Frequently Asked Questions

As a centre of excellence for Dyslexia in NI, the team can offer unrivalled advice and guidance to individuals, parents, teachers or employers.

General Questions

What is dyslexia?

To read more about Dyslexia click here

Can you ‘grow out of’ Dyslexia?

No. It is a hereditary, life-long, neurodevelopmental condition. That is why it is important to have effective and comprehensive dyslexia intervention. These are life skills for people with dyslexia.

My child has a dyslexia diagnosis. How do I arrange for accommodations for him/her in their exams?

Your child’s assessment report will contain recommendations for support. These can be discussed with the school SENCO, and copies attached to any application for access arrangements for AQE, GL, GCSE, AS or A Level body. The school SENCO will be asked to confirm if the accommodations requested reflect normal working practice for your child in school.

What are the signs of dyslexia?

To read more about Dyslexia click here

What are the challenges for dyslexic children transitioning to post primary?

Organisation – At age 11 – 18, children with a dyslexia diagnosis often struggle with the organisational demands of post primary school – timetables, packing school bag, time management of homework, taking and collating notes and learning to revise. Our tutors will help children going through this transition. Specific sessions may be available during the summer. Contact tuition@nidyslexiacentre.co.uk.

Languages – Children with a dyslexia diagnosis may struggle with languages. Sometimes the assessment report will have commented on this. In any case discuss the situation with your school SENCO. Sometimes a waiver can be negotiated. Students report that Spanish is often an easier option than other languages.

Written work - It can be a good idea to let your child learn touch typing to help with written work. It can also help to negotiate with school for your child to submit written work in typed format. Some older children have found voice to text facilities to be invaluable.

Spelling – In post primary school, your child should not be marked down for spelling mistakes. If they are, discuss with the SENCO and specific subject teachers where possible. It is helpful if you can organise a spelling book for each subject that your child can reference and learn from.

SENCO - Make sure the SENCO has a copy of the assessment report and a report from Primary School on your child’s IEP. Your child should continue to receive IEP’s in post-primary school. Make sure the SENCO has communicated to the subject teachers the individual dyslexia profile of your child and any access arrangements/ recommendations for support they need in class.

GCSE/A Level – In seeking access arrangements at exam stage, it will be up to the SENCO or the school examinations officer (not the parent) to apply to the relevant examination organisation by completing a JCQ Form 8. It is therefore important that the access arrangements required by your child are put in place early and consistently. An application for access arrangements must reflect the ‘normal way ofworking’ adjustments your child has at school.

Assessment Questions

I suspect my child has dyslexia. What should I do?

An initial screening of your child can be carried by the school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator) which can identify common traits of dyslexia. If the child meets certain criteria the school can request an assessment to be carried out by the Education Authority.

Unfortunately, in our experience, owing to school budget and resource pressures, this may take some time to put in place, delaying appropriate and effective intervention for your child.

The Dyslexia Centre can arrange an assessment, carried out by an HCPC registered Educational Psychologist. We advise parents that a privately obtained assessment report is theirs and they should take it to their child’s school and discuss it with the SENCO / Special Needs or Class teacher. It is a reasonable expectation that the recommendations are used to provide appropriate support to benefit the child’s educational progress.

What is the fee for an assessment?

£460 (£650 for an employer)

My child was assessed when they were 8. Do they need assessed again before GCSE, A Level or University?

In many cases this is necessary, as examination boards, colleges and universities may request an up-to-date assessment. We recommend that you contact the relevant educational body to check – in good time - as schools may have to provide evidence that the recommendations for support / access arrangements reflect the individual’s ‘normal way of working’.

My child has already had an assessment but I am not happy with the conclusions. Can I arrange another assessment?

Another assessment cannot normally be carried out within 18 months of a previous one.

My child has been screened for dyslexia in school. This identified dyslexic traits, but I have been told the “score” isn’t high enough to warrant an assessment through the Education Authority. What should I do?

The EA sets criteria to determine whether a child is eligible for an assessment by an EA educational psychologist. These criteria are based on scores obtained on a range of reading and spelling tests provided by the EA. You have the option then to consider investing in a private assessment report. This can be arranged through the Dyslexia Centre. [link to assessments]

Will my school accept a private assessment report?

Here are some views on private educational psychology assessments from professional bodies:

“In terms of privately commissioned educational psychology reports, both the schools and the Educational Psychology Service have a duty to pay attention to these and to examine any recommendations arising from them” British Psychological Society

“……….., the JCQ recommends that SENCOS and assessors working within the (exam) centre should always carefully consider any privately commissioned assessment to see whether the process of gathering a picture of need, demonstrating normal way of working ultimately assessing the candidate themselves should be instigated. ” PATOSS & JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications) 2019/2020.

From our perspective, at the NI Dyslexia Centre, we believe that schools have a duty of care and a moral responsibility to use the information in the report to arrange appropriate and relevant educational support for the child.

The principal intention of an independent educational psychology report is to identify needs and to provide helpful information to a child’s teachers. The results of the assessment may indicate that a child meets the EA criteria for access to support within school from the Peripatetic Teaching Service. In this case we suggest discussing this with the school principal.

I am going to university /college and need to get assessed. Can you advise me on how to do this?

We recommend contacting your university’s or college’s Student Support Service, to ask if they provide an assessment service. If they do not, then check if they will fund / part-fund the fee for a privately obtained assessment – many do. You may contact the NI Dyslexia Centre to arrange an assessment for you. Contact: assessments@nidyslexiacentre.co.uk

I have lost my child’s assessment report. Do you have a copy?

No. We do not keep copies of the assessment reports. Consider contacting the Educational Psychologist who carried out the assessment, or the school if you provided them with a copy.

