Volunteers needed aged 13 – 19

This came to our attention via Facebook. Please contact Jonathan if you are interested.

My name is Jonathan Dickins, and I am a PhD student at the University of Southampton with an interest in reading in dyslexia. We are currently running a study, available to all children with a diagnosis of dyslexia between the ages of 13-19, in which we are investigating how children’s eyes move whilst they read. This study can be undertaken at our lab at the University of Southampton, or alternatively we can visit you at home during evenings or weekends in our Mobile Lab. All participants receive a £10 Amazon voucher and the study takes roughly 90 minutes.

If you think your child may be interested in taking part, please feel free to contact me on J.Dickins@soton.ac.uk.

Handy Book App for Android tablets and phones

On the Helpline we have just been alerted to this new product.The product information says,

“Handy Book is an eBook reader that has been designed especially for people with dyslexia and poor sight. Handy Book makes reading easier, less tiring and more enjoyable. You can download a free demo or pay £4.95 for the full licence. This may be refundable if you are eligible for one of the Government schemes mentioned below.

Handy Book has a simple interface allowing you to easily change the background colour, font style and size of text. It also has a highlighter bar that helps you focus on one line at a time.

Many dyslexics struggle with identifying words so Handy Book features a simple dictionary that allows you to select a word and see the definition. Handy Book can also read the definition out loud.

HandyBook supports ePub and FB2 eBook formats. Books can be easily downloaded from third-party eBook websites using Handy Book’s built-in bookshop. Many classic titles such as Alice in Wonderland and Sherlock Holmes are available for free.

Handy Book also allows you to view your own documents in DOC, RTF and plain text formats.

During trials at a UK secondary school, Handy Book was tested with a group of dyslexic children from years 7 to 11. The group as a whole showed an improvement of between 16% to 650% in the amount that was being read and a 50 – 300% improvement in the level and time of focus for reading.

“In conclusion, the Handy Book reading app has proven to significantly improve the way students who struggle with one or several aspects of reading actually read. All of the students showed a significant percentage increase in the amount that was read throughout the individual students reading sessions.” – Miss E. Wakely, Senior Dyslexia Tutor

Now get HandyBook for free! If you live in the UK and are registered as having dyslexia you may be eligible to reclaim the cost of HandyBook and an Android tablet using one of the following government schemes:-

Access To Work – for employers of registered dyslexic employees to reclaim the costs of anything that helps them to perform their job. Seehttps://www.gov.uk/access-to-work

Disabled Student Allowance – to help dyslexic students reclaim the cost of anything that helps with their education. See https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas

Please contact us if you require any more information about how these scheme can help you.”

Dyslexia Awareness Evening in Salisbury

Parents, pupils and school staff are invited to an evening of dyslexia awareness.


Join us for the Wiltshire premier of the film ‘The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia.


There will also be an informal discussion afterwards to find out more about dyslexia in Wiltshire.


‘’Launched at Sundance Film Festival in 2012, and directed by Robert Redford’s son, James Redford, ‘The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia’ is a film that addresses the misconceptions surrounding dyslexia and aims to inspire and help those with dyslexia , along with their families.’’




This event is FREE !



Date: Monday 3rd November

Time: 6:30pm

At: The City Hall, Salisbury



Doors open at 6:15pm, PG certificate, 52 minute running time.

Murmur: A dance interpretation of Dyslexia at Bournemouth Pavilion November 13th

This appeared in the Helpline mailbox today:

I am writing to you about a professional dance performance about Dyslexia.
I work at Pavilion Dance South West in Bournemouth.

On *13 November* we have Aakash Odedra Company visiting us with a double
bill of professional dance. His piece ‘murmer’ is all about Dyslexia. I
thought I’d let you know as it might be an interesting way to look at or
understand dyslexia through an art-form.

I hope that it’s something that care workers, supporters, teachers and
people with dyslexia might find interesting or useful.

Take a look at the info on the website and you can see a video trailer of
the work too:


Do let me know if you’d like any further information, I hope you can spread
the word amongst your contacts.

