A Mam Helping Children with Special Needs & Her Tips For Parents

Einir Dwyfor Trimble is a busy Mam who has a passion for helping children with special needs. Mam Cymru invited Einir to share her story and to share some tips and advice for parents…

My interest in special needs began during my first year as a qualified teacher, facing a primary school class of over 30 children all with various needs for the first time, I felt unqualified and seriously lacking information on how I could meet the needs of all these children. I enrolled at Bangor University to study as a dyslexia teacher and my passion in the subject rose further as I put the information I had learned into practice and saw the benefits first hand of how a multisensory 1-1 approach really benefited the children in my class.

Since my initial steps into special needs I have since qualified as a dyslexia assessor, managed Ceredigion’s resource centre for autism, gained an Autism P.GDip at Birmingham University and worked as an additional learning needs advisor for ERW

As a parent to busy toddler and another one on the way in April 2019, I wanted a career which fitted around my family but enabled me to pursue my passion of helping people with dyslexia and autism. I therefore took the plunge and established Enfys Training & Consultancy in September 2018, which provides training on dyslexia, autism and equality in the workplace, along with full diagnostic assessments for dyslexia and I provide access arrangement testing for secondary schools.  I have a variety of clients from schools, private, public and third sector companies. I also support employees and employers in arranging and adapting workplace accommodations to enable a more productive work environment.

One of my proudest moments as a teacher was helping a teenager who had been written off by his previous school as a troublemaker, after a few weeks I realised that he couldn’t read, and we started a multisensory teaching programme. Within six months he was slowly but very proudly reading from Harry Potter. He has since finished school and gained several GCSE’s and is now working as an apprentice mechanic. Many people are worried about labelling children with specific learning difficulties, however if people are aware of the areas that needs help and support they can be targeted and equally their strengths can flourish. Without specialist support and professionals who believe they can make a difference, school would have been a different story for this young man.

Einir’s 5 tips for parents suspecting their child might be dyslexic.

  1. Trust your instincts. You will come across lots of people who will want to give you advice and share their ideas with you, but every child is different, and you know your child better than anybody else. If you think that something is not right, seek professional advice from a dyslexia specialist. Unfortunately, many teachers have not had the specific training in dyslexia and will want to calm your worries and recommend that you wait and see how your child develops. However, it is important that a child with dyslexia has help at an early age before they become aware of the academic gap that will inevitable grow between their peers and them , assessment can be made as young as seven. 

2.    Reading is sometimes the first indicator that your child might be facing difficulties. They might not enjoy a bedtime book, shy away from reading in general and fall behind their friends in school in a reading scheme. Once children are aware of their differences their confidence could start to take a knock. If your child is having reading difficulties the first port of call would be to test their eye sight for visual stress, which could result in blurred reading, words out of focus, the letters might move or shimmer. Visual stress would need to be checked by a specialist optometrist.

3.   Spelling is a complex activity and many children with dyslexia will have difficulty in this area. To spell you must first quickly and accurately think about how words sound and then translate those sounds to print, and there are also lots of rules to memorise. If your child has dyslexia it makes it hard to isolate sounds to letters and blend sounds into words. Learning to spell may be much harder than learning to read for some children.

4.   A symptom of dyslexia which is often overlooked is memory and the ability to organise yourself, for example constantly forgetting information, unable to remember more than two or three things in a list and unable to organise daily routines. This is due to a weak working memory in people with dyslexia. i.e. the brains ability to hold onto information before it’s stored in long term memory, therefore repetition in a multisensory format is so important to enable them to take information in through being able to see, hear, feel and move to deploy all learning strategies, to keep that information stored in the brain for easy retrieval.

5.  Diagnosis – the earliest a child can be diagnosed as having dyslexia is at seven years old, as the standardised tests in an assessment start at this age. It also allows time for children to develop in their own time, as children develop at different rates. Test can last from 4-6 hours but can be split up into manageable chunks. It consists of a reading, spelling, phonics, cognition and intelligence test which all add up to provide areas of strengths and weaknesses in a full report, with recommendation of how to best support your child.

If you would like further advice or would like to book and assessment contact me on swyddfaenfys@gmail.com or visit my Facebook page Enfys Training and Consultancy or website, www.enfys.cymru.

Mam Cymru would like to thank Einir for giving us a great insight and sharing her advice with our readers. We wish you the best of luck with Enfys Consultancy and with the new baby too! You really do have that #MamPower X

By Heulwen Davies, Mam Cymru

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