Sydney Dyslexia

A fine site

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Can dyslexia be a handicap?

Can dyslexia be a handicap if not corrected?

That is an excellent question, but the answer may vary from one dyslexic person to the next. Since there are no two individuals displaying the same show of symptoms, the variety of solutions is equally high. The dyslexic adults I see in my practice certainly have not “outgrown” their dyslexic tendencies or found an adequate solution; otherwise they wouldn’t seek my help. They would certainly agree that the perceived handicap has to be corrected to stop influencing their lives in a negative way. Others have found “their niche” and successfully avoided having to perform in a profession that doesn’t suit their big-picture mind. Richard Branson couldn’t be called handicapped by his dyslexia, but being in his position, he wouldn’t be required to delve into literacy, write letters himself or read his own legal documents. I have talked to many dyslexics who admitted to having made sure to be successful enough to be able to afford staff or at least a secretary to deal with the areas they’d be struggling with.


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Phonics and more phonic posts

After last week’s post on the phonics approach to reading – which still is by far the most common way to teach anyone to read, being dyslexic or not –  a fellow Davis facilitator with lots of knowledge posted the following article:

It’s rather boring to read, but at least it showed how effective phonics are to learn nonsense words. Did you know that?

I’m sure you always wanted to read those too.


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Davis Autism Approach – Free Talk


I know your child may be Dyslexic, not Autistic, but if you know anyone who might benefit from this, it’s worth passing on the informaiton. The lady coming out of Christchurch to give the talk on Tuesday, 29 April at 7 pm has more knowledge on the Davis Autism Approach than anyone apart from Ron Davis himself. Please register, although the talk is free.

Tuesday 29 April 2014 

7.00 pm 

Gordon Library Meeting Room, 

799 Pacific Highway, Sydney, Australia


Presenters: Lorna Timms


Nurturing the Seed of Change is a workshop designed to enable parents, family members and support persons on the autism spectrum or autistic individuals looking for a self development program to help a person with autism through the Davis Autism Approach.  


This information evening will give futher information on the Davis Autism Approach, how the program works should you work with a facilitator or how this workshop will help you.


Attendance is free – but we do require registration as space is limited


Please complete this Enrollment Form and attached Registration Agreement and email to: 


Please note the closing date for enrollment is Wednesday 23 April 2014




Nurturing the Seed of Change

Davis Autism Approach® 

Information Evening








Name: _________________________________________________________


Address: _______________________________________________________


City: ______________ State/Country __________ Postal Code: ___________


Day Phone: (____)_____________ Evening/Cell: (______)_______________


Email: _________________________________________________________


Your relationship to the autistic individual (parent, spouse, sibling, caregiver, 

grandparent, therapist, tutor, relative) if other than yourself.


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Phonics debate and phonics

PHONICS: Even in England they have the same approach as here in Australia – and judging by the many teachers I have seen lately who complain that dyslexic kids still don’t seem to get it – they have the same small margin of success. According to the article, synthetic phonics leave a staggering 52 % of the children behind. How can they claim, that research shows very clearly that this method (systemic phonics) has the highest success rate? 

Every single child I see, who has been objected to this approach got worse, got nauseous or got left behind. I don’t doubt that there are children who have benefitted from this method – but they were not visual learners! It is those who need our help, though. They are the ones labelled as dyslexic, SLD (Special learning difficulties) or some other label like auditory processing disordered etc.

In case you were wondering what “synthetic phonics” means…I found it for you, as this is definitely NOT the way we teach:

What is Synthetic Phonics?

Synthetic Phonics is a technical name that has nothing to do with being artificial! It is the synthesising, or blending of phonemes (sounds) to make a word, enabling children to read.

At a glance, Synthetic Phonics teaches children:

That spoken words are composed of phonemes (sounds)
The 44 phonemes of the English language
All the different ways each phoneme can be represented, e.g. the phoneme /a/ as in ‘apron’ can be spelled (‘ay’ like in ‘pay’, ‘ai’ like in ‘paid’, ‘a’ like in ‘apron’, ‘eigh’ like in ‘eight’ and so on…)
To blend phonemes in a word to read
To listen for phonemes in words to spell
Irregular, high frequency words (we call them camera words), which are essential to help children progress the quality of their writing and move onto reading full sentences
The phoneme first and then the letter name

WOW, that does my head in – no wonder they are confused!

You should see my current client – and the progress this 9-year-old has made after only three days, getting away from sounding out and reading nicely. This is still only the beginning, he will keep improving daily. He had been labelled too severely dyslexic to be taught, the mum had been asked if anything went wrong at birth and none of the intervention in the past few years (and they tried EVERYTHING) made any impact. His teachers all said that they had never taught anyone quite like him before – yet he turned out to be a real pleasure to teach, eager to learn, has great visual ability and remembers his words that way. 

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Dyslexia in schools – A letter from New Zealand

Guess what – Australia is further behind in that matter than NZ. Dyslexia isn’t acknowledged nor dealt with by our government, by our education system nor taught to our teachers. 

In New Zealand at least Dyslexia exists – officially. This was found in an open letter in the Dominion Post:

Letter to Fairfax NZ: Between 20-25 per cent of children in any classroom suffer from dyslexia to some degree. Without being able to read, each dyslexic child’s education is fraught. Many of these children are highly intelligent and simply fall by the wayside. And they have been doing this for years because it appears that successive governments haven’t cared.

To me it is a breach of their right to a proper education yet many schools are unwilling to research and apply remedial learning. There is no requirement for schools to address the plight of these children so many fall between the cracks

It is not a difficult issue to address. Where schools are creating successful programmes, such as Kenakena School in Paraparaumu and Raumati Beach School, the results are wonderful from both reading and comprehension perspectives and for each child’s feeling of accomplishment and self-worth. And the way they go about it is astonishingly simple and effective.

For years dyslexic children have had no voice. Please help give them one.


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How many people in Australia are illiterate?

How many people in Australia are illiterate?
A study from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007) has rated the literacy and numeracy skills of 9,000 Australian’s on a five-point scale.
The result:
46% of Australians DON’T have the literacy and numeracy skills to participate effectively in present-day Australia, testing on Levels 1-3.
17% of them score on band 1, which makes them illiterate or very poor readers.
When testing their “life-skills,” Level 3 is considered the minimum needed to effectively cope in today’s life in Australia. The participants had to read financial documents (like workplace agreements), health instructions, newspaper articles and similar everyday numeracy tests: calculating change, understanding percentages of a sales item or the interest they are paying on the mortgage.
In no way is the result skewed by non-English speaking migrants; in fact, they are generally placing a higher value on learning and putting more effort and money into their offspring’s education. If you think, this statistic rates us poorly, you are wrong. Australia rated pretty well, being placed fifth in an overall worldwide PISA ranking.
I have read a more recent study that suggests that we have sunken far further on the international PISA ratings scale.

Is there a link between literacy and income?
As mentioned before, dyslexics are found outside the box, so their level of income is often well above the average, but in many cases well below.
Statistically, there is a $200 income difference per week just between a level 1 and a level 2 reader. An improvement in a child’s reading skill might be a rewarding investment.