Kind regards


<http://www.pdsw.org.uk> Sarah Probert |    Marketing Coordinator

sarah@pdsw.org.uk    |    Tel 01202 203 630    |    Direct Line 01202 203

www.pdsw.org.uk    |    Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/PDSW.org>
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Calling all dyslexics aged 14 – 19!

Jonathan Dickins contacted HDA and said, “I’m a PhD student at the University of Southampton working on a project looking at reading in adolescents with dyslexia, and I’m getting in touch because I believe our studies may be of interest to some of your students. We are looking for participants aged between 14-19 to take part in a one-off study either at the University of Southampton, or during a home visit, which we conduct in our mobile laboratory. Participants are paid with a £10 Amazon voucher for their time.”

If you would be interested in becoming a part of this study, please go to https://www.quicksurveys.com/s/Ct3b5 .


Thank you for your help.

New scholarships for teachers and SEN support staff

Jean Hutchins has alerted us to the new round of funding for SEN staff in schools. Here is the link:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-scholarships-for-teachers-and-sen-support-staff

– and this is what it says! NB the four week application time starting today!

Teachers and special educational needs (SEN) support staff will from today be able to apply for funds from the National Scholarship Fund worth up to £1 million to develop their specialist knowledge and skills.

For the fourth year running, teachers can bid for up to £3,500 while SENsupport staff can bid for up to £2,000 to fund training which will improve the support available to children and young people with special educational needs.

The application window for the fourth round will open for 4 weeks from 30 April. To date £7 million has been made available through the fund, benefiting almost 2,000 teachers and support staff in schools across the country.

Charlie Taylor, Chief Executive of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said:

We believe that a teaching profession that values continual professional development is crucial to raising standards in our schools.

These scholarships – alongside other reforms to improve teacher recruitment and training – will help deliver our objective to raise the status of teachers.

Donna Frost Phillips, a successful applicant from the third round of the fund, said:

The fund has allowed me to undertake the specialist dyslexia training course, which I would not have been able to do without this funding. The course is having a direct impact on the literacy development of the learner that I am working with through my training.

The school will have a specialist teacher on site, which means children and teachers will have access to specialist advice teaching, meaning they won’t have to buy in specialist support.

The outcome of the fourth round will be announced in August 2014.

Notes to editors

The National Scholarship Fund is open to all qualified teachers and SENsupport staff in eligible schools. Applications are assessed against stringent criteria and verified by a panel of experts.

Applicants are assessed on the following criteria:

  • priority specialism of SEN
  • support from school – teachers and support staff are required to demonstrate support from their school in terms of accessing resources and being able to carry out activities within and outside the school

The guidance National scholarships for teachers and SEND support staff has more information.

The bursaries will fund up to 50% of a training or development course, up to a maximum of £3,500 for teachers and £2,000 for SEN support staff.


Glue Ear

On 6th March, Hampshire Dyslexia Association held a ‘glue ear’ event in the ‘Intech’ planetarium nearWinchester.  A group of delegates, including speech and language therapists, teachers, parents and  health and education students reclined in the plush seats to learn more about glue ear, its possible effects on learning, and how children who have / have had the condition can be supported.


Our speaker was Dr Lindsay Peer, an Educational Psychologist and expert on specific learning difficulties. Dr Peer explained that glue ear is a common condition, especially in children under eight. For most children, the sticky fluid preventing clear hearing will drain from the inner ear and leave no further effects. However, when the glue ear is persistent or keeps re-occurring, children may not receive the input necessary for normal development of language and literacy skills. These children can go on to have delayed speech, poor auditory perception and slow language processing speeds which can result in difficulties with learning. For instance it will be hard for them to learn phonics to aid their reading and spelling. Difficulties can remain even after the glue ear has gone, resulting in symptoms consistent with dyslexia. Research (Peer 2003) found that of a thousand dyslexic people interviewed, 703 had been so affected by glue ear that grommets had been inserted.


Therefore, it is important to be aware of the signs of glue ear in small children. They may have bouts of feeling generally unwell with a cold or fever and may pull at their ears or have ear-ache. They may wake at night and need to breathe through their mouth. Their hearing will fluctuate and at times be relatively poor leading to difficulty following instructions and effectively interacting. This can lead to frustration or withdrawal from social situations and poor attention levels. Be careful not to assume that the child is naughty as it can be seen that glue ear can impact on behaviour as well as learning.


