Montreal school set up after passion ignited for ‘how children learn

    IRENE WOODS was just embarking on a promising career in pathology when her life took an unexpected detour. It was 1970 and she was working at University College Dublin when a friend persuaded her to come on holiday to Montreal, Canada. She enjoyed herself so much that she decided to stay.

    More than 40 years on, the Cork native is director of an international private school in Montreal. Kells Academy, which offers English-language instruction at elementary and secondary level, has a reputation for creating high-achievers who go on to specialise in fields such as law, engineering and medicine…

For more, click here. Her school can be found

UK Good-news story

On August 26, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Dare

Two Greek Rooks Heath students off to Oxbridge

    After months of hard work and early mornings Alexander-Nicholas Christou Cakkos has fullfilled his dream of going to Cambridge University.

    The Rooks Heath student acheived two A*s in psychology and geography and A in economics.

    The accomplished student, who struggled with dyslexia, is hoping his economics paper will be remarked as he was only two marks of an A*. His chosen course incorporates law, economics and environmental geography, giving the 18-year-old options to follow career as a chartered surveyor, investment banking and law.”

For more, click here

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    Adults with undiagnosed dyslexia can face serious social problems because of literacy difficulties, a new Murdoch University study has found.

    Murdoch University Researcher Kathleen Tanner surveyed 150 participants from ages 18 to 80 about their experiences with dyslexia. Dr Tanner tracked their progress while working with them while they studied a Certificate I in Foundation Skills for Adults with Dyslexia at TAFE…

For more, click here.

PRESS RELEASE 19th September 2011


The trustees and associates of DARE wish to express our concerns considering the information regarding the establishment of the ADHD Clinical Practice Panel that we only became aware of via the The Daily Telegraph and The Australian newspapers.

ADHD and Dyslexia frequently co-exist. Therefore the issuing of proper treatment guidelines is of vital importance to many of the families and adults with dyslexia that we advocate for.

We are concerned about the unjustified delay in publishing the Draft ADHD Guidelines. These guidelines were developed using scientific diligence. Further delay and committee or panel deliberations would only serve to cause those citizens who suffer from ADHD to miss out on needful treatment.

We are worried that the new panel will not adequately address the issues that affect people with ADHD. There is no mention of adult treatment in the terms of reference for the new panel. There is a significant and unwarranted stigma associated with this mental disorder. Due to deficiencies in diagnosis and access to services, many adults are not aware of their ADHD symptoms and need for treatment until far after they leave school. Since this condition is hereditary, many in fact, come for help after their children are diagnosed due to recognizing the similarities between their learning difficulties and those of their child/children. The symptoms would thus have been present since childhood even though the diagnosis of ADHD might have been made in adulthood. It is surely inequitable that adults would be deprived of the best treatment for their mental condition solely due to age of initial diagnosis. Such a prescribing policy is not applied to any other condition.

Untreated ADHD is the source of much academic underachievement, unemployment and low work productivity. It therefore is a significant financial burden to families, the community and business. It leads to decreased lifetime earning capacity and thus taxation revenue as well as adding to social security pressures. It also contributes to substance abuse and suicide.

We note that The Royal Australasian College of Physicians stated they would not be involved in leading a new working party dealing with ADHD since, in their opinion, the Draft Guidelines were thorough and well researched. In our capacity as advocates for those with dyslexia we would support the immediate release of the Draft Guidelines without watering down the advice within.

Antonia Canaris and Margaret Ellis Co-Trustees DARE 19th September 2011


Excerpts from British Columbia Handbook of Procedures for the Graduation Program 2010/2011.

DARE comment-there is not even a statutory requirement for an IEP in Australia.Please note that reader/writer options are being phased out due to widespread use of technology with rare exceptions.Many Australian students with dysgraphia would benefit from the ability to use computers. These students would not be considered, in British Columbia, to be having an adaption at all since computer formatted exams are becoming the norm.

    Step Three: Ensure Student Documentation Meets Ministry Criteria for Adaptations.

    Each adaptation to exam conditions is allowed only when directly related to the student’s identified special needs:
    • A student with a physical disability will qualify for the use of a reader only if the link between that disability and the use of a reader is appropriately documented. This link may be found in assessment reports or specialist recommendations.
    • The student’s file must contain appropriate documentation for each adaptation. A student with a learning disability that impacts written output may qualify for the use of a scribe, but will qualify for a reader only if there is an additional disability documented as having an impact on reading ability.
    Schools should consider whether students meet Ministry requirements for adaptations to provincial exam conditions as a part of the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) for the student. The student may be disadvantaged if provided with a reader during classroom/school tests and exams but does not qualify for the use of a reader on a provincial exam.
    2. Adaptations to provincial exams are allowed only when there is clear evidence that the adaptations are consistent with the assessment practices regularly used to assess the student’s learning:
    Statements in an IEP indicating that an adaptation “may be offered”, “may be allowed”, or “is available” are not sufficient evidence that the adaptation has been used in the regular assessment of student learning.
    • A generic IEP indicating that a wide range of accommodations is available to the student is not considered evidence that the adaptation has been regularly employed.

    3. Eligibility for each type of adapted exam condition must be independently determined for each student relative to the documentation in that student’s records:
    • The student’s current IEP must clearly indicate:
    i. The student is working toward prescribed learning outcomes (there are no modifications to curriculum outcomes).
    ii. The specific adaptations are regularly provided for school-based learning assessment (tests/exams).
    • There is clear evidence that the student has regularly taken advantage of the opportunity to employ the adaptation when completing school tests/exams. This evidence may be found in IEP reviews, on report cards or in file notations.

