As parents, we’re always asking how we can do more for our children. One suggestion is to let your children see you and other family members reading regularly. Be it newspapers, magazines, books or letters, being seen to read is a subliminal encouragement for your child to follow suit! It’s often far more effective to follow this approach…

With Christmas literally just days away, we’re sure you’ll find plenty of opportunities to encourage your child to read/write. Ask your child to help you with tasks like writing last minute shopping lists, selecting favourite programmes from the TV guide and Christmas cards need to be written after all! These are activities of daily living and not a formal spelling/writing lesson…

Christmas is also a great opportunity to give fun presents such as comic annuals. Great examples of these include publications like the Beano or the Dandy which have short snappy sentences in speech bubbles accompanied by great illustrations to stimulate your child’s interest. Older children might also enjoy books like the Guinness Book of Records, which is full of interesting facts and great photo’s to rouse their interest in the text.

Christmas is always a great opportunity for families to spend time together. The children are off school for a couple of weeks and hopefully parents will get a couple of extra days off too. One great way to pass this time is to play board and/or word games together. Junior Scrabble, Countdown, Monopoly are just a few examples, remember learning doesn’t have to be all about lessons!

As children many parents will remember that St Stephen’s Day was the time to write your thank you letters. Often we’d receive a set of notelets for Christmas along with a writing set, ie a pen & pencil, sadly it wouldn’t be long before these were all used up! These days sending a short e-mail is often just as acceptable and will help your child keep up to date with their friends and family just as effectively.

Most of all, remember to have fun together. Christmas is a time that forges memories that will last a lifetime, so make it a good one and don’t forget to save the stamps off those Christmas cards and send them in to the Offaly DAI. As a large supermarket chain likes to say “Every Little Helps!”



After a successful Autumn-Winter term parents of workshop members were invited to attend a short talk by psychologist Yvonne Cunningham, who explained some of the jargon on psycho-educational reports. As each child is an individual, it follows that not all psycho-educational reports will be the same. Having a better understanding of these documents will allow us to help our children generally, especially with their literacy needs as best we can.

There was a good attendence and feedback from those present was positive. As a special treat for Christmas the workshop members were each given a selection box and class was dismissed for the Christmas Season!!!

All that remains to be said is Merry Christmas everybody and we look forward to seeing you all in the New Year!


The Offaly Branch of the DAI will be holding a parent’s night on Monday 12th December 2011. Yvonne Cunningham, Educational Psychologist will speak about psycho-educational assessments and what they mean to us as parents. She will be available to answer open questions. Tea & coffee will be available.

As ever the committee of the Offaly Branch of the Dyslexia Association of Ireland are working away on behalf of our workshop members, however with a committee comprising of just 7 parents and one staff member our numbers are small.

Recently the routine administration of each workshop has been organised into a two week rota. Three members of the branch committee will be on hand to take care of signing the children in/out of the workshops, making sure that the tutorial staff also sign in/out and that any visitors are accounted for. In addition to this payment of fees, keeping of payment records and issue of receipts is done by our volunteer staff who are also on hand to deal with any queries or problems that might arise.

Currently there are 8 committee members, who meet formally once a month to discuss the running of the workshops and plan for growth, fundraising campaigns etc. The 3 officers in the branch; the chairperson, the secretary and the branch treasurer deal with the office side of things with the help of our branch administrator who keeps everything running smoothly.

As ever, we welcome offers of help. If you have administrative, secretarial, book keeping, fundraising, tea making or any other type of skills that you might like to share with us, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the volunteer staff. The Offaly Branch of the DAI’s function is to provide practical support to families who are affected by dyslexia, but, we can only do this properly if the families of workshop members support us in doing this…

At a recent committe meeting it became obvious that parents of workshop members might occasionally wish to speak with our programme co-ordinator. Unfortunately ad-hoc meetings of this nature are proving to be somewhat disruptive of the workshops themselves! In the light of this observation we find it necessary to request that parents wishing to speak with our programme co-ordinator make a request to do so towards the end of the workshops, ie 6.45pm onwards.