Doctors are able to offer a range of treatments to try and help: decongestants, antibiotics, sprays, drops or an ‘Otovent’ device. They can refer children for hearing tests and advise about speech and language therapy. Ultimately grommets may be inserted and / or the adenoids removed. Dr Peer quoted Professor Mark Haggard (2004) former Director of the Medical Research Council’s Institute of Hearing Research: “The correct intervention for established glue ear is surgery, particularly for children over the age of three-and-a-half, who have been clearly shown to benefit from grommets……Many children do not get treatment and so have continuing problems and are disadvantaged by the time they come to school.”


Parents and adults working with children with glue ear need to be aware of the condition and its consequences so that they understand the problems that a child with glue ear is experiencing. Dr Peer emphasised that parents should share a medical history of glue ear and their child’s current level of hearing with others – in particular with teachers.


How an adult can help a child who has, or has had glue ear:

  • Attract the child’s attention before speaking. The child can then watch the speaker’s mouth and body language in addition to listening. Use gesture to help.
  • Speak loudly and clearly.
  • Respond to communication attempts giving time for the child to process and talk.
  • Reduce or eliminate background noise. Curtains can help absorb sound.
  • Use structured, sequential multisensory teaching. Show the child in a visual or tactile way in addition to talking. Use drama and visual aids.
  • Check that instructions have been understood.
  • Give empathy and support to boost confidence.



Dr Peer concluded by stating that glue ear is a common problem that should be identified as early as possible. With understanding, help and support children who have, or who have had, this condition can achieve their potential.


For further information see: Glue Ear. An Essential guide for teachers, parents and health professionals by Dr Lindsay Peer. David Fulton Publishers.

Jacky Gurney.

I Wonder What its Like to be Dyslexic

Sam Barclay, has had to deal with dyslexia
and this year managed to obtain a First Class Honours degree at
Portsmouth University in Graphic Design. He has also obtained a
commendation from the International Society for Typographical Design
(ISTD) for a piece of work he produced about what its like to be
dyslexic. He now has a passion for typography.

The book he produced has been shown to the SENCO he had at primary
school, and also an Educational Psychologist, who have both raved
about it. After some persuading, Sam has now decided to make the book
available to a wider audience. You can read about it here and also see
what others are saying about it at:


Sam would welcome your financial support to help with the publishing costs.

‘Dyslexia: An Impairment of Language Learning’.

BPS Fellow to discuss the impact of dyslexia on society


Professor Maggie Snowling, President of St. John’s College, Oxford, will
give this year’sBPS/BA Lecture
the title ‘Dyslexia: An Impairment of Language Learning’. She is a
Fellow of both the British Psychological Society and the British

The lecture will take place at The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House
Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH, on Tuesday 24 September 2013 from 6 to 7.15 
p.m. It is a free event and seats will be allocated on a first come, 
first served basis.

Professor Snowling will discuss the impact dyslexia has on society and
asks whether it is possible to intervene early to ameliorate its impact.

Without the ability to read fluently and with accurate comprehension,
many children can experience a downward spiral of poor educational
achievement and career prospects. Studies following the development of
children at family-risk of dyslexia have revealed that it is associated
with language delays and speech difficulties in pre-school years before
reading instruction even begins. Literacy outcomes in children depend
not only on the risk factors that predispose reading difficulties but
also on protective factors which mitigate the risk.

HDA going Pro!

We are excited to reveal the new Hampshire Dyslexia Association’s banner!  This was organised by Sue Kerrigan one of our committee members.

The two gentlemen instrumental in seeing this banner through to fruition are Stewart Wilkins on the left and Simon Chadwick on the right.

Stewart who owns Splash Display  in Marchwood, Southampton very generously offered to donate the banner to the Hampshire Dyslexia Association.  It’s extremely simple to erect and creates an immediate impression with it’s sheer size.

Simon who owns Ceratopia in Dibden Purlieu very kindly worked within our small artwork budget to provide a stunning design that will certainly stand out and draw peoples attention to what the HDA can provide for all people within the Hampshire area.

We are delighted with the banner and are looking forward to using it at our next event.  It will certainly make our stand look professional!