Dyslexia

Assessment

Next assessment availability from 11th January 

How do I get assessed for dyslexia?  We usually start with a chat on the phone to clarify your needs and to help ensure that an assessment is suitable for you or your child.  If you have any concerns about vision and/or hearing, please have these checked before attending your assessment. Important information about ‘vision and dyslexia’ is at the bottom of this page. If you’d like to be sent the booking information without the initial chat on the phone, please either complete the contact us form or send a request by email: ruth@rightmind.life, phone/text for 07919 405 501 

Ruth Gravelle, Specialist Teacher (level 7), is your first point of contact if you are considering booking any specialist services with associates of rightmind.life.

Who can give a dyslexia diagnosis? Independent chartered educational psychologists and specialist teachers carry out formal dyslexia assessments.

What is the difference between an Educational Psychologist and Specialist Teacher Assessment? There is little difference between the two assessment types; both educational psychologists and specialist teachers use appropriate tests and provide a detailed diagnostic report including recommendations. Specialist teacher assessments may have more detailed teaching recommendations than an educational psychologists report. Educational psychologists have access to some tests which are not available to teacher assessors; these have a higher number of sub-tests. In some instances an educational psychologist may be required to assess rather than a specialist teacher; this is usually established at the time of pre-assessment discussion/booking. Educational psychologists tend to have more availability than specialist teachers to carry out assessments, as teachers often have additional work commitments. The cost of an assessment with a teacher or educational psychologist is £520 (no VAT).

Will I be asked to complete background information in advance of an assessment? Yes. A pre-assessment family questionnaire and a school/college/workplace questionnaire will be sent you; the school/college/workplace questionnaire is provided for you to forward to your child’s class teacher, SENCo or to your employer. Please let school/your employer know if you are happy for them to return information by email. Once we have received the background information, we can discuss any queries before scheduling the appointment. You are under no obligation to go ahead with the assessment until we have set an assessment date, when a £100 non-returnable deposit payment is due. 

Do I need to see an optician/optometrist before my assessment?
Maybe. Ruth will recommend that you attend an appointment with an optician who has a specialism in vision and dyslexia before your dyslexia assessment if you experience visual difficulties when reading such as: easily losing your place, seeing two of each word, words appearing blurry, unclear or moving about on the page, if your eyes become sore or water or irritated in some other way, or if reading for more than a few minutes results in a headache. Please complete the SASC visual screening checklist if you are considering a dyslexia assessment: https://www.sasc.org.uk/SASCDocuments/Visual%20Difficulties%20Screening%20Protocol%20V2%20Jun19.pdf

See further information about vision and dyslexia towards the bottom of this page. 

How long does the assessment take and when will I receive my report? The assessment usually takes between 2-4 hours to complete. The detailed written report usually takes 3 weeks to complete. Please ask your assessor at the appointment about their expected report completion date, as this can vary. 

What kind of tests are used to assess for dyslexia?  Tests we use provide further information about your strengths and underlying ability in areas of visual and verbal skills; speed of processing, phonological awareness, memory and auditory processing. We also explore your reading, writing and spelling skills, as well as handwriting and fine-motor skills.

Do I need to bring anything with me to the assessment? If you normally wear glasses, hearing aids, use colour overlays, a pencil grip or any other aid, please bring them with you to the assessment.

Where does the assessment take place? Assessments arranged by rightmind.life are usually carried out on the first floor at: Chelmsford Counselling and Therapy Centre, 14 Wells Street, CM1 1HZ. There is no lift at Wells Street, so please let us know if you have a disability preventing you from using the stairs and we can arrange an alternative location for the assessment. We also offer assessments in South London and Newark, Nottinghamshire.

What if English is my second language? The independant assessors who work in association with rightmind.life may be able to offer you an assessment if English is your second language, but you may be advised to contact the British Psychological Society (BPS), who have a register of multilingual psychologists: https://www.bps.org.uk/public/find-psychologist  

What if I suspect my child has additional learning differences? Just as every person is unique, every case of dyslexia presents with some differences. The following link to this neurodiversity diagram (created by the late Mary Colley, a humanitarian, educator and expert in the field of dyspraxia), is intended only as a discussion diagram and refers to adults, but may be of wider interest: https://www.achieveability.org.uk/files/1275491669/neuro-diversity-diagram.pdf    Assessors working in association with rightmind.life only specialise in dyslexia assessment. One of the specialist teachers can also assess for dyscalculia. You are advised to contact your GP who can make NHS referrals via the medical route if you suspect that your child may be on the autistic spectrum, experience dyspraxia (DCD) or ADHD. Alternatively, you can contact the British Psychological Society (BPS), who have a register of multi-disciplinary psychologists who can provide a more in depth specialist assessment: https://www.bps.org.uk/public/find-psychologist  

Will I definitely get a diagnosis of dyslexia if I have an assessment?  No, although dyslexia is very often diagnosed as an outcome of an assessment. When dyslexia is not identified, the report findings can provide helpful insight of the learners educational profile, and to plan education/support needs.

