Tuesday evening along with my colleague Anna, I was able to attend Dyslexia Action’s Parent/Carer Awareness course at the Egham Centre in Surrey. This was part one of an eight week course focused on empowering parents and carers, getting them acquainted with the facts of dyslexia, advice on how to help break down the barriers that dyslexia presents in their children but most importantly it was a chance for parents to grow more confident in both living with dyslexia but also to share their stories and opinions with others who are going through exactly the same thing. The key message: You are not alone!
Both Anna and I were kindly invited to join the session as we are recent employees at Dyslexia Action in the fundraising department - plus it never hurts to know more about what you are fundraising for! I have been aware of dyslexia for quite some time as although it hasn’t affected me directly, it has affected my family and a few close friends. Even though I am not a parent and that my direct involvement with the people I have known with dyslexia is now very rare on a personal level, I found the session so enlightening – it was almost as if I had finally been let in on all the secrets and knowledge of dyslexia after all this time!
We began the session with introducing ourselves and sharing our stories amongst the group. Although the usual shyness hits first, what was intended to be a 20 minute chapter of the meeting turned into an hour of the parents getting off their chest all that has astounded, amazed and angered them at all stages of their child’s development which was absolutely incredible. What the parents had to say and the fact that they felt comfortable to say what they did was extraordinary. To be able to be there and hear the stories is a sure motivator for me personally to go out and fundraise like mad!
The meeting continued to the presentation which described what dyslexia is (or more importantly, what it is not!), how this may effect a child, how to identify the signs and also we began to discuss how this may cross over with other learning difficulties such as ADD and autism. We also got really into the psychology behind dyslexia and learnt how varied it is and the many different ways it can affect people. One key message I got from the factual side of the session was that it can occur at any level of intellectual ability, meaning that it may not seem present at Key Stage 2 level but may reveal itself at GCSE stage or even A-Levels and it can also affect a specific area of a child’s learning such as either maths or literacy. I also read the other slides and information that were given to us in anticipation of next week’s event and some of the things are so fascinating! I never realised how in depth dyslexia really is!
The introductory session continues next Tuesday and after that, parents are able to bring in their children as well. These sessions are so valuable to parents – you can tell by the expression that many of this week’s attendees had on their faces and you could also tell by what they had to say. The specialist teachers who took the session are just incredible. The knowledge they have is astounding and the level of support they bring is phenomenal. I would highly recommend that if this would be of benefit to you, you enquire at your local centre immediately!