Tuesday, September 29, 2009


The Stroop Test is a psychological tool which is often used to assess attention problems.

Children with dyslexia often have accompanying problems with concentration and attention
.In fact,researchers suggest that at least 40% of children with dyslexia also have ADD/ADHD.

The”Stroop Effect" is named after J. Ridley Stroop who discovered this in the 1930’s.

The test involves identifying colours from a list of words which are displayed in a colour ink different from the colour it actually names.

Eg GREEN ( the word green is printed or displayed in red ink).
You would give the answer ‘red ‘.

The test involves focusing on one particular feature of a task ie identifying the colour of the word, while ignoring other information ( ie reading the word ).This makes it a hard exercise to do and involves a lot of concentration.If GREEN was written in green ink it would make it a lot easier to give the correct answer.

Animal Stroop : If children are younger and can’t read then they are given animal pictures to look at. Pictures are used where the head of the animal has been swapped with another animal. The child is asked to give the name for the “body” of the animal

The Neuroscience for Kids site has mini stroop test flash cards which you could print out and test yourself or your child.



The One Show on BBC talked about the Stroop Test :


For more information about animal stroop look at the Open University site


Thursday, September 24, 2009


Here in Turkey its the first day back to school after the long school holiday !! In this dyslexia blog article I want to talk about the anxiety and stress children can endure when they return to the classroom...

Its normal that most kids will be anxious about returning back to school ( or starting school ).Some children however may even develop sleeping problems,or wet the bed or have stomach aches and pains, even nausea as a result of their anxiety.

Those children with dyslexia and learning disabilities will also be more prone to suffer from anxiety and stress when returning to school.As a result parents need to be more understanding and patient.

Children may try to stay off school in order to escape their worries. As a parent it's best not to encourage them to miss days ; however you do need to listen to your child's worries and try to empathize with them.If possible,try to discuss with your child practical ways to alleviate their problems at school.

Make some time each day to talk with your child about how things are going at school. I often find that my child doesn't want to be quizzed about school when he first comes home, he needs some time to chill out for an hour or so .

Make sure your child knows you are always ready to listen to his worries.Remember you can't always solve his or her problems completely but sometimes just being a good listener is enough to help them !!

Neil Alexander-Passe from South Bank University undertook a study in 2008.It investigated whether dyslexic children, by way of their educational and social difficulties, experience higher levels of stress at school. Dyslexic children in Grades 3-5 were found to experience high levels of stress, particularly with regard to interacting with teachers and school tests.

See Neil Alexander-Passe's web site with useful information :
(The article on dyslexics, stress and anxiety)


Heres a useful article about 'How to Relieve School Anxiety'.


Good luck to all dyslexic children and their parents with the start of school !!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


During the long school holidays I started to teach my son to read English.I am using Jolly Phonics to teach him.I think this programme is ideal for parents teaching reading to their children since it is clearly explained and comes with numerous ready made printable worksheets and flashcards.

Jolly Phonics is a British programme for teaching reading, writing, and spelling using phonics. It was created by UK teachers Sue Lloyd and Sara Wernham.

Jolly Phonics uses Synthetic phonics to teach children to read .In this method children learn the individual sounds of English first and then they learn how to put them or blend them together to read words.

In Jolly Phonics, each of the main 42 sounds that make up the English language has an action.For example the letter ‘a’ is taught by running the fingers up and down the arm simulating lots of ants running about tickling the arm.

The programme uses a multi-sensory approach, which is ideal for children who have dyslexia to learn to read .It has fun characters (Inky Mouse, Snake, Bee, and Phonic) which will attract children .Jolly Phonics could be used with older children. My son is 10 and he enjoys reading the books !!


Monday, September 21, 2009


Iyi Bayramlar; Şeker Bayram Kutlu Olsun!

Şeker Bayram is the holiday that marks the end to Ramadan , which is a period of fasting.Sweets are part and parcel of this festival especially for children !!. People take boxes of chocolate or sweets when paying bayram social visits to relatives. Sweets such as baklava are made at home and served to visitors.

Most children love sweets, however too much sugar intake has been found to effect a persons ability to concentrate.A child who has dyslexia needs to be able to concentrate even more than a non-dyslexic child in order to take in the same amount of information.

As a result it is important to try to keep a check on your child’s intake of sugary drinks, such as cola and also sweets. Try to give your child plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Unfortunately all Turkish schools have a shop where the kids can buy sweets and sugary drinks – so temptation is never far away!! Of course its difficult to ban sweet things completely especially at Sugar Bayram but don’t them overdo it !!

