Am I
Dyslexic?

Dyslexia can seriously undermine progress at school, at work and in other areas of your life. This often leads to anxiety, frustration and low self-esteem and the longer it is left the worse it will become.

 Our Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia  checklist will help you decide whether you or someone you know is dyslexic.

If you require any further information please Contact Us. We are here to support you.

Dyslexia Diagnosis

 It is essential to receive a professional diagnosis to accurately identify what exactly is causing your problems, and put in place intervention programmes and strategies to help you, or your child, gain confidence and reach your full potential. Please Email us for more information about our assessment service. This information is provided free, with no obligation.

Extract from a recently received email from a parent

Hello Karen

Harry is doing really well.  The second half of last year Harry's reading and writing improved considerably and, in his December school report he got a D for both reading and writing, a big improvement. Harry did a great job with all other subjects, mostly receiving B and A.

I believe the hand-over from last year’s teacher to this years was good. Ms X seems very enthusiastic and interested in continuing all the good work that was started last year. In fact, Ms X told me that she will have a lesson/training with you this evening! That’s fabulous and I'm sure it will benefit Harry.

So, all in all, since your assessment last year, Harry has taken big steps. It has made a huge difference in his, the teachers and my understanding of his learning difficulties. I am so glad that we had the chance for you to work with Harry.  

Best regards; IP

*Child’s Name changed

DYSLEXIA AWARE SCHOOLS in Victoria

The REVIEW OF THE PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES (PSD) 2016; is the most comprehensive ever undertaken since the Program’s inception and was framed around six themes:
One of the 6 themes is: Better outcomes for students with autism and with dyslexia I feel excited that I was one of 5 people asked to argue the case for students with dyslexia and that we were certainly listened to 

 

Many schools still feel unsure about screening and assessing for a reading disorder (dyslexia) and best interventions and support in class. Indeed, many teachers report to having received no training about dyslexia and some schools continue to question its existence

 

KAREN STARKISS has extensive experience in helping schools to become Dyslexia-Aware and Inclusive for all students. In the UK, where Dyslexia-friendly schools are common she has worked with teams to produce guidelines and provide training and support.  In addition, many schools she worked with reported that the changes raised the learning potential for all students and that behaviour and self-esteem improved.

See workshops opposite for more information or contact Karen

For many resources to support children click on the shopping link above

 

ADULTS WHO SUSPECT THEY ARE DYSLEXIC-

If you suspect that you are dyslexic there is a simple checklist that you can complete. You simply answer 20 questions and can rate them according to how significant they are.

Vinegrad checklist

BARRINGTON STOKES BOOKS

Now sold in Australia with NO delivery charge

For some time I have recommended Barrington Stokes books because they are written for Older Interest Age (IA) but also young reading age (RA). For example if you have a child of 14 with an 8 year old RA you can find a book suited to their interest without raising their frustration level. Equally you can find a book for a 10 year old with a 7 year old RA.

Barrington Stokes Books are Dyslexia friendly. Written on coloured paper with a dyslexia-friendly font, good line spacing, helpful illustrations and short chapters. Now, older students don’t have to read those terrible scheme books about subjects that don’t interest them.

YOU CAN ORDER THE BOOKS IN AUSTRALIA FROM FISHPOND

Square 130x126 

Note: Fishpond do not tell you what the IA or RA is so go to the Barrington Stokes UK site here, choose the correct book then order it from Fishpond.

 

FREE APPLE FIELD TRIPS FOR TEACHERS AND STUDENTS.

Teachers from a school can attend a free session, or arrange for students and parents to attend one. This is a hands-on session where Apple demonstrate the range of assistive tools they have and how to use them. These sessions usually take place after school/college at the nearest Apple store. Ask them to organise one specifically for dyslexic students and others with LD. I just made this request to my local store at Southlands, who have been amazing in their response and are inundated with requests. Apple stores worldwide could provide this service so ensure your school contacts them. Here's info about the Australian scheme

 

New Events, Resources or Courses

NEW AND/OR UPDATED WORKSHOPS for teachers, class assistants, SSSOs and Inclusion teachers. Offered full day, half day and after school workshops. See Next column for details.

 

Small schools: why not invite staff from other schools to share the cost of the workshop? Training for Class assistants works well when a whole network or group of schools join together

  

1.   Creating an Inclusive Class for all students with Learning Difficulties including Dyslexia

2.      RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION: Implementing a whole school approach

3.   Supporting the Needs of Students with Learning Difficulties in Class, Small Groups & individually (For class aides and specialist teachers)

4.   Developing Oral Language and Vocabulary; a Whole School Approach

5.   Supporting Students with Learning Difficulties/Disorders:  Curriculum Modification at Secondary School

6.   Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities in Your Class: For Tafes and colleges 

 

Decodable Readers to Practice And Reinforce a Synthetic Phonics Program

Tackling Homework- Advice for parents

 

Evidence Based Interventions- Which to choose?

