Friday, February 27, 2009


A Bollywood film called Taare Zameen Par, (Stars on Earth ) which is about the struggles of an 8-year-old boy with dyslexia was selected as India's entry for the best foreign film category for the 2009 Academy Awards.

The film has helped to raise public awareness about dyslexia in India.

A big hit in India ,the film is about a boy who is told off and punished by teachers and parents for poor test results, and also who is bullied. He is very unhappy until a new arts teacher discovers the boy has dyslexia and encourages him to paint. The Walt Disney Company has bought the rights to the film. This is the first time an international studio has bought the video rights of an Indian film.

Since the release of the film there has been a much greater interest in dyslexia from the Indian general public. A parents dyslexic group called Action Dyslexia Delhi has had 10 times more parents visiting the centre than before !! In West Bengal the film was shown to 4,500 teachers as part of a training session !! The Prime Minister of India watched a private screening of the film and was reported to have been moved by the film and said ' it was a lesson for India's educational system. '

Like Turkey.Indian schools are very competitive, and the education system places a large emphasis on textbook studies rather than on other skills. Teachers mostly see children with learning disabilities as un-teachable and badly behaved. Most Indian schools do not have programmes to help children with learning disabilities, and teachers are generally not trained to deal with the problem , if not completely ignorant of it.

In fact It sounds as if the situation in India concerning dyslexia is not much different from here in Turkey !! It great to hear that this film has helped in some way to raise awareness of the plight of dyslexic kids in India .... I hope that we can get to watch this film soon .....

Rama Lakshmi of The Washington Post has written an interesting article about the impact of the film and how dyslexia has become a household name in India !! The article is entitled ‘The Pain of Dyslexia, As Told by Bollywood’
To see the article go to :

For more information on the film go to :

Official film site:


Thursday, February 26, 2009



Children with disabilities, such as dyslexia may be at a higher risk of being bullied than other children.

What is bullying?

Bullying among children is aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength. Typically, it is repeated over time. ( Dan Olweus )

Many children do not tell their parents or teachers at school about being bullied. It is important that as a parent you watch out for possible signs of bullying.

Bullying is a serious problem in schools in Turkey .However very little research has been done on this subject.We need to raise the awareness of students, teachers, school principals, and parents to the problem in Turkey !!! In other countries there are central policies and guidelines concerning bullying.

Students Who are Bullied -
can suffer these types of effects , which can last long into their future:
· Depression
· Low self-esteem
· Health problems
· Poor grades
· Suicidal thoughts

Warning signs ( from the leaflet)

Possible warning signs that a child is being bullied:

1. Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings;
2. Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches;
3. Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time;
4. Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with peers (such as clubs) ;
5. Has lost interest in school work or suddenly begins to do poorly in school;
6.Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home;
7. Complains frequently of headaches, stomach aches, or other physical ailments;
8. Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams;
9. Experiences a loss of appetite; or
10..Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem.

What to do if you suspect that your child is being bullied?
If your child shows any of these signs, this does not necessarily mean that he or she is being bullied,but it is a possibility worth exploring.

What should you do? First talk with your child and then you will need to discuss the problem with the staff at your child's school.

For a very useful article about dyslexia amd bullying see :

For general information on bullying:

For a very good brochure about bullying in Turkish:
go to Google type in‘ Zorbalık nedir’

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

THE JCB SONG- about a boy who was dyslexic

The JCB Song by Nizlopi

The JCB song is about a little boy riding in his father’s digger and it was a No 1. hit in the UK. It was written by Luke Concannon and tells how great he felt when he was five and his builder dad used to pick him up from school in a JCB (digger) .Luke struggled in his studies because of dyslexia and says he was often bullied by both pupils and teachers.The JCB Song celebrates how all his troubles at school disappeared when he was riding in the cab of the big digger with his father.

Luke is one half of double act Nizlopi. He recorded the track with fellow dyslexic John Parker, who has been his best friend since they were 13.

Luke recalls ‘My grandad and dad are both builders and my dad used to give me a lift home in his big JCB. He even let me drive it sometimes.All that rubbish with school just used to be left behind for a while.”

Luke said about the song ‘There’s a good story behind this track. I hope some people can relate to it and hopefully take some comfort from it. I don’t look at dyslexia as something that should hold you back and I hope other people don’t as well.

The song and accompanying video — can be viewed on the internet. Go to :

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Classroom Accommodations for Students with Learning Disabilities

Six Classroom Accommodations for Students with Learning Disabilities.