I think my child may have also have ADHD or Autism or Dyspraxia. Will the assessment diagnose this?

An Educational Psychology assessment is carried out using a range of ability and attainment tests to investigate areas including verbal reasoning, processing speed, working memory, reading, spelling, oral comprehension and numeracy. If appropriate, a diagnosis of Dyslexia and /or Dyscalculia will be given. An assessment may note possible signs of other conditions, e.g. ADHD and Dyspraxia. If so, the psychologist will recommend full assessment by an appropriate professional.

Tuition Questions

What is the fee for tuition?

We provide individual tuition on a weekly basis at the centre. All our tutors are experienced and hold specialist, post-graduate, dyslexia teaching qualifications (Masters / OCR Level 5 and/or Level 7). We normally have a waiting list for tuition, but spaces regularly arise.

Tuition costs £35 for an hour on a weekly basis.

If you would like further information please contact tuition@nidyslexiacentre.co.uk

Do you use Toe by Toe?

Yes. Toe by Toe is one of many tools we use in tuition. The tools and resources we use are dependent on the individual learning profile of each child and the teaching style of each of our highly skilled tutors.

I would like to arrange tuition for my child. Do you have any available?

We normally have a waiting list for tuition, but spaces regularly arise. If you would like further information please contact tuition@nidyslexiacentre.co.uk

In your testimonials, children have attended for many years. Will my child need that?

Each child is different, and so tuition is designed accordingly: the length of time a learner attends for may vary from a few months to some years. The support that the child needs will also change as they grow. Children report that they feel safe and well supported in the centre, and that their tutor understands them and their needs.

Schools have varying degrees of expertise in dyslexia, and/or resources to help support pupils. The amount of tuition a child needs is ultimately the parent’s decision and can be discussed and agreed with the centre tutors.

I have heard good reports of the effectiveness of your method of teaching children with dyslexia. What is your teaching approach?

Teaching at the NI Dyslexia Centre follows the model developed by Professor Tim Miles and Elaine Miles and their colleagues at the University of North Wales. This incorporates the Orton - Gillingham approach which is a direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic and prescriptive method of teaching literacy skills.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach is focused upon the learning needs of the individual student. Orton-Gillingham (OG) practitioners design individualised programmes of lessons and materials to work with students at the level they present by pacing instruction and the introduction of new materials to their individual strengths and weaknesses. Students with dyslexia need more help in sorting, recognising, and organising the raw materials of language for thinking and use. Language elements that non-dyslexic learners acquire easily must be taught directly, explicitly and systematically.

I am on the waiting list for tuition. What can I do with my child to support them in the meantime?

Firstly, have a look at our resources section which should be helpful.

Secondly, consider attending a Parents Course. Click Here

Alternatively, arrange an advice consultation with our senior tutors. Click Here

I can’t come to Belfast for tuition. Do you know of a tutor in my area? What do I look for in terms of qualifications appropriate to help my dyslexia child?

Please ask us to see if there is a tutor in your area whom we know and can therefore recommend.

Tutors in the Centre have all been trained by John Clarke on the OCR SpLD Diploma Courses, and he keeps in close contact with the tutors and their work. All our tutors are experienced and hold specialist post-graduate dyslexia teaching qualifications (Master’s, OCR Level 5 and Level 7). We incorporate the Orton Gillingham approach in our teaching [LINK}. There are other qualifications and approaches but it is important to check them out to ensure the quality/effectiveness of the tuition before you make a significant investment of your time and money.

Your school SENCO may know of a fully-trained teacher who is employed by the EA’s Peripatetic Teaching Service. You might also contact the PATOSS organisation and ask if they can recommend a fully-qualified, dyslexia –trained tutor. https://www.patoss-dyslexia.org/ Belfast Branch - patoss.belfast@gmail.com.

When choosing a tutor always ask what specific dyslexia teaching qualification they hold, what experience they have and what approach they use.

My child is going to do the transfer test. Can I arrange tuition?

We normally have a waiting list for tuition, but spaces regularly arise. Tutors can work with past papers and teach appropriate techniques and strategies for approaching Transfer questions within the context of the child’s individual dyslexic difficulties.

If you would like further information please contact tuition@nidyslexiacentre.co.uk

If there are no suitable tuition slots available at the centre consider requesting Summer Tuition. Click Here

Parent Training

When is your next Parent’s Course?

The Parents’ Course is a 2 day course and takes place over two Saturdays. We currently run this twice a year, usually in February/March and in October / November. Please note: this course may be more suitable for parents of primary and early secondary pupils. Further information can be found here

Contact parentscourse@nidyslexiacentre.co.uk for current dates and to register your interest.

Teacher Training

I am a teacher who would like to study for an additional qualification in dyslexia. How do I go about this?

Unfortunately, the OCR Diploma qualification is no longer offered by the OCR Awarding Body, so the Centre can no longer offer certified dyslexia teacher training. This is matter of some regret as it has always been regarded as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of training courses. We are considering offering a short, non-certified course on appropriate teaching methods and building a phonic programme for dyslexic learners.

I am a teacher and would like you to come in to train a group of teachers or learning assistants. How do I arrange this?

Contact info@nidyslexiacentre.co.uk. This can be arranged as a half-day course, normally on a Wednesday morning (there may be a waiting list). This is delivered by one of our senior tutors who has had previous experience in teaching on the OCR post-graduate diploma course. The training can be tailored to specific requests. The cost is £375 per half-day course.

At present this service is only available within a 45 minute driving distance from Belfast. Bespoke training can be arranged for groups of teachers / classroom assistants at our Centre: contact us to discuss this on info@nidyslexiacentre.co.uk


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