Ask an expert: Q&A with Nancy Young (part 2 of 2)

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In our new series, “Ask an expert,” we talk to the professionals who devote their lives to making the world a better place for children and adults with dyslexia: the educators, tutors, occupational therapists, psychologists, academics, writers, scientists and more, who inform, educate and advocate.

Our first expert is Nancy Young, a Canadian author and educator who specializes in reading, writing and spelling.

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How i didn’t learn to read

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I’m a child and this is how I learnt to read or you could say how I didn’t.

When you think about giftedness you think that reading would be like a first sense, but it’s not. I didn’t learn the way the school teaches, here’s the summary:

Teacher: “Here kids this is how to pronounce the alphabet, now go read.”

Me (in my head): “teacher, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, that was so vague TEACH ME!”

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2017: It’s time for change!

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As a parent, I struggle daily to ensure my daughter gets the help she needs to learn and be happy at school. Some days I succeed, other days are a miserable failure. It hurts to see her suffer needlessly.

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What students with dyslexia want you to know

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The student panel at the 2016 dyslexia conference in Toronto blew the audience away with their eloquent and inspiring presentation (if Richard Branson is looking for future executives, look no further!). By sharing their stories, they are helping to empower a generation of children and youth. Thank you! Continue reading

Study: Dyslexia-related gaps can appear by first grade

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No surprise for parents of children with dyslexia: researchers have found that academic gaps related to dyslexia can show up years before children traditionally are expected to read. The evidence shows the need to identify and provide reading programs for children at risk for dyslexia.

Summary

Achievement Gap in Reading Is Present as Early as First Grade and Persists through Adolescence, Journal of Pediatrics, November 2015.

Sally and Bennett Shaywitz, co-directors of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, lead the study, called the Connecticut Longitudinal Study, on the emergence and effects of reading disabilities.

They followed 414 participants over 33 years, from 1st to 12th grade, and found that:

“The achievement gap between typical and dyslexic readers is evident as early as first grade, and this gap persists into adolescence. These findings provide strong evidence and impetus for early identification of and intervention for young children at risk for dyslexia. Implementing effective reading programs as early as kindergarten or even preschool offers the potential to close the achievement gap.”

The study identified specific signs of dyslexia, such as young children mispronouncing words, having difficulty learning the names of letters in the alphabet, or being unable to find an object that starts with a particular sound (source: Sarah Sparks, Education Week blog).

Read the study

Direct link to the study here.

More information

The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity: Check out their wonderful website for educators, students, parents, and dyslexics of all ages.

A huge first! National dyslexia conference for parents, families and educators in Canada

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Take note: the first national dyslexia conference in Canada is taking place on Saturday, November 12th in Toronto.

This feels like the beginning of much-needed change for dyslexic students in Canada. Our national broadcaster, the CBC, did this excellent piece on the woeful lack of support for dyslexic students in Canada.

Kudos to the many volunteers involved in organizing the conference, and raising awareness: The International Dyslexia Association Ontario Branch, Decoding Dyslexia Ontario and Dyslexia Canada.

See you in November!

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“It’s what’s in your heart that’s important” – #DiverseNurses

British health writer Roy Lilley is incredibly eloquent when talking about his struggles with dyslexia and school as a child, and how he went on to became a prolific writer (27 books on the management of health care!!) despite the low expectations of others.

To help improve his spelling, Lilley relies on spell check, and sends his articles for editing and proofreading. He still lets the occasional spelling mistake slip through, but he doesn’t worry about it anymore: “I write 700 words a day, and if the other 699 are ok I’m not too worried about that one.”

Quotable quote

“It’s what’s in your heart that is important. If you are writing about things that you care about, if you are writing about things that are important…what’s a spelling mistake between friends? It’s not important. The important thing is if you’ve got the desire and the need (if you’re a student) to express yourself–you just get on and do it. Because, you know what, if you want to be a nurse or work in the clinical interface it’s how you look after people that’s important. So I would say, be like me, don’t give a stuff.” ~Roy Lilley

Watch the video

This is part of a series of videos called dyslexic nurses. The videos feature UK nurses sharing their unique perspective about neurodiversity in health care: watch Dyslexic Nurses.