Thursday, December 18, 2008


Manipulatives are physical objects that are often used in teaching mathematics.They can help to make abstract mathematical ideas concrete.It may also make maths more interesting to children and can bring the subject to life.

Manipulatives include items such as blocks, geometric shapes, plastic counters; base ten blocks, fraction pieces, geoboards, tangrams. Many different kinds of manipulatives can be purchased at your local ‘Kırtasiye’. It is also possible to make them yourself using household objects, such as egg boxes, beans, or buttons.

The following links show how you can make your own manipulatives:


In addition to concrete manipulatives conceptual understanding can also be be developed through the use of visual representations.Computer-based virtual manipulatives can be found on the internet.

The National Library of Manipulatives has the largest collection on the web.

There is also a Turkish site which has virtual manipulatives : SAMAP Project ( Abant Izzet Baysal University)

It must be remembered that manipulatives must be clearly explained and presented by the parent or teacher, otherwise the child may be confused. If, however, manipulatives are used properly, they can be very helpful in developing the mathematical understanding of children with learning disabilities.


ABRACADABRA: A Literacy Resource

ABRACADABRA is an interactive computer tool designed for use in Canadian primary schools. This web-based software was designed by CSLP (The Center for The Study of learning and Performance ).It is meant to aid beginning readers of English.

It covers all literacy skills :

  • Sound,letter and words ( alphabetics)

  • Reading fluency

  • Comprehension

  • Writing

Research studies have indicated that ABRACADBRA could be a useful tool to help second language learners as well as struggling readers

Most Turkish children study English at school, so ABRACADBRA might be a useful programme to try out with your child to help with their language learning at home.Remember that generally if your child has dyslexia they will often experience difficulty in learning foreign languages.They often encounter problems with English because the syllable structure is complex and correspondence between letters and sounds is inconsistent.As a result they will generally find it very hard to read in English.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


The Number Race software is designed for remediation of dyscalculia in children aged 4-8. The Cognitive Neuroimaging Research Unit which produced the software say that it may be useful for the prevention of dyscalculia, or to teach number sense in kindergarten children without specific learning disabilities. The software was developed in France by Anna Wilson and Stanislas Dehaene.

Go to the following page to download free in English or French,German,Dutch and Spanish.
If you understand limited English it is still possible to use this.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Maths Online Games

Many dyslexic children have problems in maths. They could find difficulty with topics such as multiplication, telling the time, fractions, place value, and decimals .

A dyslexic child will usually need to work extra at home in order to grasp certain concepts.

Games work particularly well with dyslexic children as they provide a welcome change from maths worksheets, which they do mainly at school. Games can help children to practice their maths skills and reinforce topics learnt . There are a lot of good educational sites on the web which have maths games.Unfortunately most of the sites are in English.However if you understand just a little English you can generally help your child to play these games.

Below I have listed some good sites to start to look at :

Woodlands Junior school site , UK – this has won very many web awards ,it’s a great site –

These games were devised by a former teacher – James Barrett.

Coxhoe School ,UK – They have a whole list of useful links for maths.

Maths Cats :

Ambleside Primary School,UK :

Count us in – games to help children understand basic number concepts from ABC – Australia.

Here are some links to particular games I have tried with my child.


Additon pyramid


Football subtraction game :


Variety of multiplication practice games ( Flash cards and magnetic fun )

Woodlands Junior school site – interactive multiplication games:

The Table Trees

Multiplication Grid – Maths Cats

Spitfire game – ICT games


Division bingo from





Pizza party -


Missing numbers - subtraction


Looking at Dyslexic Brains

Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle are beginning to understand how dyslexic brains work. Dr.Virginia Berninger and Dr. Todd Richards lead a team of researchers whose studies have shown that the brains of children with dyslexia work about five times harder than other children's brains when performing the same language task.

As a result parents of dyslexic children must bear this in mind when doing homework with their children - and give frequent breaks. In addition teachers should reduce homework to a reasonable amount.

Dr Berninger said :
‘People often don't see how hard it is for dyslexic children to do a task that others do so effortlessly. We can't blame the schools or hold teachers accountable for teaching dyslexic children unless both teachers and the schools are given specialized training to deal with these children’ '"



Sally Gardner who is dyslexic, was originally called Sarah, but as a child she couldn't spell her name, so later she changed her name to Sally because she found it easier to spell!!

She did not learn to read or write until she was fourteen and had been thrown out of several schools. Despite this, she went on to become a very successful costume designer.

After the birth of her children, she started first to illustrate and then to write childrens books. In 2005 Sally Gardner won the Nestlé Children's Book Prize Gold Award for her book I, Coriander. Previous Nestle prize-winners include some of the UKs best childrens writers - Anne Fine, Quentin Blake, Michael Morpurgo and Jacqueline Wilson.