Advice for schools and for parents

 

Working with the school to improve outcomes for your child If you are unsure how to approach your child's school & raise concerns or share information I have provided advice:

 click here

Identifying and Teaching Students with Dyslexia and other Learning Difficulties- (An Inclusive toolkit for schools)

An excellent comprehensive resource of over 120 pages for every special needs co-ordinator, class teacher and support assistant in the primary setting. Packed with practical and easily accessible information, everything you need to know to help you plan class, individual and group lessons.

Click here for more details

School Self Evaluation Audit Of Provision For Students With Learning Difficulties/Disabilities-By Karen Starkiss

It is recognised that the most effective schools are those that rigorously self-review and self-evaluate. The aim of this Audit is to promote excellent practice in schools seeking to improve accessibility to learning for all students. It will help schools identify areas of strength and areas that require development. The audit is divided into 5 broad areas:
1. The Effectiveness of the School Managers
2. The Effectiveness of the Learning Difficulties Coordinator (Wellbeing/SENCO) 
3. Access and Equity: the effectiveness of the school in providing for students at Tier or Wave 1, 2 and 3 
4. Measuring Impact and Student progress
5. Working in partnership with the school community including parents, education and health professionals 
click here to find out more 

The Government Response to the PSD Report:

EDUCATION SUPPORT STAFF play a vital support role for schools and teachers, as well as being a valuable workforce for many students with learning disabilities. Used effectively, they can help students to learn and thrive. However, principals and teachers are often unaware of how and when to most effectively use Education Support staff.

 

Simon Birmingham's 'excellent proposal': a phonics test for year 1 students

read here

INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR ALL STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES AND ADDITIONAL NEEDS.THE GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE TO THE REVIEW OFTHE PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

Last year, the PSD panel reviewed their provision for students with Disabilities, which would include dyslexia. 5 members from Speld Victoria including myself and Jason Henham were invited to spend a morning with PSD Review Advisory Panel to argue for students with dyslexia. We argued intensely for a great number of changes, including dyslexia being formally recognised in all schools, for there to be increased funding and for improved training for teachers and support staff. We left feeling that we had been listened to and are pleased with the report findings. Think of where we were 3 years ago; this is a huge step forward. Read the Report and Response

 

EVERY PREP IN VICTORIA TO BE SCREENED FOR DYSLEXIA FROM 2017 (just announced) Read More

Schools wanting to know how to meet the needs of students identified with dyslexia in class, in groups and individually can contact us for more information

 

Information to Teachers in Victoria: 

To renew your registration this year you must declare any PD activities that develop your capability to teach learners with a disability including dyslexia

 Book a PD with us soon to avoid long waits  

click here to read VIT email to teachers  

How to Improve a child's reading Comprehension

read more

 

USING GAMES TO DEVELOP LANGUAGE AND VOCABULARY IN THE CLASSROOM: Karen Starkiss

To read a recent (March 2016) review of this workshop go here.

To find out more and book a workshop go to the next column

 

TRAINING FOR EMPLOYERS

Create a Dyslexia Friendly Workplace to Support all Employees & produce an Open & Productive Work Environment.

Recent Testimonies: Defence Forces Australia

Excellent, clear and informative. Karen was very empathetic in her presentation, which made the topic very interesting. It made me more aware of people with dyslexia and what I might do to help for more info click here

  ALL TEACHERS WILL HAVE TO COMPLETE SOME PD ABOUT TEACHING CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES (THIS WILL INCLUDE DYSLEXIA) TO REGISTER TO TEACH IN VICTORIA

From September 2016, all teachers will have to have completed some PD in teaching children with learning disabilities (this will include dyslexia) to register to teach in Victoria, this includes new teachers to the profession and existing teachers including CRTs. For in-service training details this page for a wide range of options

Repeated Reading Exercises to Improve Reading Fluency: Research over the past two decades has identified Repeated Reading as the key strategy for improving students' fluency skills. Learn how to apply this strategy Read more

 

Auditory Processing/Phonological Awareness Checklist for Classroom Teachers

click here

 

Making Classrooms Inclusive and "Dyslexia-Friendly"- Top Ten Tips

10 easily implemented tips that will make a significant difference to many students in your class Click here

 

Dyslexia-Friendly Handouts

Produce Handouts that are Dyslexia-friendly and will help so many students in your class. Click here

Disability Discrimination Education Standards

There is now an upgraded NDCO Disability Discrimination Education Standards website http://www.ddaedustandards.info/  The Standards were formulated to assist educators understand and comply with their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, and became federal law in August 2005. Whether you are a person with disability, an associate of a person with disability, or a person involved in the delivery of education, this website will help you understand some important parts of the Disability Standards for Education.

