‘It’s not fair mum! You’ve bought more Christmas presents for him than me!’

Christmas presents SpLDVeronica Bidwell, author of The Parents’ Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties, discusses the importance of treating your children equally during Christmas. Admitting that children with specific learning difficulties tend to receive more attention than their siblings from their parents throughout the year, she reflects that Christmas should be used as a time to bridge rather than expose these gaps.

As we come up to Christmas I find myself thinking about ‘fairness’.  Am I being fair in the way I plan presents for children and grandchildren?  Is fairness to do with value, with what they want or with what they need at this particular time?  Is a scooter equal to a pair of pyjamas or a boxed set of CS Lewis’s Narnia books?

Children develop a keen sense of fairness and justice at quite an early age.  I think most of us can remember the indignation and hurt if things within the family didn’t seem fair.  Why did my little sister always seem to get away with things for which I would be told off?

There are things children want and there are things children need. All of them need love, time and attention from the important adults in their lives.  They need support, guidance and discipline.  They may need help with homework, in preparing for exams, in mastering a new skill.  Help may entail time, attention and resources. Continue reading

Ten teacher tips to keep a student with ADHD on track in class

ADHDDiana Hudson, author of Specific Learning Difficulties – What Teachers Need to Know, looks at the common challenges that children with ADHD may present in the classroom, and suggests ways that teachers can help them to stay focused and get the most out of their lessons. 

Sensitive teachers can make a huge difference to the happiness, confidence and academic success of children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Continue reading

Dyslexia, a disability or an ability to think differently? – Veronica Bidwell

dyslexiaIn this article Veronica Bidwell, author of The Parents’ Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties, explains the numerous ways that teachers and parents can support the learning of children with dyslexia.  She suggests adopting a holistic approach that engages all the body’s senses, examining the bigger picture before delving into the subject matter and recapping little and often with the aid of memory gadgets.  Packed full of advice and practical strategies for parents and educators, her book is a one-stop-shop for supporting children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs), ranging from poor working memory, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, through to ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), Specific Language Impairment and Visual Processing Difficulty. 

In an interview on Woman’s Hour this week Jo Malone, the brilliant fragrance queen, talked about her life and how she built and sold a multi-million pound company, battled cancer and then built up her new company, Jo Loves.

Jo mentioned her failure to succeed in school and the fact that she had left with no qualifications whatsoever. This, happily for the rest of us, did not deter the entrepreneur. Her fragrant oils, creams, candles, colognes and perfumes are loved and have made her a household name.

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Teacher tips for supporting children with dyslexia – Diana Hudson

In this chapter taken from dyslexiaSpecific Learning Difficulties – What Teachers Need to Know, Diana Hudson gives practical advice to busy teachers who have a student with dyslexia. She provides simple but effective tips to improve their learning, organisation and memory processing skills, whilst describing indicators to help them spot a student who has not yet been diagnosed.

Click here to download the extract

Specific Learning Difficulties – What Teachers Need to Know is a straight-talking guide to supporting students with Specific Learning Difficulties. It provides an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of students with commonly encountered SpLDs, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and OCD, and suggests ways of modifying teaching materials to make learning more enjoyable for them.

Diana Hudson is a tutor and mentor to students with SpLDs. She has been a subject classroom teacher (biology), a learning support teacher and a SENCO. She has a diagnosis of dyslexia and is a parent to four children, three of whom have been diagnosed with SpLDs.

Click here to find out more about Diana Hudson’s book.

How can parents support their child with dyslexia? – Neil Alexander-Passe

alexander-passeNeil Alexander- Passe, author of Dyslexia and Mental Health, talks about the different ways that parents can support their child with dyslexia who may be struggling at school. He explains that, with the right encouragement and communication with teachers, there is every chance that a child with dyslexia will thrive in today’s day and age.