Diagnostic assessment with an educational psychologist or specialist teacher costs: £520 (the cost of this assessment will increase to £540 for bookings taken after March 31st 2023).

Diagnostic assessment for an adult with a specialist teacher: an in depth, holistic and detailed report for working adults, including recommendations for the individual and the workplace: £620 (the cost this assessment will increase to £640 for bookings taken after March 31st 2023).

Tuition, Study Skills and Confidence Boosting

Online one-to-one multi-sensory tuition, study skills and confidence-boosting is available with dyslexia specialist teachers. We support children, young people, adults including university students and people at work, assisting you to:

  • Identify personal strengths and find your best ways of learning/working
  • Develop reading, spelling, memory and organisational skills
  • Use technology which supports reading, writing, spelling, memory and organisational skills
  • Make sense of the learning difference experienced
  • Cope more easily at school, home, university, in the workplace and socially
  • learn to revise using the most effective methods for you
  • Increase confidence and self-esteem

Tuition, study skills and confidence boosting fees are payable in advance

Online tuition, study skills and confidence boosting sessions provided by Ruth Gravelle or her colleagues cost £45 per session

Dyslexia Counselling / Hypnotherapy for Dyslexia 

If you are finding it difficult to cope with dyslexia on a daily basis, you are welcome to contact us to book a therapy / hypnotherapy / counselling session with Ruth Gravelle. It can absolutely help to talk. There are no guarantees, but you’re likely to feel heaps better after just one session! Please see the ‘hypnotherapy’ page on the Rightmind/life website for further information. 

Positive Dyslexia Mindset

Research shows that people with dyslexia “…have a unique brain structure and organisation, with some different brain strengths” (Eide and Eide, 2011). Many have excellent skills in visual thinking and visual technologies, and they have a highly creative potential (West, 1991/2009). Social, cognitive and work related strengths have also been identified, as well as a strength in unconventional thinking, which are, “…precisely the skills needed for individuals and organisations to flourish in the 21st Century” (Nicholson, 2015).

We need to identify and nurture their strengths!

Whilst dyslexic people have many strengths, the diagram below (tes resources) provides a snapshot of the types of difficulties you may observe in dyslexic children. This diagram could be used as a starting point to identify where changes to teaching and learning are required. For example, if a child is struggling to learn the 10+ weekly spellings routinely given at school, reduce them to perhaps  3-5 spellings a week to enable them to learn spellings in a structured, cumulative and multi-sensory way, incorporating their strengths.

The types of difficulties you may observe in dyslexic children

Dyslexia, and other specific learning differences need to be taken seriously and managed carefully. The danger of children ‘failing to learn and learning to fail’ (Nicholson, 2015) makes safeguarding them from “toxic learning experiences” an absolute priority.  We must quickly notice the children who are struggling and enable them. 

Assessment from the age of 7 years and a carefully developed Individual Learning Plan is recommended. We need to help people to become better at being dyslexic (Eide and Eide, 2011), to identify and remove dyslexia related stressors and to find skills and strategies that enable them.  Multi-sensory teaching  methods, Apps and exercises for ‘brain training’, breaking things down into small manageable chunks, support with homework, organisation, memory, reading, reducing weekly spellings and assisting children to find strategies can all help. Most of all, we need to help them recognise, celebrate and work with their strengths; the world needs people with different strengths.   

Nicholson (2015) states that,”Dyslexic children of 5 years are not reading ready”, and a body of research has found that all children under 7 years old learn best through play, not just the dyslexic ones! Upstart (www.upstart.scot) is an organisation campaigning for all children in Scotland to delay formal education until the age of 7 years, with a statutory play-based ‘kindergarten stage’ in early years. Would you like to see this change in the UK too?  “Childhood is not a race!” The under-sevens need “PLAY NOT TESTS” (Upstart)!

Ruth Gravelle’s 30 minute talk, “Positive Dyslexia and a New Approach to Education” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab4-2QZti0A introduces dyslexia, and what is meant by ‘Positive Dyslexia’. A new approach to education is proposed for the UK to better enable all learners, not just those with dyslexia. Please contact Ruth through www.rightmind.life if you would like her to speak at an event.

Free Advisory Appointments

rightmind.life offers free 30 Minute online or phone Advisory Appointments to parents and carers of children where dyslexia is known or suspected. Students over about 10 years old may also like to join in the meeting. Adults are welcome to book an advisory appointment for themselves.

Please email: ruth@rightmind.life , phone/text for 07919 405 501 to request an advisory session with a specialist teacher.