 

 Individual Learning Plans (ILPs)

Information to help teachers and parents write helpful ILPs to aid effective teaching and learning for students with additional needs. Found in Resources 4 Teachers section

 

Read Out Loud; free Text to Speech to read Adobe documents

Read Out Loud is a Text-to-Speech (TTS) tool built into Adobe Reader. Go to View- Read Out Loud and click on ‘Activate Read out Loud.’ Click on a paragraph and the document will be read to you. There are a number of additional speech settings to use such as accent & volume:in the Adobe document, go to View, Read Out Loud- Activate read Out Loud. Then simple highlight the text you want to be read.

 

Early Screening and Assessment in-school Training

Early screening and assessment allows schools to accurately identify students at risk for reading failure. I have worked with a number of schools to help them set up effective systems for screening and to carry out further, comprehensive assessments where necessary. Please contact me for details The following was posted on my Facebook page following  in-service training:

I just want to say a BIG THANKYOU to Karen for spending the day with me and showing me so many more resources to help our students. I had previously gained a lot from a one day PD that I had attended with Karen but what a benefit I have had working one on one with her! I also hope that the staff at my school all realise the importance of the information that Karen has given us and take it all on board, after all, we are all in it for the students!
Oh... So much to do but how exciting!!!! AI Kerrimuir Primary School

click here for details of the workshop

 

Wanted Dyslexia/Inclusive Schools and trained tutors in Australia

I am constantly asked for information about schools that are particularly inclusive for students with LD including dyslexia or for trained tutors in Specific Learning Difficulties. If you would be happy for me to add you to a list available to parents and teachers please contact me with some information: email

 

Improving provision for students with learning difficulties including dyslexia in Victoria 

A while ago I wrote that I was invited by Mark Tainsh, director of disabilities, at the DEECD to join a group. To read about our first meeting click here

 

VCAA Special Provision Policy Review

During 2014 the VCAA is undertaking a review of its current policy and administrative procedures associated with administering Special Provision within School-based Assessment and VCE examinations with a particular focus on the Special Examination Arrangements (SEAs) and the Derived Examination Score (DES) processes. These policies and procedures were last reviewed in in 2005.

The first stage of the review sought stakeholder feedback on current policies and processes via an online survey. This feedback will help VCAA to form the basis of subsequent focus group discussions. Schools and stakeholder groups were encouraged to include the survey link on their website and in any newsletter or correspondence they may send to their communities. The feedback is now available as is the handbook detailing current provision to view: click here

 

Australia to Finally Recognise Dyslexia

On May 26th 2014 Christopher Pyne Education Secretary announced that the Government is committed to better support for students with disability, including those with learning difficulties such as dyslexia. This includes extending the More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative (MSSD) by $100 million for a further twelve months, and the inclusion of a funding loading for school students with disability in 2014.

Under the MSSD initiative several education authorities have chosen to focus on dyslexia or learning difficulties more broadly. MSSD activities that will benefit students with dyslexia include: targeted professional development for school staff in understanding and responding to dyslexia and other learning difficulties; the use of assistive technology (e.g. iPads); allied health professionals (in particular speech pathologists) working in schools; and specialised literacy resources. To read the whole of Christopher Pyne’s announcement click here

 

NEW: SMALL WOODEN ALPHABET LETTERS. Approximately 50 letters in a set and doubles of the common letters. Children can make words by listening to the sound and feeling the shape; they can  also make multiple words in one minute. Teaching reading through spelling will happen by using this method which is based on the idea that children will learn to read words that they have composed more efficiently than words from another source that were written for them. Like the larger letters: the uses and possibilities are endless and the letters provide an excellent learning resource for all children, not just those who are dyslexic. I use the letters mainly to teach reading spelling and the alphabet sequence however they could be used in children�s� craft projects.

Click here

 

Great Posters and postcards to increase understanding of Dyslexia. See Here

New Site to Support Students with Dyscalculia see here

 

 

A GREAT SITE TO HELP CHILDREN UNDERSTAND THEIR DYSLEXIA Click Here

 

FREE FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS IN VICTORIA TO TO BECOME DYSLEXIA-FRIENDLY

The DEECD is offering funding  for schools to provide support for children with Learning Disabilities, which would include dyslexia. The funding could be used for IT and professional development, which means that all school staff can now be trained. Parents and teachers please let your schools know about this and that I can provide that in-service training to make schools Dyslexia-Friendly. Please forward the flyers below:

Creating a Dyslexia Friendly School

Funding for schools

* The funding may also be available for schools in other Australian States who can also contact me for information.

