Parents & Supporters of the Offaly Branch of the DAI are reminded that with Spring finally here(?) the days are lengthening and so are opportunities to raise funds…

Formerly known as the Offaly Dyslexia Group, we ran an information/flag day in July of last year and have been collecting unused/unwanted stamps for resale. These are only two of our activities, which include the submission of application for grants and bursaries from various organisations.

Since our inaugural workshop series in April 2009 we have gone from strength to strength. Our numbers have more than doubled in almost all senses of the word. We now have 24 children and seven tutors. On the administration side we still have our original four officers, but we are delighted to welcome three more parents to participate at committee level.

Now is the time for us to start thinking about raising much needed funding. In order to sustain the remarkable success of our group and our workshops, please put on your thinking caps and come up with some suggestions on how we can raise the public profile of the group and raise some funds.

Applications for church gate collections and a flag day will be submitted again this year. However, if your interest is in greyhound racing, perhaps you could help us organise a night at the dogs? Maybe ballroom dancing is your forte, in which case perhaps you could help us organise a dance or a disco? What about a coffee morning or a bake sale, or even what our American cousins call a yard sale – remember one man’s junk is another man’s treasure…

Do you remember the days of the American Supper or Tea Party, when everyone brought one dish to add to the buffet and entertainment was provided for a small fee – they were fun, weren’t they? And what about the fancy, smancy garden party that coincides with Wimbledon – word has it that this year we’re going to have a proper Summer!?

Maybe you are a whizz kid at answering sporting questions, if so, do you have a few mates that you could round up to form a team for a pub quizz? And what about the card players amongst you, how do you fancy a round or two of poker, kaluki or twenty-fives? Whatever your idea, no matter how daft it may be please give it some serious thought and let us know what we can do to make it happen…

Good will and energy levels only go so far on their own. We need your help to continue making this happen, so please help us help the children conquer their battle with dyslexia and achieve their ambitions by becoming actively involved…

Please contact us for more information.

Hi there! This post is to update our readers about a change which has taken place in relation to the group generally and the website here as a result. Don’t worry, it’s nothing to worry about – it’s all good!

Following discussion with the Branch Committee the decision has been taken that in recognition of our affiliation to the Dyslexia Association of Ireland we are changing the name of our group to The Offaly Branch of The Dyslexia Association of Ireland

As you might imagine this has been a laborious task undertaken today, changing our entire internet accounts, blogs and pages. It will however not be possible in the near future to alter posts which have already been published to reflect this decision.

A short explanation of this change is that we are affiliated to the Dyslexia Association of Ireland and operate our workshops under the auspices of their policies and recommendations. As such we feel that it is appropriate to display this affiliation in the choice of name used to represent the group.

The Dyslexia association of Ireland has been established for some thirty five years now and has advocated on the behalf of parents, like us whose children have dyslexia. Because of the DAI’s ground breaking work in this area dyslexia is now recognized in Ireland as a bona fide learning difficulty in the area of literacy.

It is with great pride that the Offaly Dyslexia Group has chosen to recognize this and to acknowledge the work that goes on behind the scenes at national level by assuming the Offaly Branch of the Dyslexia Association of Ireland.

From time to time we may, however fall back and use the term the Offaly Dyslexia Group as a pet name for the group that we worked so hard to establish over the past year. So do please be patient with us as we get used to the changes…

This is just a short post to remind readers that the Offaly Dyslexia Group are collecting used and unused postage stamps as part of our fund-raising campaign. As the festive season is rapidly approaching we will all be receiving extra post, some of which will have good old fashioned stamps on it!

Please remember the Offaly Dyslexia Group as you celebrate Christmas with your loved ones. If you could just tear or cut the stamps from your used envelopes, leaving a 3mm margin on all sides and place them into an envelope as you sort through your mail we will be glad to take them off your hands.

Many thanks for all your support throughout 2009!

Best wishes,

The Offaly Dyslexia Group

It is with absolute delight that the Offaly Dyslexia Group can reveal that our fund-raising efforts continue to be successful. Only last Friday we received the news that we have been selected to receive a grant of €1,000 from the Community Foundation For Ireland.