Sally Gardner is proof that dyslexia does not have to stop you from being a successful writer !!

Some of her books are available in Turkish – they are printed by Doğan Egmont.I would recommend them for children who are dyslexic as they have interesting story-lines and the chapters are usually about 4 pages long.The font used in the books is reasonably large.!!

Here are some of her book reviews :"The Invisible Boy has enough humour and action to keep less confident readers as well as assured readers turning the pages." (Books for Keeps )

'All the books in the Magical Children series have satisfying stories, scintillating crisp sound effects and lively,humour-filled readings’ – ( The Times – Christina Hardyment)

If you follow this link you can hear Sally Gardner talking about her award winning book : Reading Aloud with Michael Rosen - Sally Gardner

You can visit her own site at :

Monday, December 15, 2008



The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents to eliminate all TV viewing for children under age 2 and to limit screen time (including computer use) for older kids to no more than an hour or two a day.It is known that too much TV can negatively affect brain development in children.

Researchers have found some evidence to connect TV viewing to general attention problems in children.

I think that too much tv/ computers can certainly have a negative effect, especially on children with dyslexia or other learning disabilities. As a parent,I feel that you need to set reasonable limits.You need also to try to reduce your own tv viewing in order to be a good role model to your kid !! If they see you doing something else other than watching the tv – maybe they will pick up on your example. !!

Other points to note concerning tv :

Never let your child do homework while the television is on …..

It is advisable not let your child have a tv or computer in their bedroom since you can’t monitor how much and what they are watching.

Make an agreement with your child over tv/ computer viewing and make sure you stick to it !!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Did you know that the 3rd of December is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities ??

Dyslexia is a hidden disability.The term hidden disability refers to the fact that if a person meets someone with dyslexia they will not be aware that anything is different. You look however, at a person in a wheelchair and determine that he has some serious physical problem; you look at a person with a white cane and easily notice that he cannot see; and, you look at a person using sign language and quickly deduce that he has limited hearing. These types of disabilities are very visible. The dyslexic, however, does not have any outward physical signs that give anyone a hint of their disability.

Many children may have never been tested nor or even may not know that they have a learning disability.For these children school can be very difficult because they have problems with learning, but do not have any idea why !! In fact these children become adults and very often still do not realise that they are dyslexic.Often they encounter problems in the workplace and their daily life due to their dyslexia.

Very often dyslexic children may be called names by their classmates and labelled as lazy,retarded or stupid by teachers, because they are unaware that they have dyslexia.

In a country,like Turkey, many parents do not want to admit their children have a learning disabilty because they are worried that other people will have a negative reaction.

We need to try to make more people aware of this problem in Turkey and to talk about this problem openly so that we can begin to help dyslexic children.


This forum is being organised by DITT. It will discuss the reasons for dyslexia, good practices and solutions etc.The outcome of the forum will be on-line training, setting up of forums and a web site.

They are asking for parents and individuals to send in their real life stories or profiles of dyslexics.These can be sent anonymously .
PLEASE SEND YOUR STORIES in English or Turkish.
Write World Dyslexia Forum – Personal story -Turkey at top of letter


DITT , 1 Rue Defacqz,B-1000, Brussels, Belcika.

OTHERWISE TURKEY WILL NOT BE COUNTED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In addition LOBBY your Turkish UNESCO delegates about dyslexia and the problems we have here !! Make your voice heard !! Mention the World Dyslexia Forum in your letter.

Send to :

Mr Ali Tinaz Tuygan (Ambassador )
Permanent Delegation of Turkey to UNESCO
Maison de l'UNESCO
Bureau MS1.59/60/61
1, rue Miollis
75732 PARIS Cedex 15

Fax: 01.40 56 04 13

Dr Arsin Aydinuraz
Chairperson of Turkish National Commission for UNESCO
Göreme Sokak, 7/9
06680 Kavaklidere

Fax : 0312 427 20 64


What is Paired Reading ?

It is a simple technique which is widely used to help slow or struggling readers.Many dyslexic associations recommend this as a technique for parents to try with their dyslexic child in order to improve their reading skills.

Who is it for ?

2nd grade students and above, who are slow readers .Volunteers could be the child’s mother or father, a university student – in fact even an older pupil could help.The student would need to be two years older or in 2 classes above the child.

Why do we use Paired Reading ?

to increase fluency and accuracy.

Research has shown an marked improvement in reading age.After 6 weeks, if done regularly fluency increases by 3 times and comprehension by 5 times.