 NEW DYSLEXIA-FRIENDLY FONT- FREE TO DOWNLOAD

Children and adults who are dyslexic find some fonts difficult to read. OpenDyslexic is a new open sourced font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. It is free to download and install on your computer. Go to http://opendyslexic.org/

 

FREE VOICE RECOGNITION SOFTWARE ON WORD

Many dyslexics would benefit from Voice recognition software that types what you dictate. This is particularly helpful in schools as the workload increases and also in further study or at work. To find out how to install Voice Recognition software free on Word click here

 

How to Check the Reading Age of your Word documents

There is often a significant difference between the reading ages in one class.Teachers can easily check the readability of any documents that they produce in Word. To find out how click here

 

Advantages of Dyslexia.

A great video to watch. Once it has finished there are so many more videos to watch including a great one to show dyslexic adults and children about famous people who were/are dyslexic.

Click Here

Hank Zipzer Books for children:

Inspired by the true life experiences of Henry Winkler, (the Fonz) who was himself dyslexic, this winning series about the world's greatest underachiever is funny, touching, and deals with learning differences in a gentle and humorous manner.
Read More

Adding free Text to Speech to Word 2007

Read More

New courses for Teachers!

Karen Starkiss- new regional workshops for Teachers, class aides, tutors...

For the first time in  over two years I am running 3 regional workshops in Melbourne, Wangaratta and Warrnambool. There is an Early Bird price and a limit to attendees for each workshop. Read More

 

Kate Jacobs and Karen Starkiss- worshops for senior managers, psychologists speech therapists ...:

two workshops in one day in 3 different locations LEADING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH A WHOLE SCHOOL APPROACH TO RTI. For schools and their professional support staff. For schools to feel confident about assessment & intervention and support professionals e.g. psychologists & speech therapists  to understand how they can help & to feel confident in making a diagnosis Read more

 

See what teachers think of the workshops

Click Here

 

Updated and Brand New Professional Development opportunities for 2017-2018

 

Inservice 1, 4 and 5 are full day PDs which can be condensed to half days or after school PDs;

 

Inservice 1 (full day, half day  or twilight):

 Creating an Inclusive Class for all students with Learning Difficulties including Dyslexia     click

 

Inservice 2- (half day)

RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION: Implementing a whole school approach to meeting students’ varying needs. click

Inservice 3 can be organised amongst networks of schools

Inservice 3 - (2 days or 1 day) For class aides and specialist teachers

Supporting the needs of Students with Learning Difficulties in Class, Small Groups & individually  click

Inservice 4- (full day, hlaf day or twilight)

Developing Oral Language and Vocabulary; a whole school Approach click

Inservice 5- (half day or twilight)

Supporting Students with Learning  Difficulties/Disorders:  Curriculum Modification at Secondary School click

Inservice 6 (full day or half day)

Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities in Your Class: For Tafes and colleges   click

THE BIG 6 OF READING

Research has shown that The Big 6 of Reading including synthetic phonics, vocabulary and comprehension are essential elements when teaching Reading. Contact Karen to organise a workshop for your school/group.

   

RTI Workshop Inservice 2 (above)

From The Government Response to the PSD Report: Develop a new collaborative multi-disciplinary approach to support all students with disabilities, which considers Response to Intervention models.

During 2015/6 Karen presented RTI training to almost 300 school Principals and senior managers on behalf of Speld Vic and the Department of Education and Training.

 

 Class aides workshop Inservice 3 (above)

From The Government Response to the PSD Report: Education Support staff play a vital support role for schools and teachers, as well as being a valuable workforce for many students with learning disabilities. Used effectively, they can help students to learn and thrive. However, principals and teachers are often unaware of how and when to most effectively use Education Support staff.

 

WORKSHOPS FOR PARENTS

I run workshops for schools and support groups for parents. contact me for further information  

 

In-Service Courses for schools and colleges 

So many staff felt so empowered and excited after your PD and are implementing many of your resources in the classroom and seeing some great results. Our teachers aide in Prep is working with children individually every day and using your ideas; the results are so exciting!Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. FD St Bernard's Primary School Wangaratta

Your school could become an Inclusive  and Dyslexia-Aware School  Contact Karen to discuss how she can help your school. The types of support may differ according to the needs of the individual school it may include: 

  1. Whole staff training

  2. Training for support staff about providing individual programs using multi-sensory instruction

  3. Advice on resources and programs

  4. Training in the use of assessment materials

  5. Workshops for parents/carers

 

Karen has already worked with a number of schools in Victoria and Canberra see Testimonials or contact Karen who would be pleased to provide references. Click below for course details:

 

MAKE YOUR SCHOOL Inclusive for all students with Learning Difficulties including Dyslexia

I will travel to any schools throughout Victoria or anywhere in Australia to provide training. Some groups of small schools  join together to pool financial resources. Click here to see a report about this.

  • See a Video Clip of my Workshop

  • I presented to the Wodonga CRT Support Network in July 2012 and here is a snapshot of my course and the comments made by the teachers. Check it out here.

 

Phone 0402225051 to discuss individual needs or email me for course details and a registration form.


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