The grant, which was applied for under the Small Grants Scheme was presented in order to help us develop the next phase of the DAI workshops for children with dyslexia. As many readers will already be aware, we currently have nineteen children ranging from ages 7 to 12 years.

In the Autumn of 2010 at least five of our members will be moving up to secondary level education. While this presents challenges for all children making this transfer, children with dyslexia experience more potential difficulties than their peers.

Not only are their days longer, the academic workload increases dramatically. In addition to this children will be moving from classroom to classroom, navigating their way around the complexities of a new school and different teachers for different subjects.

This is a far cry from the security of a one or two class per teacher per classroom situation as experienced by most Irish primary school children. In addition to this many rural classrooms experience small teacher:pupil ratio’s which allow for closer attention to each child’s needs. The secondary school situation couldn’t be more different…

As a result of our members growing up, the Offaly Dyslexia Group recognizes the fact that we too must grow in order to accommodate their changing needs. It is therefore our intention to expand in the new year with the intention of preparing the older children for secondary level education.

Thanks to the Community Foundation for Ireland this new challenge for the Offaly Dyslexia Group may be closer than anticipated. Watch this space for updates on this issue…

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:16 AM on 12th November 2009

When teachers call for quiet in class there is a very good reason – children with dyslexia find it very difficult to tune out background noise.

The new findings suggest the condition is an auditory as well as a reading problem and could lead to new ways of identifying sufferers.

It also suggests those afflicted should be placed at the front of the class or provided with wireless technologies to pick up information better.


Children with dyslexia should sit towards the front of the class as a study revealed they struggle to ‘tune out’ background noise

Researchers found children who were poor readers were worse at distinguishing repetitive and random sounds while watching a video than their more skilled peers.

Auditory neuroscientist Professor Nina Kraus said: ‘The study brings us closer to understanding sensory processing in children who experience difficulty excluding irrelevant noise.’

She said most schoolchildren can focus on the voice of a teacher amid the cacophony of the typical classroom as their brains automatically focuses on the relevant information. But for children with developmental dyslexia the teacher’s voice may get lost, according to the study published in Neuron.

Professor Kraus, of Northwestern University in Illinois, said: ‘The ability to sharpen or fine-tune repeating elements is crucial to hearing speech in noise because it allows for superior ‘tagging’ of voice pitch – an important cue in picking out a particular voice within background noise.’

In the study good and poor readers were asked to watch a video while the speech sound “da” was presented to them through an earphone in two different sessions during which the brain’s response was continuously measured.

The British Dyslexia Association said new research showing dyslexia affects hearing as well as reading could help teachers improve the education of children affected by the condition.

Dr Kate Saunders, education and policy director of the charity, said: ‘The research helps to build an understanding of the difficulties experienced by many dyslexic individuals in terms of effective processing of phonological, auditory material.

‘Teachers should be made aware of these differences in order to plan how best to help these children.’

She added: ‘It is interesting to note that the findings suggest that the way dyslexics process auditory material may also enable them “to represent their sensory environment in a broader and arguably more creative manner”.

‘Research studies such as this all offer a piece of the jigsaw puzzle in helping to understand the complex mix of difficulties and potential strengths that can affect dyslexic individuals.’

Once again it is time for the EBS Building Society to open their doors for nominations for their Community Fund. The Offaly Dyslexia Group urges you to nominate us as your favourite charity…

All you need to do is to visit our EBS Community Fund 2009 page here on the website, or click any of the links in this post. Download and complete the application form, following the guidelines published and submit it to your local EBS branch. It couldn’t be more simple, could it?

There are a few rules to bear in mind when submitting your nominations. The most important of all is that you MUST be a member of the EBS. All we can say on this one, is if you aren’t a member you probably know someone who is – ask them to nominate the Offaly Dyslexia Group for you! (Isn’t that a bit cheeky? No…!)

The EBS asks that you give a little bit of information about what the Offaly Dyslexia Group does and why it’s important to you and your community. Use information given here on the website to help you with this, like our mission statement which is to be found in the left hand sidebar.