 

Contrary to public perception, you do not outgrow dyslexia. The dyslexic child who struggles with literacy will likely become a dyslexic adult who also struggles with literacy.  What has changed, however, is that today’s schools have a duty of care to support the additional needs of their students.  Unlike older generations of dyslexics who quite likely had a negative school experience, teachers have a responsibility nowadays to make sure that SEN students are recognised, that they are made to feel included in the classroom, and that they are not subjected to humiliation and left behind.  In fact, teacher training is finally introducing a compulsory SEND element, which means that all teachers will be judged on their ability to support the special educational needs of their pupils.  What, though, can parents be doing to ensure their child with dyslexia enjoys school?  And how can they help their teachers provide the best support?

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Dyslexia doesn’t have to be a barrier to success – Margaret Rooke

rooke-creative-successful-dyslexicMargaret Rooke, author of Creative, Successful, Dyslexic, explains the journey she went through in writing this book. Compelled as a mother to help her daughter, who was diagnosed with dyslexia as a teenager, Margaret set about using her 20 years’ experience as a writer on national newspapers and magazines to approach the 23 high achievers with dyslexia whose stories form the book.  Its aim, she says, is “to reassure anyone with dyslexia and their loved ones – together with any others who do not seem to shine naturally at school in these results-driven days.”

When I found out my 13-year-old daughter was dyslexic, my first response was shock. She had ticked all the educational boxes at primary school very happily.

She stopped learning as soon as she arrived at secondary school and we spent a couple of years working out why this was. Was it the school? Was she on some kind of strike? Was she simply unhappy? Continue reading

How to Build Language Using LEGO® Bricks

Ralph-Rochester_Building-Langua_978-1-78592-061-5_colourjpg-printIn this extract, Dawn Ralph and Jacqui Rochester discuss why Building Language Using LEGO® Bricks is a flexible and powerful intervention tool for aiding children with severe speech, language and communication disorders, often related to autism and other special educational needs.

This practical manual equips you for setting up and adapting your own successful sessions and downloadable resources, enabling you to chart progress in the following key areas:

– The use of receptive and expressive language

– The use and understanding of challenging concepts

– Joint attention

– Social communication

The book is creative, practical and thought-provoking and will be invaluable to Speech and Language Therapists, parents and other professionals wishing to support children with a wide range of language and communication problems.

Click here to download the extract

Read Brian Conley’s story from Creative, Successful, Dyslexic – out now in paperback

Rooke_Creative-Succes_978-1-84905-653-3_colourjpg-printEntertainer, actor and singer Brian Conley reveals the difficulties that dyslexia presented him with at school growing up, and how he channelled his dyslexia to work out what he was good at. Harnessing the ‘visual’ way of thinking that comes with it, he now looks on his dyslexia ‘as a total gift’.

Click here to download his story

Filled with first-person stories contributed by well-known people from the arts, sports and business worlds, this inspiring book proves that dyslexia doesn’t have to be a barrier to success. Indeed, it can bring with it the determination, creativity and outlook needed to achieve all we want in life.

Darcey Bussell CBE, Eddie Izzard, Sir Richard Branson, Zoe Wanamaker CBE, Mollie King, Benjamin Zephaniah, Steven Naismith, Lynda La Plante CBE, Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, Chris Robshaw and others share their stories and advice. A percentage of profit from the book is donated to Dyslexia Action. To find out more about Creative, Successful, Dyslexic click here.

We talked to Veronica Bidwell about her new book, ‘The Parents’ Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties’

Bidwell_Parents-Guide-t_978-1-78592-040-0_colourjpg-printPacked full of advice and practical strategies for parents and educators, this book is a one-stop-shop for supporting children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs).  We talked to Veronica about how she came to write the book, about her long experience as an Educational Psychologist, and what advice she has for parents whose child has an SpLD. 

What inspired you to write this book?

I always wanted a book that I could give to parents which they could use for reference.  I wanted a book that would explain the various learning difficulty labels, and one that would provide advice and support.  It has been difficult to find such a book, so I decided to write it myself.

For most parents it can be really daunting to find that their child has a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) and that they will need to roll up their sleeves and get to work.  Unlike teachers and other educational professionals, parents have had no training.  It can be hard for them to know where to start.

Parents need guidance.  My hope is that this book will be of help.  I hope it will provide encouragement and that the stories included will inspire optimism. Continue reading