Increases childrens confidence and self-esteem.

There are social benefits as well to both students and volunteers. There is sometimes less bullying of the younger children as a result of carrying out paired reading.

How to do Paired Reading ?

Together with the child you read outloud.

Decide on a quiet signal to be used by the child when he or she feels she is ready to read alone – like a tap on the hand.

If the child makes a mistake give the child 5 seconds to self-correct , if they don’t

Point to the word.
Say the word and get the child to repeat the word.

Then you will join back in reading together again- until again the child feels confident to read again by him or herself.

Give plenty of praise – for example if the child self- corrects – uses words like bravo, well done etc

When and how often should paired reading be done ?·

It can be done at home or school 3 times in a week for about 20 minutes.It must be carried out for at least 8-10 weeks .

Which type of books should be read ?

Books or magazines can be used as long as they are at the childs reading level.The child should be allowed to choose their own book or magazine to read as long as it isnt too hard for them.Preferably choose a book with a large font – small print will be more diffcult to read. With the child read the first page of the book together, if he or she makes more than 5 mistakes then this book is too hard for them , so ask the child to select another book


It was reported in the newspaper that Beyhan Savaşçıoğlu, a 1st year pupil at one of the leading primary schools in İstanbul was sent to the MEB Counselling Research Centre because she couldn’t read and write.After doing tests, including an IQ test, it was discovered that she was of above average intelligence and had dyslexia.
(Takvim newsparer -Pervin METİN)

We know that in every school all over Turkey there will be other pupils like Beyhan.There are many children, just like her, who are of normal or above intelligence with learning difficulties.Due to Turkey’s general education problems, many teachers and parents know nothing about dyslexia. For this reason, many children suffer in their school life.


I have blond hair. blue eyes and an infectious smile.People tell Mum how gorgeous I am and how lucky she is to have me.But under the surface, I am in a turmoil.Words look like swiggles and writing stories is a disaster area because of my spelling.There were no play-times at my old school until work was finished, which meant no play time at all.Teachers said I was clever but just didn’t try. Shouting was the only way the teachers ever communicated with me.Other boys made fun of me so I was lonely and misarable.It was like being on a desert island, lost and alone.Life was life and school was school.
Written by Alexander aged 9 who is dyslexic
From The Dyslexic Institute

Thursday, November 27, 2008


After the half year holiday all first year students will be expected to have started to read.There are however, some children who are struggling to learn to read and write. Naturally, parents of these children will be worried. If you are in such a situation, it is important to find out what is preventing your child from learning to read.If it turns out your son or daughter has dyslexia you need to make sure that they get additional support and help to assist them with their learning.


1) If you feel your child is not progressing as they should at school or at pre-school make sure you consult with a psychologist for an assessment.If children are identified early enough they this can make a big difference to their future progress.
2) As a parent you need to boost your child’s confidence and self-esteem by lots of positive feedback.
3) It is useful if you can try to develop your child’s talents, for example art,sports etc.
4) Be prepared for the bad days your child has at school, when he comes home angry and de-moralised.As a parent you need to be more understanding and patient !!
5) You will have to try to assist him with his homework.Remember it will probably take him twice the time as other students to complete a piece of work.Neurologists have found that the brains of dyslexic children work 5 times harder than other childrens brains when performing the same language task.For this reason, your child may tire quickly. You will need to go over what they have learned again and again, in order to check they understand the topics well.
6) Your child may need the regular support of a psychologist or teacher.Always ask the psychologist about their experience and qualifications in regards to dyslexia.Also, always ask for a written report after your child has been assessed and tested.
7) When choosing a school try to choose one where the class size is small.If at all possible, select a school with a less competitve environment !! In addition you should look for sympathetic,patient and understanding teacher.

The United Nations Convention on the rights of the child -articles 28 and 29.

EVERY CHILD HAS AN EQUAL RIGHT TO EDUCATION – (including those who have a disability).

Unfortunately in Turkey there is insufficient knowledge of dyslexia.In addition there not enough trained professionals who know anything about dyslexia and learning dsabilities.

Parents need to come together as a group to work to highlight this problem and to fight for the rights of their children.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


The parents of a dyslexic child are stuck between a rock and a hard place when their child is going through school.

THE ROCK. You want to do the best for your child and do what you can at home to support them. You look for private tuition, sit with them to do homework etc. However the child is often very difficult because they don't want to do the extra lessons at home, they don't want to do their reading etc.The constant battle to get homework done or even getting them to school etc creates a very stressful environment of arguments and tantrums and can have a negative effect on your relationship with the child and can affect other family members.

