Dyslexia – Developing a Toolbox

Nov 23, 2019 | News

Dyslexia – Developing a Toolbox

After a parent has received a diagnosis of Dyslexia, I’m often asked ‘what is the one thing you would recommend for my son or daughter’.  Um, well, there isn’t one thing I’m afraid.  In life we use a range of tools and strategies and it’s the same when supporting students with Dyslexia.  Dyslexia impacts many areas of day to day life so there isn’t going to be one tool that does everything.  Also, Dyslexia varies in how it affects each person – information processing, information storage and retrieval, memory, speed of processing, organisation etc – again reinforcing the need for a multitude of support tools.

In our lives we use a range of tools and techniques to function daily. We use technology, our own internal tools and our support networks living our daily life. It’s the same for students with Dyslexia.

Human support – human support is vital for us all. We all have and need a support network around ourselves. Not having a support network makes life very hard and leaves us extremely vulnerable.  What’s important is that it is also the right form of human support.  As I’ve written about before, for SEN students, it’s vital that the human support given is about empowering the student to achieve independent working as much as possible.   Human support isn’t about doing for us. Human support is about listening and helping solve our problems and overcome our difficulties.  If we always have someone do something for us we don’t learn ourselves.

Internal Strategies –  linking nicely with human support is also our own internal strategies that help us succeed.  For students with Dyslexia they will have strengths alongside their difficulties (again see previous blog).  What’s important is that they develop internal strategies to counteract their difficulties, mentally and physically.  They have the meta cognition to understand Dyslexia isn’t who they are, that their brain is wired differently, that they have many many talents.  They also know how to overcome difficulties they have using all resources available.  That they won’t give up but also, they know what isn’t a realistic goal for themselves.  For example, their spelling levels may never improve but that’s ok because there is a technology they use for that and so their goal is to get better at using that technology, not keep expecting improved spelling personally.

Technology – technology is all around us.  There is so much available now and it is fantastic.  As a (slightly) older person, I learned to type on a manual typewriter and to be able to use the electric one was a exciting.  It’s amazing how far technology has come since then, how many of us feel lost without our mobile phones now. But in education we are sometimes slow to embrace this, particularly for students with SEN.   Many schools just ban mobile phones from being used in school but, in my opinion, this isn’t the right thing to do.  How about having a correct use procedure instead?  Banning is unrealistic and is also holding back many of our SEN students, particularly those with Dyslexia.  We shouldn’t ban just because we don’t know how to manage it.

There are so many apps available on mobile phones to help students with Dyslexia, some free and some paid for.  British Dyslexia Association and Dyslexia Scotland websites are good for information. But even just being able to use the phone to take a picture of the whiteboard is of massive use to a student with Dyslexia. To be able to set alarms to remind a student where to be and when – huge.

Tablets, laptops all make life easier for students with Dyslexia. Google and Microsoft etc, are improving accessibility on a regular basis.   But remember, there isn’t one tool to do everything.  Ideally, with regard to technology, it is a combination of mobile phone, tablet/laptop and then maybe the C-Pen Reader Pen to read printed text.

Of course, what I haven’t yet mentioned are the very simple ways to support which don’t come in the previous categories – coloured overlays/paper, low visual noise in the environment, using dyslexia friendly fonts and layouts etc.  These still have a major part to play in the Dyslexia toolbox.

So, when supporting students/people with Dyslexia, don’t just look for one thing to support/fix.  Adopt a wide range of tools and strategies.  Work with the student and experiment, try new things, ask them to investigate and develop their own toolbox that will take them through life.  Also, make sure you are providing the right sort of support – empowering.

Sam Garner



Event Location

Hall 11

Birmingham NEC

North Avenue

Marston Green


B40 9AD


Opening Times

  • Wed 23rd Sep: 9:30 - 17:00
  • Thur 24th Sep: 9:30 - 17:00
  • Fri 25th Sept - 9:30 - 17:00


Company Information

Dyslexia Show Limited

Future Business Centre

Kings Hedges Road



Reg: 11924693

Tel: 0330 088 7985 

Email: hello@dyslexiashow.co.uk


The UK’s Leading Exhibition Dedicated to Dyslexia and Neurodiversity. 2024

Dyslexia Show 2024 The UK's Leading Exhibition Dedicated to Dyslexia and Neurodiversity. I am thrilled to announce the highly anticipated dates for Dyslexia Show 2024, taking place on March 15th-16th, at the NEC in Birmingham. Following the resounding success of last...

Introducing neurobox (formerly Dyslexia Box)

You may notice things look a little different around here – we’ve got a new name, and a new look and feel! It’s been nearly 6 years since Dyslexia Box was founded and a lot has changed in this time. Why the change? We felt our name no longer reflected who we are today...

New UK Product Launch -Soterra Education

Soterra Education helps Education leaders and School Finance teams deliver innovative products and associated print New UK Product Launch We are very excited to announce our launch into the UK market as the official UK distributor of the Trace N’ Wipe dual purpose...

Why learning to type is helpful if you have dyslexia

A good way to think about dyslexia is just as a different way of processing in the brain. It makes sense that students who process language in a different way will require alternative approaches to teaching and learning, in order to meet their needs. So what does this...

Got it Learning showcases reading and spelling games at Dyslexia Show

New ‘Got it’ educational card games that make learning to read and spell fun, will be featured on the Got it Learning stand at the Dyslexia Show 2023, in the NEC Birmingham from 24-25 March. The educational card games for two to four players have been designed...

The Ultimate Planner for Busy SENCOs

Hello SENCOs, As a special education needs coordinator in your school, you know that organization and efficiency are key to your success. With so many responsibilities to juggle, you need a tool that can help you stay on top of everything. Introducing the floral...

Words can’t hold us back

Global assistive technology company, Texthelp, has unveiled new research highlighting the scale and impact that literacy challenges are having on the UK population. Over a third (36%) of UK adults have admitted to having reading, writing, grammar, comprehension...

Innovation: How Dyslexia Leads The Way

A guest blog for Dyslexia Box by Paul Daniels (not the magician)Paul Daniels (not the magician) is an International Speaker, Board Advisor, International Bestselling Author, and Founder of the Peripheral Thinkers™ think-tank. He advises neurotypical business...

Video Courses that Teach How to Study

As a child with dyslexia, I grew up through school finding all manner of things difficult with school. Whether it was listening to the teachers, reading information from books, or understanding instructions correctly - I seemed to find processing information through...

Why getting it right for neurodiversity gets it right for all

Flexible responses to diverse learning needs My interest in neurodiversity goes back to when I conceived the notion of Dyslexia Friendly Schools.  My successful secondary school in North Wales, Hawarden High School, became the first secondary school in the UK to host...