Please note Blogger has been having some problems in Turkey over the last few days – lets hope normal service is resumed as soon as possible!! I read in the newspaper that blogger is not working properly due to a technical problem rather than a move by the censors.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


In this dyslexia blog article I want to talk about audio books..

Recently I read in a Turkish newspaper about the Turkish National Library having audio or talking books available for blind people and that they are planning to expand their collection in the near future. It made me start thinking about talking books for dyslexics and their availability.

Audio books are very useful to those with dyslexia, as well as for people who have a sight problem. Audio books allow struggling readers to enjoy the same popular books as their peers, while at the same time improving listening and reading comprehension skills.It means that dyslexic children can read books above their normal reading level.

Unfortunately there are not many talking books in Turkish, unlike in English.There are few childrens books available which have accompanying tapes.

It is a very beneficial exercise for children with dyslexia to listen to a cassette tape while following the words in the book. Hearing the text read aloud can improve the child’s reading ability .

The only option for parents in Turkey is to make their own recordings for children to listen to !!

Here are some organisations which have audio books available in English :

National Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic ( USA) RFB&D

This is a voluntary non-profit organisation.

If you are an individual outside of the U.S., you may only borrow books that are in RFB&D's Classic Cassettes format.

RFB&D does not distribute digital versions of audiobooks outside of the United States, except to U.S. citizens who are temporarily residing abroad

You will need to use a specialized DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) playback system to access their digital books.

Individual Membership is now free to individuals with proper certification of disability.


National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)The Library of Congress

You can qualify for the free talking books programme if you have learning disabilities or dyslexia and also a specific accompanying visual or physical handicap.( proof of disability is required ).


To qualify for the Talking Books programme, "Eligible readers must be residents of the United States, or, American citizens living abroad".

For information about the NLS Services to American Citizens Abroad see:


Listening Books ( UK )

Listening Books provides audio books for people with special needs ,including dyslexia They have a library of over 2000 audio books.They offer audiobooks on both MP3 CD and from their website via internet. .There is a yearly membership fee of about 20 pounds.

Sound Learning which is part of Listening Books provides audio books for young people to support their learning. It has 1600 children’s and young people’s titles. There is a yearly subscription for members.

Please note you must live in the UK .


Bookshare ( USA )

Bookshare offers about 50,000 digital books etc to people all over the world with disabilities such as dyslexia.

U.S.citizens temporarily living abroad can register their permanent U.S. address on Bookshare for U.S. membership. If you are permanently residing abroad, you can register your international address for international membership.
Bookshare is free to US students with qualifying disabilities. Proof of disability is required.

Currently 5,000 books are available for download to international members, based on copyright permissions granted by publishers and authors. These include children’s titles from Scholastic. There is a membership fee in the region of 75 dollars. Books are in DAISY format, however Bookshare offers two free DAISY readers with membership.

Calibre ( UK )

You can join Calibre if you have dyslexia and live in the UK. Calibre has the largest lending collection of audio books in the UK in open format ie you don't need special playback equipment. There is no subscription fee only there is a small charge for the print and CD-R catalogues for adults. Children can join ‘Young Calibre ‘


Commercial sites :

Audible Co UK - 20,000 downloadable commercial audio books.


Spoken Network - There are over 9000 titles to choose from by major publishers such as the BBC, Harper-Collins, Simon & Schuster, Brilliance, Blackstone, and Hachette Spoken Network requires no special eqipment.


The Right to Read Campaign –

The Right to Read Alliance is made up of 19 charities including: Dyslexia Action and the BDA. It is trying to push publishers to make all books available in an accessible way for everyone, including those with disabilities.

Up to three million adults and children in the UK who are blind, partially sighted or have a reading impairment such as dyslexia are denied the right to read. A shocking 95 per cent of all books published never become available in large print, audio or braille, or electronically. The Right to Read Alliance believes this discrimination must end.

People with sight problems or reading disabilities are like everyone else – they want to read the same book, at the same time at the same price.

The situation is bad enough for Visually Impaired people. But since 2002 they have at least had the right to change the format of books to something that they can read – eg by scanning them – without having to get the permission of the publisher. Dyslexic people, and organisations acting for them, still don't have that right, so that dyslexic people now find it even more difficult to find audio books, for example, then they did before. The Right to Read Campaign is campaigning for the same rights for all reading impaired people
”. ( quote )


Books for All - is about learning materials in accessible, alternative formats, for people who have difficulty reading ordinary printed books. It contains information of where you can get hold digital and audio books.


A blog about talking books ..


BDA lists some information about audio books ..


Saturday, September 12, 2009


In this dyslexia blog article I want to try to give some practical tips on how to teach children to tie shoelaces.

