Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity

Understanding dyslexia: supporting pupils, families and schools

In a typical class of seven to eight year olds, around 15% will have literacy issues. But many aren’t getting any specialist help. We’re partnering with the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity to stop children missing out on the support they need.

Our grant of more than £22,000 to the charity’s Families and Schools Together (FAST) project meant 102 teachers and 106 teaching assistants benefited from professional development training, and over 40 parents and carers participated in dyslexia awareness sessions.

The grant also helped to fund multiple one-to-one support for 30 pupils from six schools. Sessions for pupils used multisensory techniques, where children were helped to learn using their senses – for example, as well as reading and listening, they involve touch and movement. Based on each child’s strengths and learning preferences, the sessions gave them support in their specific areas of need, including spelling, sentence structure, reading accuracy and comprehension.

  • At least 1 in 10 children in the UK have dyslexia. (NHS, 2018, Overview: dyslexia)
  • 280 people including teachers, familiy members and children benefitted as a result of our funding
  • Over a 3-month period, on average, students participating in the FAST programme made 11 months of progress on their ‘spelling age’ 

Understanding the benefits and challenges of dyslexia

The FAST project professional training sessions helped teachers and teaching assistants understand what dyslexia is, how to identify if a child may have dyslexia, and how to support a child who is dyslexic. They also receive practical help for making learning dyslexic friendly.

Parents and carers at each participating school was offered a workshop to help them understand the challenges for learners, both at home and at school, and how they can make the most of difference. They also learnt strategies and tips for supporting children with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties.

‘’Up until now we have had limited resources to work with in London. The grant from Kusuma Trust is a very exciting development. It will help us support six schools next academic year, which is urgently needed in view of how far behind some pupils have fallen due to home schooling.’’ 

Andy Cook, CEO, Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity

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