Volunteer administrators will be on hand to deal with all initial enquiries and to handle payments of workshop fees. They will be located to the right hand side of the upper corridor. This is to reduce the congestion at the top of the stairs at 5.30pm. A rosta has been drawn up from the committee members to allow for three volunteers per workshop, at present this is a week-on/week-off arrangement.

Tutors and volunteer staff are requested to sign in/out of the workshops. Parents/guardians are responsible for signing their child in/out as necessary and are most welcome to wait on site for the duration of the workshops, but are requested to make their intentions known to the volunteer staff, who will ask them to sign in/out. This is for health and safety purposes only.

As usual we are always seeking new ideas and volunteers to help us run the workshops. If you would like to become more involved please don’t hesitate to contact us…



Offaly DAI wish to thank our tireless supporters who turned out last Saturday and helped us raise funds in support of literacy workshops for children with dyslexia. Based in St Mary’s Youth Centre, Tullamore with a current membership of just over 50 adults and children, Saturday’s turnout was poor. In spite of this we were able to get our message out, ie that there are supports for people with dyslexia in the Midlands!

We were thrilled when the final tally was announced late on Saturday night.  Despite having a much smaller army of volunteers than in 2009 (for our last flag day) when we had just 7 children, we were delighted to realised we’d raised enough cash to cover our expenses for this fundraising initiative, and to purchase essential support materials for the workshops.

As a not-for-profit organisation Offaly DAI is entirely dependent upon charitable donations, grant aid and generally the good will of our friends, families, members, etc. We would especially like to thank the people of Tullamore and its environs for their kind support. Without them our work would remain a constant uphill struggle during these cash strapped days, as we’ve said on so many occasions in the past every penny counts. So huge thanks from the committee and the members of Offaly DAI for your generous support!


Following a feasability study conducted by the Offaly DAI it has been established that there is a potential need for Dyslexia Association of Ireland workshops in the Irish Midlands, (eg counties Offaly, Laois, Westmeath) for adults with dyslexia.

Members of the DAI, Career Paths and the VEC have been invited to speak on the topic of dyslexia and literacy difficulties in adults. This will include an introduction to adult dyslexia and possible coping strategies. It will also include an outline of the facilities available to adults with literacy difficulties available through Offaly VEC.

There are many reasons for literacy difficulties in adulthood, however Offaly VEC recognizes that dyslexia is a condition which requires specialized assistance. It is therefore proposed that the Offaly VEC, in conjunction with the Offaly DAI introduce a series of workshops for adults with dyslexia in October 2011.

As such we invite interested parties to attend this meeting. Light refreshments  will be available

Sponsorship forms for the Flora Women’s Mini-Marathon (FWMM) are now available from the Offaly DAI.

These may be used either to

  • raise funds yourself by participating in the event itself or
  • to raise sponsorship monies for members of the Offaly DAI who are participating on behalf of the group.

If you are considering participating in the event, which takes place on Monday 6th June 2011 at 3pm there is a wealth of information and advice on how to register and on preparation for the event on the FWMM website. Please be advised that you do not have to be superfit and run this marathon, walkers of all shapes, sizes and abilities are also welcome.

The only restrictions are that you have to be female and that you have registered with the FWMM either on-line or using one of the applications available in the Evening Herald. Persons turning up on the day, without registration will not be permitted to take part in the event due to health and safety restrictions, so be aware, be active, be registered and improve your overall health at the same time!!! (for the ladies only, please…)

The Offaly DAI will be holding a flag day/street collection in Tullamore on Saturday 23rd April from 10am – 7pm. We hope that this date will prove to be a particularly successful one as it’s Holy Saturday, as in the day before Easter!

As you may know the Offaly DAI held their last flag day some two years ago. While we worked hard and had a great day the timing was somewhat unfortunate, ie the Saturday prior to the the Fleadh, right in the middle of August when half the population was on holiday. Nevertheless we were able to avail of thirty-six offers of help, not including the no-shows! So, it’s very much a case of finger’s crossed this time…

We will, of course be seeking the help of our friends and supporters. So, don’t be surprised if you receive a phone call asking for just two hours of your time on Holy Saturday, to raise funds and raise public awareness of The Offaly DAI.