The ADDitude magazine is a magazine which gives information on ADD,ADHD and other learning disabilites such as dyslexia.In Feb/March 2006, in an article written by Royce Flippin, it recommended six proven classroom accommodations,
1. Seating the student near the teacher and away from doors and windows.
This helps the child stay focused on the teacher.
2. Allowing a student to tape-record assignments.
Kids with learning disabilities tend to have trouble remembering spoken instructions.
3. Providing the child with a note-taking partner.
Dyslexia- related
handwriting problems
can make it hard to keep up when taking notes.
4. Giving a lighter homework load. This is appropriate for children with dyslexia who struggle to get their homework done. The questions are just as hard - there are just fewer of them.
5. Granting extra time for test-taking.
The idea is not to make the exam easier for the child but to level the playing field, by providing sufficient time for the child to show what he knows.
6. Letting the student run occasional errands for the teacher.
This can help
hyperactive kids burn off some energy.

Accommodations at not a change in the curriculum.Instead they are a slight change in the way tasks are presented.Accommodations are fair. They enable a child to receive equal access to education despite a childs disability.Unfortunately in Turkey very often schools do not wish to make any such accommodations - despite the fact that they should do !!!!


Many people see dyslexia just as a reading and writing difficulty. But the problems that cause these difficulties also impact on many other life skills. The Edysgate project has developed a series of Internet-based training modules to train specific skills for dyslexic persons.

There are a number of games available which can help to train the following skills:

Auditory discrimination - this can be defined as “the ability to identify and distinguish between different sounds.

Auditory memory - involves being able to take in information that is presented orally, to process such information, store it in one’s mind and then recall what one has heard.

Auditory sequence

Visual discrimination - is the ability to recognise similarities and differences between visual images. For example the ability to match a circle or square within a whole series of different forms.

Visual memory - is the ability to recall information that has been presented visually.

Visual sequence- to the ability to see objects in a particular sequential order

Spatial position (e.g. top, bottom, behind, ahead, left, right).

It is geared to young dyslexic adults e.g. after school, at vocational training, at university, at the beginning of their professional career

The principles behind the exercises are not specific for any given language - they will work for all individuals across Europe.
On the left side of the home page – click on ‘learning games’. You will need to give a users name and a password – after you can start to play the games


Monday, February 23, 2009


Dicey Spellıng

Dyslexic children find it difficult to learn spellings.Dicey spelling is a useful technique to try out.It works on the idea that after the spelling has been looked at and thought about, another activity is used to occupy the short term memory but which will also involve the use of the spelling. This means that the brain will internalize it in the LONG TERM MEMORY, not just ‘dump’ the spelling because it doesn’t need it any more.

When children play the game at the beginning you can often find them saying,“What was that word again?” This shows just how quickly the brain removes information it considers irrelevant. After a few attempts at the game, pupils begin to remember better.

Because this game involves recalling memories and is repetitive and fun,this will develop the pupils experiences of memory recall. Use a small number of words only (maybe 6) and play the list through at least twice at each session.

How to play:
Write the words on individual cards.
Study the word.
Remove the word.

Throw the dice. The number you get decides which of the tasks you do.
1. write word with eyes shut
2. write word with opposite hand
3. spell word aloud backwards
4. write word in bubble writing
5. write each letter in different colour
6. write a word with a similar meaning.
(Change these numbers/task around when they become too familiar.Add different tasks)

The game can be adapted in many ways. You can use it to learn subject vocabulary and key terminology .You could use it to teach maths facts eg number bonds ( 8+2 .,7+ 3 , 6 + 4) or multiplication.etc.

This idea came from Sally Raymond.She is a qualified teacher of dyslexic children. Dicey Spellings comes from her book 'Dragonfly Games : Supporting and Developing Dyslexic Learning 7-14 David Fulton.

She runs local groups and a website for dyslexic children and their parents.Sally has written a book called Helping Children Cope with Dyslexia (2nd Ed.) Sheldon Press ISBN: 978-0-85969-875-7

Both books can be obtained from


Lattice multiplication

Very often children with dyslexia or learning disabilites may find problems with the traditonal method for long multiplication.This is because it relies heavily on the working memory .

If your child is struggling with multi-digit multiplication then lattice multiplication is a good tool to try out as it will help them to gain confidence.