The reason the child is being difficult at home is because they find school a very stressful place where they're constantly put under pressure to get work finished, struggling with reading, or are fighting emotions where they've been told their work is just not good enough. They're very much aware of their limitations when they compare themselves with their own peer group. They often keep their emotions in check in school and vent their frustrations, anger, upsets at home. The last thing they want is to come home and find its a continuation of school more reading, more work etc.

HARD PLACE. When the homework, reading practise etc fails to get done at home, you are viewed, by the school, as unsupportive parents. If you go into the school asking for help etc. you are viewed as "pushy parents"
Recognise what ever you do it isn't going to please everyone. Although its difficult, don't give up or allow your self to be drown trodden. Keep home as his bolt hole from the frustrations of the day.

One important thing to do is to boost the child's self-esteem and confidence. Encourage him to do things he's good at. e.g football, drawing, skateboarding etc.

There are no quick fixes as far as progress is concerned.Progress can be very slow, often only a few months improvement in a year. I tend to find some of my pupils seems to plateau for a while then suddenly make a big jump in improvement, so don't get disheartened.However if progress is not being made then everyone needs to evaluate if the current support is appropriate and what if anything, needs to be altered.Sometimes the scores at school don't show the actual progress being made.They can often perform better at home than at school with their lessons

Printed with kind permission from Sheridan Sharp – a mother of children with dyslexia as well as being a special needs teacher.

THANKS a lot to Sheridan for allowing me to use her words – I couldn’t have written it better myself she really sums up how the parent can be stuck between the school and the child.
NB 'Between a rock and a hard place ' - Meaning -In difficulty, faced with a choice between two unsatisfactory options.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

DYPATEC Guide for Parents

If you want to obtain some general information about dyslexia you could look at the DYPATEC Guide for Parents.It is available in various languages including Turkish and English.

This guide was developed in collaboration with specialists from various countries as part of the EU – project Grundtvig2 ‘Dyslexia – Parents’ and Teachers’ Collaboration’.The participating countries included Austria,Germany,UK, Luxemborg,Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey.
See this link below for some sample pages of this guide in English:
The full guide in Turkish and English can be downloaded from


There is good evidence that when diagnosis of dyslexia is made early in school most children with dyslexia can be brought up to their normal classroom work, while identification delayed until late in the primary stage results in successful progress by less than half the children. If delayed until secondary school the percentage of successful remediation drops to 10-15%.

See below link

Downloadable factsheets No 19- Understanding Dyslexia - Prof Singleton - page 8

  • Reading what Prof. Singleton had written really brought home to me the importance of catching this problem early and doing something about it !!! If you have any suspicions that your son or daughter may have dyslexia go and get it checked out!! Sometimes teachers may dismiss your worries as being an over-anxious mother but my advice is to listen to your inner sense and go to get your child properly assessed by a psychologist. The next step is to ensure that you obtain the proper support for your child to assist with his/her school work. You will probably need to see a professional person twice a week as well as you yourself helping your child.
  • The problem in Turkey is that dyslexia and other learning difficulties are little understood by parents and teachers alike so often children are diagnosed with this problem at quite a late stage in their school career( or at worse missed completely !!). As Singleton points out - late identification means less chance of bringing the child up to the same level as the other children in their class
  • Only 30 % of Turkish children attend pre-school which also has major ramifications. Unlike in other countries e.g. UK- more children attend pre-school and they start school one year earlier than Turkey. There are NO early identification tests available here unlike in the UK. As a result I think many children are not picked up early enough and many go completely un-diagnosed which is even more disturbing
  • Unfortunately- even if you are do manage to identify your child has dyslexia there is also an additional problem here in Turkey in that it is difficult to find a properly suitably qualified professional teacher or psychologist who is knowledgeable in this area. There are some but not always easy to find…


I have a son who was diagnosed with dyslexia in 2005.He is Turkish and English.I had to do a lot of my own research on dyslexia because very little is known about this subject here in Turkey. I hope to share with you some of the knowledge I have gained over the last few years with Turkish parents and parents of bi-lingual children , like myself.

Most parents in Turkey have little idea of how they can help their children with this problem.Children may be going to a psychologist or have a private teacher but parents, in addition ,also need to assist their children on a regular basis.I hope that this blog will offer some hints and tips to parents on their long journey with this problem.

As I know from direct experience, when you discover your child has dyslexia you feel upset and alone, especially when you not living in your native country.In Turkey many people are reluctant to talk about this subject openly and to admit their child has dyslexia.As it is- these children are just like any other kids- just they learn differently – they are not stupid or lazy !! .By setting up this blog I hope to bring parents together who are coping with this problem and to share ideas,information and solutions to every-day problems we face with our kids.