Testimonials – click to read Anna’s story
Interview with mother of Year 5 boy (English spoken as a second language) attending WFDA classes May 2014.
‘In his Reception year, his teacher told me that my son was very fidgety and had a low attention span and would often be daydreaming. I only speak Italian to him and I worried that he was confused about having to speak two languages. We have dyslexia in the family my niece was also diagnosed as having dyslexia. Then my school SENCO contacted me when he was in Year 1, 3 years ago and suggested my son was screened for dyslexia. When he was screened he came out as having a high probability and he was put on the WFDA class waiting list. We waited six months and then he joined the literacy class.
Coming to the classes has changed our lives. Before coming I knew nothing about dyslexia it was all new to me. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what. I didn’t know how to push him to do well; I didn’t know how to help. Often I felt lonely living a life where I didn’t know how to support him to do well. My son often wasn’t focussed and didn’t answer me and I knew he had a problem but didn’t know what to do. Coming to classes there has been a lot of improvements. My son is reaching his reading targets now, he has really improved he still is behind on numeracy but he is so much more confident. I hope we can continue to come to class as I am afraid that he’ll go down hill but I feel I am with friends that help us both.’
Interview with mother of 3 siblings attending WFDA Classes May 2014
‘I don’t know what we would have done without WFDA. I’ve got three children a 12 year old boy and twin boy and girl aged 9 years old.
My oldest was falling behind and was lower than his peers. I didn’t feel that we were getting any support from the school as that time and they didn’t identify he might have dyslexia.
Year 4 in he had a newly qualified teacher and as we had dyslexia in the family I thought he might have dyslexia and when I raised it with her she told me not to worry. But I did worry and I was really upset about my worries being brushed aside. I heard about WFDA through a friend and WFDA screened him and my son was diagnosed as having moderate dyslexia. It was a relief that I knew I was right and I was able to show the screening as evidence to his school. Since then his primary school had helped him, they put him on an extra learning plan where he was in small group covering reading and number. Coming to the WFDA literacy and numeracy classes he has improved immensely.
Since he has changed schools and now attends a secondary school he has had little support. At parent’s evening his English teacher didn’t know he had dyslexia. But coming to the WFDA classes he has learnt to self-help and can cope better. He has the skills and strategies to deal with his dyslexia and he is doing really well. I feel that for him, coming to the classes has been a massive help. As although he has to take on the challenge of having dyslexia on his own, working together we can make it happen by equipping him with the tools to cope. Being on your own is very isolating not just for him but me as well.
With my twins, I could see similar signs of dyslexia and got them screened by WFDA last year when they were in Year 3. The screening assessment set the ball rolling for the boy as along with his dyslexia he has a speech problem and has recently been statemented and gets 1 to 1 support.
My daughter’s dyslexia is more severe than her brother’s. He is able to concentrate and focus more than she can but they are both working hard to improve their skills. Having a child with a statement has been difficult for her because I feel I’ve focussed more on her brother than her. That’s one of the reason why I like coming to the classes as I feel I have someone on my side helping all of us. We’ve all really benefited by coming here . Without coming here it could have been a lot worse for all of us. All of my children are happy to comer here – they enjoy coming and it’s never a battle to get them here.
It’s a big commitment coming here on a Monday evening but it benefits them all so I’m happy to make the commitment. I think my children can see that coming here helps them; they understand and get to clarify things with the tutors. When they’re at class they work hard but it’s a struggle to get them to do the same things at home.
Coming here I feel supported as a parent, you really don’t know what is best but there is always someone at the classes who you can speak to. Not just WFDA people but you get support from other parents as well we share our problems and try and help each other.
Thank you card received by a parent of 2 siblings who left WFDA classes in March 2014
To everyone at WFDA
Thank you for all of your help and support over the last couple of year it has been greatly appreciated. K is doing really well at school, her reading age is well above her age and her spelling is slowly improving. Her teacher this year has been blown away by her storytelling and comprehension.
J finally understands maths! She is catching up to her peers and showing a more mature attitude in the classroom. J is starting to enjoy school.
But above all WFDA has given them both an understanding of what dyslexia is and that they are not alone.
Many of us struggle at school in different ways, but for children with learning difficulties, the “best years of their lives” can be particularly challenging. Imagine, for instance, if you couldn’t read by the age of 11?
Anna was about to start secondary school before she knew her alphabet. She had difficulty spelling, with sequencing, had never read a book and as a result her self-esteem suffered. At primary school, teachers sometimes asked whether or not she was daydreaming because she had her book open at the same page for so long.
She and her younger sister were adopted as babies by loving couple Monica and Greg who soon realised that Anna needed expert help. An educational psychologist diagnosed that Anna had severe dyslexia and referred them to their local dyslexia association.
Anna started going for extra lessons in the summer holidays and then on Monday evenings too. Her tutor, Lois Hood, also attending meetings at Anna’s secondary school to help her obtain a statement of Special Educational Needs. She now has a scribe and a reader for lessons and exams too.
Anna said: “I didn’t know I had dyslexia when I was little. I wouldn’t see sentences I would just see letters. Lois is a really nice person and really helpful. I’ve met other children like me at the classes too.
“Using computers can help because of spell check and things and people understand what you’re trying to say. Texting is just like it sounds, so that’s ok. ”
“If I was to give one bit of advice to someone else with dyslexia it would probably be to encourage them to join their local dyslexia group to help them and not to let it get in their way because they’ll probably find something else to do that they enjoy like art or sport. “
Anna’s skills have improved to the extent that she’s now read half of Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton’s biography. Her spelling scores have gone up from 68 to 75 while her reading scores have improved even more over the past four years – from 69 to 86 – where the average, on the WRAT system, is 100.
Lois said: “Anna will now have a go at doing things as her confidence has improved a great deal. She’ll tackle reading a book and has become a confident and creative writer.”
Dad Greg who’s a youth worker said: “Dyslexia is an overwhelming and isolating impediment. Anna used to be very tearful and used to feel excluded from school. I was worried about the risk of her going down the wrong path.
Since studying a manual for those with dyslexia called Toe by Toe, things started to improve. But since Anna started extra tuition, the improvement has been unbelievable. We have regular meetings about Anna’s educational plan that Lois comes to which has been a huge help with getting Anna statemented. ”
Since this report was first written Anna has passed her English language and literature GCSE with a grade C .