Lattice multiplication is a method of multiplying large numbers using a grid. This method breaks the multiplication process into smaller steps, which some students find easier. Digits to be carried are written within the grid, making them harder to miss.

Here is an explanation of the lattice multiplication method :

Let's multiply 216 x 32. First write the 216 across the top, and the 32 down the right side of a 3x2 rectangle. ( see above diagram )

Now fill in the lattice by multiplying the two digits found at the head of the column and to the right of the row eg 6x3 .

When the partial product is two digits, the first (10's) digit goes above the diagonal and the second (1's) digit goes on the lower right of the diagonal. If the partial product is only one digit, a zero is placed in the triangle above the diagonal in the square.

At this point, we have the multiplication done. Now we add along the diagonals beginning in the lower right to get the final product. Any "carries" when adding are illustrated outside the rectangle.

(This explanation is from : )

To watch a demonstration video of Lattice multiplication go to :
Mary Bryan Elementary School : Maths videos

Also :

For blank lattice grids go to :




Your child may be struggling with multiplication because he is dyslexic.Here a really neat way to teach your child the 9 times tables using their fingers !!

1. Hold your hands in front of you with your fingers spread out.
2. For 9 X 7 bend your seventh finger down. (9 X 3 would be the third finger etc.)
3. You have 6 fingers in front of the bent finger and 3 after the bent finger
4. Thus the answer must be 63 ( see diagram above )
5. This technique works for the 9 times tables up to 10.




Dyslexic children often find difficulty learning their times tables They will however learn their facts much more quickly if you play games with them on a regular basis , as it makes learning more fun. Below is one example of a game you could try using playing cards !!

Remove the Kings and Queens from a deck of cards.

Use a marker pen to write an "11" on each Jack and a "12" on each Ace.

Shuffle the cards and then take it in turns to flip over two cards.

Your goal is to say the two multiplication facts that go with the pair of cards eg a three and and five =‘15’ .You keep the cards if you are the first one to say the answer.

The one with the most cards is the winner.

If you wish, focus on the facts that give your child the most trouble. You could give a small reward if your child gets a certain number of cards.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Developments in computers can be of great benefit to children with dyslexia.Computer programmes can be used to assist the learning process. While there is no substitute for individual tuition, computer programmes provide valuable reinforcement, variety and can increase motivation.They can be very useful for parents who are trying to help their dyslexic children.

There are now some cd roms available in Turkish which can be used to practice reading, writing and maths.

Below are a few I have used with my child :
Mine'nin Matematik Evi – Logomotif
3- 7 - Millie's Math House includes seven activities where kids explore numbers, shapes, sizes, patterns, addition and subtraction as they build mouse houses, create wacky bugs, count animated critters, make jelly bean cookies and answer math challenges.This has won some awards.
Akıllı Çocuklar- Logomotif
Akıllı Çocuklar 1, 3-7
NB Akıllı Çocuklar 2 ve 3 – for older age groups
Okumayı Çok Seviyorum- Logomotif
Aimed at supporting children who are just learning to read.Contains a variety of stories and games .
BİLBUL 4 İşlem – Kara Korsan’ın Hazinesi- Logomotif
A pirate game which involves correctly answering addition,subtraction multiplication and division questions to reach some buried treasure.
ALFABE – Eurosoft
For 3-7 aged children. It introduces children to all the sounds and letters of the alphabet It is in both Turkish and English.
I haven’t used this one – but it may be useful :
EL YAZISI - Konuşan Harfler - Eurosoft
For more information :

It's Called Dyslexia

It’s Called Dyslexia

BY Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
IBSN :978-975-403-495-01.

Two reviews from

'A good "feel good" book for dyslexic children

I bought this for my 7 year old dyslexic daughter. She was very excited to hear the story told from the dyslexic main character. The basic summary of the book is that she was excited about school and then got frustrated with school because reading was so hard for her but easy for other kids. Her teacher wanted to talk to her parents, it made her worried but then it turned out that her teacher wanted to tell her parents that she was concerned and wanted to do tests on her. They learned she had dyslexia, they got her help and now she loves reading. It made my daughter feel like she could some day enjoy reading too. If only schools help kids with dyslexia as well as the book says....'

I think the last point is very true and especially in Turkey !!!!!!!

Great book to read aloud with a group of children and / or parents. Such a reading gives a great platform for informed discussion and developing further understanding. Also great to use as a family for the same reasons’

There are lots of these types of books available in English but until now none in Turkish - so its great Tübitak have printed this book !!