schools and businesses empowering people with dyslexia. This is so important when they are frequently faced with negative perceptions or a lack of understanding of the nature of dyslexia.

“I think that when schools and colleges invest time in supporting, believing in and appreciating the skills and talents of people with dyslexia, they create an environment in which they can flourish. Experience has taught me that developing self-confidence and self-belief is crucial to their progress and also their wellbeing."

Helen Boden, CEO, British Dyslexia Association, said: “Every year, we are understanding more about how dyslexia is a different way to understand our world, with strengths and weaknesses.

“It is becoming clearer and clearer that we need to empower dyslexic thinking at school and on into the workplace if we going to build the best organisations possible.

“Empowering dyslexia isn’t just an issue of managing weaknesses and exploring the value dyslexia is bringing now and how to maximise that in future.”