Our contact details can be found on the contact us page and our contact person should be Frances Walsh, Group Administrator. She can be contacted on the Offaly Dyslexia Group advice line…

As a relatively new enterprise the Offaly Dyslexia Group is in the process of acquiring educational resources specially designed for use by children with dyslexia. At the moment we have nineteen children, this will change and we will need even more resources.

In 2010 we hope to expand to include workshops for secondary school children with dyslexia. Next year five of our existing members will be moving into this category. As this will be introducing new challenges into the workshops we will need to purchase suitable resources for use by these children.

The bottom line is that we have limited funds, which we have worked hard to raise. Fundraising is an on-going concern which will help us maintain the existing facilities and allow for future growth of the Offaly Dyslexia Group.

Remember, goodwill may be free gratis, but very little else in life is. So, please encourage your friends, family, work colleagues and neighbours to nominate the Offaly Dyslexia Group for the 2009 EBS Community Fund.

The closing date has been extended to the close of business on the 4th December…

The AIB Better Ireland Programme is  currently accepting applications until the extended deadline of the 27th Nov.
They will then be passing the applications to the groups local branch for short-listing.  All groups will be notified of short-listing in the first week of January 2010.
Voting is not until the 15th Feb to the 15th March, so please keep your eyes and ears peeled for more news. Tell your parents, grand-parents, neighbours, friends and anyone who will listen to vote for us…
Many thanks!

As discussed at the Offaly Dyslexia Group‘s 1st Annual General Meeting last night a proposal has been submitted to the AIB Better Ireland Programme.

Applicants will be notified by Dec 31st whether their application has been accepted. If we are one of the lucky ones this will lead essentially to a bidding war on-line and by text.

Each branch in Ireland has been allocated a budget of €10,000 which will be divided between their three winners. The winners will be chosen by the voting public following a media campaign to secure the most votes.

This will include members of the local and possibly national media promoting the applicants who get through the first round. As a result of the publicity campaign members of the general public will vote for the most worthy cause. The award of €10,000 will be split between the three highest vote takers, 1st €5,000, 2nd €3,000 and 3rd €2,000.

We will be keeping a careful eye on things here at the Offaly Dyslexia Group and will let you know if we are one of the lucky ones. When we find out, you will be the next to know, meanwhile keep your fingers crossed!

Keep an eye on things here on the website, Facebook or Twitter

Some time ago the Offaly Dyslexia Group joined the social networking group Twitter. Our principal reason for doing this was to raise the profile of the group in general – to get the name out there…

It certainly seems as though we’ve achieved this goal. Through our Twitter page we’ve made numerous contacts, some of whom have made generous donations to our workshops.

James Bauer, is an author of several books on the subject of dyslexia who is involved in the ranging from a play to a factual recollection of his difficulties growing up as someone with undiagnosed dyslexia. James donated copies of each of his three books to our library.

Twitter provides invaluable resources for people interested in the subject of dyslexia. This is not to say that the Offaly Dyslexia Group endorses the content of this forum, rather that by our participation in the conversation we make this resource available to our readers.

The Offaly Dyslexia Group is just over one year old and to celebrate its birthday we are holding our very first Annual General Meeting. This will take place at Geashill National School, Geashill, Co Offaly on Monday 16th November 2009 at 5.30pm…

The Offaly Dyslexia Group invites the parents and relatives of our workshop members, children with dyslexia and other interested parties to attend.This is your opportunity to come along and meet the members of the committee, who have worked so hard to get the Offaly Dyslexia Group up and running.

In addition to this it will be an opportunity to meet other parents whose children have a diagnosis of dyslexia. As the aim of the Offaly Dyslexia Group is to provide support and advice for parents whose children have dyslexia this is the ideal opportunity to meet and chat with people in a similar position.

If you know of someone who might benefit from attending this meeting and finding out a little bit more, why not invite them to attend the Offaly Dyslexia Group AGM on Monday 16th November at 5.30pm in Geashill National School?

NB: this is not a parent-teacher meeting.

For more information please contact us…