Many dyslexic children find it difficult to learn to tie shoelaces since it involves remembering a series of steps, also they get confused between left and right.
Though many shoes now have velcro fastenings - one day ultimately you will need to teach your child to tie his shoelaces!! I recently bought a new pair of trainers for my son which he really wanted – the only snag was that they had laces… It worked out ok in the end as he really loved the trainers so it was a extra incentive to learn the skill of tying the laces !!

Here are some tips :

Look at Ian’s shoelace site – it contains a page on “Shoelace Tips for Teaching Children” It contains helpful videos ….


To help your child differentiate from his left and right - Take two laces in two different colours and cut them in half, afterwards sew them together.

You could cut out an over-sized shoe shape from cardboard and get your child to practice using this :
You could ask your child to decorate the cardboard shoe.
Make holes for the laces and thread through the multi-coloured laces you have made.

If you are left-handed and your child is right-handed (or vice versa) you will always FACE your child when showing them how to tie their shoe laces.If you are both right-handed, or left-handed, you must stand BEHIND them.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Dyslexia tends to run in families. Children of parents with dyslexia are likely to have problems, too. In fact many parents, only find out about their own dyslexia when their child is identified as being dyslexic !! Often parents realize that they were also probably dyslexic, but had not been diagnosed when they were at school.

If you are a parent who is dyslexic yourself then this should give you a better understanding and appreciation of your child’s difficulties in school. You may also be able to help your child to utilize practical strategies to overcome problems they may encounter. Unfortunately, some parents may find that their children's experiences bring back bad memories of the past which they would rather forget !! In an earlier Dyslexia Blog article I talked about Ersin Öztoycan who is also dyslexic and a parent of two dyslexic children.She went on to set up a dyslexia association in Northern Cyprus.

If you think you could be dyslexic, you could take the Adult Dyslexia Checklist test. This will give you a good indication of any dyslexic traits you may have.

One such well-known checklist is the Vinegrad test (1994).


There is another checklist which was devised by Ian Smythe and John Everatt in 2001.See the British Dyslexia Association ( BDA ) site for more information.


If the test result seems to indicate you are dyslexic you will need to be properly assessed by a psychologist, in order get a formal identification.

I had problems when I was at school with learning to read and often when I am helping my child with his school work it makes me remember again the difficulties I had….

Sunday, September 6, 2009


September 8th is the UNESCO International Literacy Day . The aim of International Literacy Day is to focus attention on the need to promote worldwide literacy.

Literacy is seen as a basic right for all people by UNESCO.Unfortunately in Turkey ,often children and adults who have dyslexia and are struggling with reading and writing go unnoticed because of the lack of basic awareness of this problem.One of the reasons for writing this dyslexia blog is to make parents and teachers, alike, aware of dyslexia and its implications.

Between 2003 – 2012 is the United Nations Literacy Decade. The UN sees "literacy is crucial to the acquisition by every child, youth and adult, of essential life skills.

As part of the literacy decade DITT is organizing the World Dyslexia Forum at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (France )from the 3 to 5 February 2010. In an earlier blog article I talked about this event.

A free online learning course on dyslexia for teachers and trainee teachers in both English and French wil be available on the 5th February 2010 at UNESCO Paris at the World Dyslexia Forum.

Teacher training advisers from over 193 countries will be invited to share their existing expertise and to pilot the free course within their national teacher-training programmes.

The online learning course consists of three sections:

The first section provides a definition of dyslexia and looks at the causes, as well as the consequences of dyslexia.

The second part looks at how teachers can decide if a child may have dyslexia.

The third section focuses on how to include children with dyslexia in mainstream classrooms .

In addition, there will be a film entitled 'Dyslexia - On the right lines', which illustrates and extends the online learning course.
Let's hope this free dyslexia learning course for teachers, plus film can be translated into Turkish. We need it here !!!



Recently I saw that the blog ‘Lipstick Wisdom‘ had talked about my own dyslexia blog.

The Lipstick Wisdom blog provide links to other blogs which give ‘practical, actionable advice from women and families who have already been through a particular life experience or health event.’ Their vision is’ to build a web community dedicated to empowering women through their shared wisdom and life experiences.’

Links and information are given for a range of subjects ,including dyslexia and learning disabilities.

I certainly think its true that mums ( and other family members ) have a lot of knowledge and wisdom that they can share with other people in similiar situations !!! As busy parents we all need practical tips to help us with the problems we face daily.

I like the title of the blog – Lipstick Wisdom ‘ – quite appropriate and catchy …!!!
It maybe worthwhile checking out the other blogs, covering dyslexia and learning disabilities that they have given links to.