What is dyslexia?
Before explaining the solution to poor handwriting and Dyslexia, it is important to define what is” Dyslexia”?
There are many definitions of Dyslexia. According to the British Dyslexia Association “Dyslexia is a learning difference which primarily affects reading and writing skills. However, it does not only affect these skills. Dyslexia is actually about information processing. Dyslexic people may have difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear, which can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills. Dyslexia can also impact on other areas such as organisational skills.”
“Dyslexia is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points. Many dyslexic people show strengths in areas such as reasoning and in visual and creative fields.”
Dyslexia and handwriting difficulties
At least 20% of children have poor or messy handwriting. The British Dyslexia Association state that children with Dyslexia commonly have problems with handwriting https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/parent/getting-help-for-your-child/help-with-handwriting
Many students with Dyslexia experience writing difficulties in multiple areas including letter direction, formation, spacing, spelling and speed. There are often word reversals, such as ‘b’ and ‘d’, or word reversals such as ‘was’ and ‘saw’. Sentences are often written in capitals or using a mixture of lower- and upper-case letters interspersed. This results in spelling difficulties and poor-quality writing.
Gillian Sugrue, Professional and Associate Member of The British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA), is a qualified teacher, SENco and certified Magic Link tutor. She has taught many dyslexic children with co-occurring difficulties affecting aspects of motor co-ordination and quotes “all children find the Magic Link Programme really easy to follow and understand; this boosts their confidence and self-esteem”.
Research on dyslexia and handwriting
Evidence indicates that children with Dyslexia show persistent difficulty with handwriting (Sumner, Connelly, & Barnett, 2016). Although the reason for this connection is not clearly established, poor letter formation may result from the demands placed on the phonological memory while attempting to produce the correct letter form. Phonological memory is the ability to hold speech-based information in our short-term memory and individuals rely heavily on this when spelling and writing. Difficulties with phonological skills are extremely common amongst people with Dyslexia.
Conclusive research by (Berninger, Richards, & Abbott, 2015), states that handwriting can be improved as the result of structured teaching focused on handwriting specifically (Christensen, 2005).
Thomson (1990) reviewed a range of established UK multi-sensory teaching programmes for teaching dyslexics and identified the following features common to most specialist teaching programmes:
● Multi-sensory – by which is meant the active and interactive integration of visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and tactile elements of teaching and learning.
● Small Steps
● Over-learning – by which is meant the systematic use of repetition, both within and between lessons, in the attempt to ensure that newly acquired skills and material are automatised, consolidated in memory, so that they can be readily applied or recalled when needed, and will not be disrupted or confounded by subsequent lesson material.
The Magic Link handwriting programme (a British Dyslexia Association assured product) incorporates all these features and includes clear visual instructions and repetitive demonstrations of letter formations. Evidence shows that children’s handwriting improves significantly using the Magic Link method. Good handwriting leads to better spelling, which in turn enables children to successfully proofread their work.
Teaching children and young people with dyslexia
The Rose Report is an independent report by Sir Jim Rose to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, June 2009. This states that handwriting may be neat, but slow and this can lead to difficulties with note taking. If the process of writing is very effortful, it can be difficult for a child to concentrate on what they are trying articulate. As a result, written work may drift off the point, or be extremely short.
According to the Rose Report, long-term outcomes often depend on the extent and quality of support provided by the home as well as the school. Poor handwriting and Dyslexia needs to be urgently addressed. Sadly, at the moment, companies with no track record of proven evidence are selling their handwriting methods cheaply to schools whilst children continue to suffer and struggle. This a serious and urgent problem which needs to be addressed. The Magic Link programme provides the solution and clear evidence that poor handwriting and dyslexia can be significantly improved in a short space of time.
It is crucial that children receive clear and structured handwriting intervention as early as possible. Gillian Sugrue adds “Parents are equally thrilled when they see the results achieved after using the Magic Link method. Results can be seen in such a short space of time with many parents describing the impact as ‘life changing’.”
There is a solution to poor handwriting and Dyslexia; the Magic Link handwriting programme is a highly effective remedy. Furthermore, the accessible and multi-sensory approach makes it the perfect solution for individuals with a diagnosis of Dyslexia. Good handwriting results in better grades and improved confidence, self-esteem and motivation. In addition, the quality, quantity and overall presentation of written work improves, which makes teachers and parents feel happy too!
For details about Gillian Sugrue, specialist assessor, SENCo and teacher, visit http://www.risetothetopeducation.co.uk/
01753662753 – or – 07905395179