    COMING 2010/2011 SCHOOL YEAR
    In September 2009, the Ministry notified schools/districts that students entering the 2004 graduation program in September 2010 will be the final cohort who may have readers and scribes on provincial exams.

    By September 2011, it is expected that the majority of students with special needs, and especially students with a learning disability, who require adaptations to read exams and/or write their responses will have their needs addressed through the use of technology. The Ministry recognizes that there may be some students who have a significant written output difficulty, and even when provided with a variety of adaptations, will still be unable to demonstrate their knowledge on provincial exams without a reader or scribe. During the 2010/2011 school year, the Ministry will develop guidelines regarding exceptions for the very few students with special needs who have a documented significant written output difficulty.

    For students with learning disabilities, the transition to technology from readers and scribes should include a goal in their Individual Educational Plan (IEP) to become skilled in using technology to enhance written output. Students with learning disabilities and other students with special needs need to develop independence by gaining these necessary skills prior to graduation. If students decide to pursue post-secondary education, the adaptations of a reader and scribe will not be available to them, and they will be expected to use technology.

    To assist schools in helping students learn to use technology, the Ministry will be offering schools/districts opportunities for on-line training on some of the most commonly-used software programs and their use with provincial exams.

    The Ministry will continue to provide a Text Reader (built-in voice files) for required exams in January and June sessions only, specifically: English 10, Science 10, Social Studies 11, BC First Nations Studies 12, Communications 12 and English 12. Sample e-exams containing the built in Text Reader are available for students at exams/search/.

    Many students use text-to-speech software to help compensate for their difficulties with reading printed materials. Please refer to the chart on the following page for details on allowable text-to-speech software features for provincial exams.
    Handbook of Procedures for the Graduation Program 135Chapter 7

    Students, particularly at the Grade 8 level, should be encouraged to take a typing and/or Information Technology course to develop keyboarding and computer skills. Schools may wish to explore a Directed Studies course as an option for students who have difficulty scheduling this skill development as part of their timetable. In determining the need for voice recognition software, schools should encourage students with learning disabilities to complete a sample e-exam with adaptations by typing their open-ended responses.

    If students have difficulty typing their responses, schools may consider the use of speech-to-text software. Some students who have difficulties with writing are already using speech-to-text software successfully for provincial exams. Please refer to the chart below for details on allowable speech-to-text software features for provincial exams.

    The Ministry recognizes that there may be some students who have a significant written output difficulty, and even when provided with a variety of adaptations, will still be unable to demonstrate their knowledge on provincial exams without a reader or scribe. During the 2010/2011 school year, the Ministry will develop guidelines around exceptions for students with special needs who have a documented significant written output difficulty.

    Schools/districts may continue to allow software programs that are currently in use by students in order to meet their educational goals, as long as the specified features are disabled on provincial exams. Please refer to the chart below for a list of text features that schools must disable prior to students writing provincial exams.

NB: British Columbia is phasing-out paper examinations.

For more, click here (PDF file).


Kim Arlington: “Courage can get pupils through academic blues” (SMH 19/08/2011.)

DARE’s comment: This is a very good article. We know many people with dyslexia who by dint of correct support have been able to summon the requisite courage to face life’s challenges.

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Pam Belluck “Sounds – not just letters – lost in dyslexic translation” (Sydney Morning Herald, 11 August, 2011.)

    MANY people consider dyslexia to be a reading problem in which children mix up letters and misconstrue written words. But scientists believe the reading difficulties of dyslexia are part of a larger puzzle: how the brain processes speech and puts together words from smaller units of sound.

    A study published in the journal Science suggests that how dyslexic people hear language may be more important than previously realised. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have found those with dyslexia have more trouble recognising voices.

Read more:–not-just-letters–lost-in-dyslexic-translation-20110810-1imoy.html#ixzz1VRMOM41O

Margaret makes a telling point at launch

At the DARE Launch Greg Smith spoke of the dedication that voluntary and non-profit organisations bring when they help less fortunate members of our society. He said that they are often more effective than government agencies because they treat each person as an individual and are moved by love. We are very grateful for his kind words. Here are some pictures from the launch.

DARE Launch at Hurstville with Greg Smith

Margaret Ellis and Antonia Canaris at Launch


From the Dyslexia Association of Ireland, we learn of a recent BBC Documentary on Dyslexia with Kara Tointon.

BBC recently aired a very good documentary on dyslexia which featured Kara Tointon, former Eastenders actress and winner of Strictly Come Dancing, as she explored her dyslexia.

The programme can be viewed (in four parts) on YouTube at the following links

Dyscalculia Primer and Resource Guide
Anna J. Wilson

Anna Wilson is an OECD Post-Doctoral Fellow at INSERM U562, Paris, conducting cognitive neuroscience research on the remediation of dyscalculia.

The purpose of this primer is to explain the cognitive neuroscience approach to dyscalculia (including the state of research in this area), to answer frequently asked questions, and to point the reader towards further resources on the subject.

Further references include some of the major scientific literature in the field, as well as reading suggestions for teachers and parents.

Note: The term dyscalculia in this document refers to developmental dyscalculia (present from birth or at an early age) and not to acquired dyscalculia (acquired as a result of brain lesion).

For more, click here.

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