Since the end of term back in July, The Offaly Dyslexia Group have been beavering away behind the scenes in readiment for next years school term. Admittedly this is over two months away, but these things do not organise themselves!

Sadly our much loved programme coordinator (PC) Ms Susan McGann is leaving us. This is for personal reasons and we all hope that Susan will be able to rejoin our group at some future date.

Meanwhile, this leaves us with something of a predicament – we have to replace her with somebody who is both able and willing! Therefore, we the Offaly Dyslexia Group are inviting suitably qualified teachers  to apply for the post of Programme Coordinator.

Most importantly the successful applicant will hold an interest in helping  dyslexia children learn literacy skills. If YOU are that person please contact us using our advice line and we will send you out a copy of the job description.

Curriculum Vitae may be submitted by post.

The Offaly Dyslexia Group have been given permission to hold a flag day (or street collection) on August 15th in order to raise essential funding which will allow us to continue with the purchasing of equipment/resources needed. This will take place between the hours of 9am – 6pm in and around the town of Tullamore.

Already we have successfully canvassed both the Tullamore Credit Union which is a popular site for street collectors and the AIB Bank. Although the collection is to take place on a Saturday, the Credit Union trades as usual and the AIB has an ATM facility in its foyer. Both sites are likely to be busy.

It is intended that we, the Offaly Dyslexia Group obtain further permissions required to allow us to collect at several prominent sites around the town. According to the terms of the permit we must have no more than 15 persons actively collecting for us at any given time.

Presently we have eleven children enrolled for our forthcoming September workshops. In an ideal world this allows us a potential 22 collectors to cover the days collections, however, as we all know it is not an ideal world and even with the full complement of parents we need the assistance of many more people.

Collectors must be known to the permit holder and must be aged fourteen or over. We are presently organising distinctive hi-vis vests printed with Offaly Dyslexia Group and our phone number  and authorisation cards for collectors.

It is also intended to obtain sealable containers for use as collection buckets, as per the permit granted. These will also be printed up in the appropriate manner, hopefully for use on many more occasions.

All of the above is important, in fact it is vitally important. However, if we don’t obtain the help that we need to make this happen, one has to ask themselves what difference this will all make? The last thing anyone wants to see on a Saturday afternoon is a grumpy and tired street collector who’s been standing there all day!

Currently, we are in the process of contacting our members via text message to advise them of our good fortune and to ask for their help. Next week we intend to ring each of the children’s parents personally to ask for their support personally and then to follow this up with a further text closer to the date.

Also it is intended that we send out a press release to local media in the hopes of getting some free publicity and perhaps more support for our cause. This is especially important considering that we are right in the middle of the holiday season, which potentially could reduce our numbers dramatically.

Donations of appropriate books, software programmes, equipment, time or just common sense and the ability to help us further our fund raising efforts will always be welcome. However, just at the moment we urgently need volunteers to help us out on Saturday August 15th this year…

Should you have an interest in helping us out, either by way of donation of time or funding do please contact us.

Just a quickie to let you know that the Offaly Dyslexia Group is now on

In countries all around the world, people follow the sources most relevant to them, eg Offaly Dyslexia Group and access information via Twitter as it happens—from breaking world news to updates from friends.

In the right hand sidebar you will find a summary of all that is going on in Twitter, including some interesting links. If you are already signed up for a Twitter account we can be found under the user name of DyslexiaOffaly and you can follow us by pressing the follow button on the bottom of the tweet bar.

While we must remark on the wealth of information available on Twitter, it is overwhelming, it is important to mention that this is information and access to resources. This does not mean that the Offaly Dyslexia Group endorses these sources, just that it may be of interest…

Here at the Offaly Dyslexia Group, we welcome constructive criticism and look forward to receiving feedback. Twitter is the ideal platform for this or you may do so by leaving a comment…

Once again, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that The Offaly Dyslexia Group is inviting applications for enrolment in September 2009. Pre-registration forms may be found on our documents and forms page.

As places are strictly limited early submission of a completed pre-registration form is advised. Please refer to this post for details of requirements for enrolment. NB. All applicants must be members of the Dyslexia Association of Ireland, a membership application form may be downloaded here.

In the eventuality of us receiving more applications than anticipated it is envisaged that a waiting list will be drawn up. This will be done on a first come-first served basis and candidates will be invited to attend workshops as and when places at workshops become available.

Contact details for The Offaly Dyslexia Group may be found here.

Yesterday evening saw the culmination of the six week trial workshops held by the Offaly Dyslexia Group at Daingean National School.

Thanks to our tutor’s and the efforts of the Offaly Dyslexia Group these workshops were held on a trial basis over a six week period. We like to refer to it as a ‘getting to know you’ period.

As a newly formed group we have achieved a great deal more, in a short time than we had ever hoped to. From its inception a little over nine months ago we have taken enormous steps towards our main goal which is to provide support and advice for the parents of dyslexic children.

Already we have held workshops over a six week trial period, created this website with links to many helpful resources and produced an introductory pack for concerned parents.

