I know what it's like to be the parent of a child with reading difficulties! My personal experience was really the start of my journey in developing my understanding and igniting my passion to make a difference to children with learning difficulties and/or dyslexia. In the beginning though I struggled to understand anything. I spent money on seminars and interventions that were never going to support my child learning to read - learning to read, write and spell would only come through a great teaching relationship and an evidence based intervention program. But in the beginning I was looking for a quick fix that didn't require my time - because as a working mother, time was something I was very short of.
When my early endeavours didn't bear any fruit, I then decided that I simply had to take the plunge and tutor my daughter myself. I attended a substantial amount of training and started working with her at home. The training involved learning lots of steps and procedures, sure, grounded in what we know about dyslexia and how to remediate it, but it didn't provide me with an overall understanding that pulled our knowledge together. I felt panicky most of the time and in this state I really wasn't going to make a positive difference for my daughter.
And then I attended the Sounds Write training .... I had read related research by Diane McGuinness, a psychologist who conducted extensive work on understanding our language system. Finally I found information that brought coherence to the work that needed to be done with children. Everything fell into place - and I was properly trained in how to teach! I have heard and read of teachers with 30 plus years of experience in attempting to make a difference with children with reading difficulties/dyslexia but who had previously had limited impact - until they too came across some form of program originating out of the D. McGuinness material. They commented that it was only when they came across the simple understanding that linguistic phonics offers were they able to relax and feel assured that they could achieve what they set out to do.
So I breathed again, and set about working with students and my daughter. Something that felt stressful overnight became a pleasure, fun, something to be enjoyed with children. My relationship with my daughter changed, and it continues to grow in richness as I learn more about bringing curiosity with words and language and reading to her. John Walker (Sounds Write Co Founder) and Mary Gladstone (Sounds Write Australia) brought amazing enthusiasm and expertise to their training sessions and follow up support. Thank you to DSF for being the conduit - I have benefited enormously from the trainings they have offered. Through my exploration of many, many, websites I have also made a connection with Fiona Nevola (Sound Reading System UK) and have benefited from the material she has developed and graciously allowed me to bring into Australia. I continue to read work by Diane McGuinness and the internet now makes it possible to be networked into conversations about the day to day issues of working with children and in schools. But of course my biggest teachers are the children I am privileged to work with. My understanding and interest has come a long way - and now I would like to share it with other parents so that they too can hope to move on from confusion and distress.
I am running a 2 hour information session for parents on Sunday 15 June, 1.30 to 3.30 in my home in Spearwood. The cost is $35. If anyone is interested in coming along please contact me via email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Places are very limited so get in early. I look forward to seeing you there and connecting with other parents compelled to make a difference to the literacy lives of their children.