Vision and Dyslexia

We recommend that you attend an appointment with an optician who has a specialism in vision and dyslexia before your dyslexia assessment if you experience visual difficulties when reading such as: easily losing your place, seeing two of each word, words appearing blurry, unclear or moving about on the page, if your eyes become sore or water or irritated in some other way, or if reading for more than a few minutes results in a headache. Please click on the following link to connect with a more detailed visual screening checklist:

https://www.sasc.org.uk/SASCDocuments/Visual%20Difficulties%20Screening%20Protocol%20V2%20Jun19.pdf

Optometrists in Essex include:

Families in Focus

For your information, if a young person in your family is struggling to cope with a particular change, challenge or crisis, Families in Focus may be able to support you. This organisation is  “…a parent led registered charity providing holistic support to families of children with disabilities and special needs (aged 0 to 25) across Essex, who require advice, information and support, particularly at times of change, challenge and crisis.” http://www.familiesinfocusessex.org.uk

Testimonials

Thank you, F has really enjoyed the sessions she has had with you and it has given her some great tools to work with going forward. Your sessions have really helped her though and she is a lot more confident especially in the revision side of things. She is making maps, plans, charts etc where she didn’t even know where to start before. 

                                                                                                                  Parent, 2021
Hi! I wanted to write and give my praise and appreciation for my Study Skills Tutor, Ruth Gravelle. Her understanding of the difficulties and advantages of being Dyslexic was a breath of fresh air. She was able to think outside the box and suggest a variety of ways of approaching studying, revising, and academic study skills in an uncommon specific medical area at MSc level, where others would use that as their excuse to not be able to help me. She was also very supportive during the stressful exam periods and always left me feeling motivated and inspired to study. Her disposition is always happy, positive, encouraging, and understanding. Without a doubt the best support I have received in further education. This was all achieved remotely through Zoom sessions. Alison.

Postgraduate student, July 2020

Feedback from parent following 3 sessions  

Hi Ruth… Happy New Year. M has been doing really well on her revision these last few weeks and has got into a really good rhythm. I am very proud of her… She is creating the flash cards to revise and has just got on with it with confidence she did not have before. I will keep you posted. Thank you for all your help to date – you have been a star. 

A parent, January 2020

Letter to Dr Sue Warnock:

“…I just wanted to pass on our huge appreciation of helping us understand D and how best we can help him. We now have a framework through which to have structured and supportive conversations, rather than the lazy, immature perception that we’ve struggled with.

We can also now understand why D says “nobody believes me anymore” and he becomes extremely frustrated when he tries to explain why he can’t produce written work, follow instructions or do physical movements, despite seeming to be a capable and bright boy. It broke my heart when he got his year 4 report and he cried and said “mummy, it’s not very good but I don’t understand why, I have tried really hard”. Bless him …… this must be incredibly frustrating!

We are feeling positive that we can provide the support he needs and hopefully with techniques and coping mechanisms there are practical ways to improve his ability to convey his brightness in his school work and progress tests so will be in a better place for his upcoming 11+ common entrance exams later this year…”

– A Parent, January 2019

“Ruth has worked with my son who is diagnosed with dyslexia and was a reluctant reader and writer. Since working with Ruth he has blossomed into a learner who is engaged, curious and willing to give reading and writing his best shot. Although he still struggles to get his ideas written down he is much more confident in giving it a go and is able to see the benefits of doing so, which is fantastic to see. Ruth has also worked on improving his memory and recall skills and he is now confident in applying these techniques to all aspects of his learning.

Ruth has provided regular updates and always delivered well planned lessons with a great variety of resources. Ruth’s passion for making learning fun and meaningful has enabled my son to become an independent reader and writer.”

– Becky (Primary Teacher), 2018

“We do the letter arc, reading, spelling, memory games, computer work and drawing. The lessons are fun. Ruth is a very kind and good teacher.”

– Joseph, age 7, 2017

“Ruth has helped me to gain confidence and find practical solutions which have made a real difference, especially with coping at work…”

– Jack, Social Worker, 2017

“Ruth Gravelle has helped me to overcome aspects of my disability that in the past held me back in my education and employ-ability. The educational support and positive psychological input has helped me in the last 6 years to graduate from two universities, and has given me a positive outlook to living with dyslexia.

I am currently working full-time as a Counsellor at a hospice.”

– Graduate (DSA), 2015

Previous Events

Positive About dyslexia 2017

During dyslexia awareness week 2-8 October 2017 rightmind.life provided an information display in the covered area just outside Chelmsford Central Library. This is all as relevant now as it was in 2017! 

On 1 October 2017, Chelmsford Community Radio’s LIfe Matters show (104.4fm) discussed dyslexia. Ruth Gravelle interviewed Jared Bates and Marilyn Smith. You can listen to this show again here (link to follow).

We support The British Dyslexia Association theme of “Positive about Dyslexia”

Addressing the Strengths and Challenges of Dyslexia
Wednesday 7th November 2012 – Dyslexia Rooms Talk

Ruth Gravelle from Dyslexia Rooms returned to SNAP to give a talk on addressing the strengths and challenges of dyslexia. The talk included an overview of dyslexia, consideration of perception and the identification of the strengths and challenges, which children and young people with dyslexia face. Ruth offered support and guidance to parents and discussed a variety of strategies, which they can use to try and help their children.

“It has given me as a parent a better understanding of what my daughter is going through.”

“The talk gave me a better understanding of different ways dyslexia affects individuals and how to be more considerate towards their needs.”

“It was helpful in reminding me that there are so many strengths and that I should be focusing on them rather than the weaknesses and challenges.”