Thanks to the fund raising efforts of  Frances Walsh and David Walsh we were able to secure sizable contributions from a number of sources. The Community Foundation of Ireland, The EBS Building Society, The OAK Partnership and a handful of other individuals and businesses were very generous in their contributions, more details on our website. Their combined efforts have allowed us to secure the services of our three wonderful tutors and have a little left over to purchase some of the specialised equipment needed to enhance the progress of our young students.

We are also grateful to Midlands Radio 3 for their help in publicising our cause right back at the beginning, without their help we mightn’t be here today. Also thank you to the local newspapers who kindly gave us print space when publishing our press releases and updates regarding public meetings and workshops.

Especial thanks are due to the board of management and staff of Daingean National School whose support has been invaluable. Without their hospitality we would most certainly not have succeeded in reaching our goal of providing dyslexic children with specialised help.

Throughout our journey, the Dyslexia Association of Ireland has been our stalwart support. In providing information and access to other groups who have travelled this road before; the DAI made it possible for this post to be written. Without the DAI, there would be no Offaly Dyslexia Group just yet…

…finally we would like to thank the parents of those children who attended our trial workshops. Their commitment has been exemplary and they must be congratulated for having found someone to offer their children the help that they needed. It is not easy to find support and advice, especially when there is none available locally. You have made this journey possible, simply by being interested enough to turn up to the meetings and make your voices heard.

We look forward to seeing everyone again in September and we will keep in touch over the summer…

Last Saturday Henry Winkler, aka The Fonze from the popular 1970’s TV show ‘Happy Days’ was signing books at Eason’s O’Connell street store.

Winkler has written a series of books featuring Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Underachiever. In this series he uses his own boyhood experience of dyslexia to provide the inspiration for his hero’s exploits.

Diagnosed at the age of thirty-one, Winkler, like so many dyslexics thought he was stupid until relatively recently. He is quoted as saying:

“Just because we learn differently, does not mean we are not incredibly smart human beings” – Henry Winkler

Why not watch this video below to find out more about our new dyslexic hero and his creator…

Glendalough 27th September 2009

Dyslexia is not all about class work, it is about discovering who you are and being proud of it. We know people with dyslexia often experience feelings of isolation, of being alone. Walk with us and know that you are not alone.

Take this wonderful opportunity to do something worth doing that will benefit the students, their families and the whole workshop. Reward yourself and your students for all the hard work, make an acknowledgement of your worth as an important part of society.

We have had great support from schools who continue to walk with us every year but we would like to see more workshops getting involved.  Walking with us gives teachers, families and students an opportunity to ask questions to become more involved and aware of the issues around dyslexia.

Our experience shows that the walkers learn through participation in the walk:

  • Students learn that they are not alone and that it is ok to be dyslexic.
  • Students with dyslexia get to see that their peers support them.
  • Non dyslexic students, teachers and families learn and understand better.
  • People feel freer to ask questions in the relaxed environment.
  • People lose some of their hang-ups about dyslexia.
  • Many misconceptions are cleared up.
  • Often people go back with a more open mind.
  • Frequently people find the courage to speak about their dyslexia following the walk.
  • Families often grow closer as the space between them is now open for conversation.
  • Walkers see that dyslexia exists in all aspects of society and the walk is testament to this.

The walk gets the information into the schools and gives us the opportunity to increase awareness and understanding of dyslexia and communicate the needs of our students in a constructive way. The more people that take part, helps us to raise the profile of dyslexia in society.

A pro-active approach is vital if we are to help our students, particularly in today’s climate to get better recognition and get the supports they deserve. Help us to help your students and their families. The walk would make a great fun day out for workshops and would be suitable for students, parents and teachers.

Please see information on the DAI Fun Walk in the Spring Newsletter on our DAI Newsletter’s page. We offer the Sponsored Long Walk to schools but sponsorship forms are also supplied to those who wish to be sponsored for the shorter walks.  We urge you to join us in wonderful Glendalough for a great day out that we know you will all enjoy.

For further information or to register to take part, please contact Caroline Dooley Martyn from the DAI Fundraising Sub-Committee at cdooleymartyn@yahoo.co.uk but don’t forget to mention that you are supporting The Offaly Dyslexia Group!

On May 17th Offaly celebrated the remarkable achievement of Clara man Shane Lowry. This remarkable amateur golfer surprised everybody by winning the 3 Irish Open Golf Championship, despite appalling weather conditions and strong professional competition.

An Offaly Hero

The Offaly Dyslexia Group is proud to congratulate Shane on his success and wishes him all the best for the future.

We would also like to thank Donal Molloy, owner of Shane’s home club, the now famous Esker Hills Golf Club for his extraordinary generosity in supporting our fund raising efforts.

This is not the only link with fame for The Offaly Dyslexia Group, one of our young members is not only a fan, but hails from Ballykilmurray and actually knows this talented young golfer!

Just in case you didn’t know Ballykilmurray is where all the action takes place…