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…

With three workshops under their belts children with “The Gift of Dyslexia” (Ronald D Davis) have reported to their parents that they have enjoyed things so far. Indeed one parent stated that their child actually looked forward to attending the workshops…

A major complaint expressed by the parents of children attending The Offaly Dyslexia Group workshops on Monday evenings is that their children appear reluctant to tell them much about it at all. As parents, we can reassure them that this is probably a sign that all is well.

The age groups of the children in question ranges from seven to twelve at present and any parent will tell you that often children just don’t want to include them in their world. This does not mean that anything is wrong, in fact it is quite the opposite, it’s a good sign…

If and when your child feels the need to confide in you, he or she will do so. This mightn’t come as a huge announcement, more likely they will drop it naturally into a conversation and pay little heed to it. Listen out for the small things like this and hear what your kid’s have to say and you will eventually get to piece things together!

Our tutors are excellent. They are all qualified teachers, who have undergone special training in the area of dyslexia at their own cost. The approach used is quite an informal one, working in small groups and also on an individual basis.

Emphasis is placed on enjoyment of words and play is used as a media for learning. Resource materials are needed to help us in the provision of this service for these children. At present we are hoping to raise funds through a variety of means, donations are very acceptable either financial or in the form of learning media.

Presently we need to purchase four dictionaries and thesaurus’s suitable for use by children, (ie Collins), educational games, stationery supplies, white paper, coloured paper, ink, etc.

Suitable software also has to be purchased for use with laptop computers (donated by the OAK Partnership), books and  coloured acetate sheets especially for the dyslexic reader are also required. The list is endless!

If you have ideas regarding fund raising or wish to make a donation please contact The Offaly Dyslexia Group…

The EBS (Educational Building Society) are welcoming applications for The EBS Community Fund 2009. The closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 5th June. Completed applications may be handed in to your local EBS office.

The Offaly Dyslexia Group urges interested parties to nominate us for support from the EBS Community Fund this year, 2009. Only one nomination per member is permitted, application forms may be downloaded here.

If you are an eligible member, or know someone who is please download an application form for the EBS Community Fund and submit it, having first nominated The Offaly Dyslexia Group!

If however, you are not a member don’t let that stop you from supporting us,  tell your friends and colleagues about the good work this worthy cause is doing – they might just be one of those 440,000 eligible members spoken about earlier in this post!

Once again we ask you to talk about us, blog about us, enlist the help of your friends and colleagues and help us get some more financial support. The expertise of our tutors is worth paying for if it’s going to make a difference to the lives of children with “The Gift of Dyslexia!” (Ronald D Davis)…

Children blessed with the “Gift of Dyslexia” (Ronald D Davis) have been attending workshops  (DAI) provided by The Offaly Dyslexia Group for the past three weeks. On Monday evenings, from 5pm – 7pm specialised tutorship is offered, in accordance to guidelines given by the Dyslexia Association of Ireland.

One of our benefactors, The EBS (Educational Building Society) recently produced its Summary Financial Statement 2008 – reView. This periodical is sent to all EBS customers and reaches a target audience of at least 440,000 readers.

On page sixteen is a summary of the EBS in the Community. In October 2008 a new EBS Community Fund was launched, whereby members around the country were called upon to nominate local causes in their area to benefit from the fund.

Over three hundred applications were received from members, which were then reviewed by a group of EBS members and employees who decided on how the fund should be allocated. Of these over 150 causes were chosen with donations ranging from €250 to €5,000.

The Offaly Dyslexia Group (aka North Offaly Dyslexia Association) was one of these lucky recipients. In one fell swoop we acquired funding, press photography, local and now NATIONAL exposure!

So, if you are a member of the EBS be sure to read this article and don’t just bin it when you have finished with it. Why not take it into work and leave it in the coffee room or even your doctor’s surgery waiting room for other’s to read!

Show it to your friends, blog about it, send it to the local paper or radio station, shout about it from the roof tops! Whatever you choose to do, it will help us to raise the profile of the group and maybe generate more funding which in turn will help us purchase essential supplies and pay for our tutors expertise in this area…

Further information may be obtained by contacting The Offaly Dyslexia Group.