What is the Disability Access Route to Education?


The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE)

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The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a college and university admissions scheme which offers places on a reduced points basis to school leavers under 23 years old with disabilities who have completed an Irish Leaving Certificate. DARE has been set up by a number of colleges and universities as evidence shows that disability can have a negative effect on how well a student does at school and whether they go on to college.

Who is it for?

DARE is for school leavers who have the ability to benefit from and succeed in higher education but who may not be able to meet the points for their preferred course due to the impact of their disability.

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Dyslexia and Memory


Dyslexia and Memory

Dyslexia – Can it be helped by learning memory strategies?

Teachers often tell me that their dyslexic students have memory
problems. In my research I have found that teaching children a variety of
memory strategies is useful because they will be able to try them out
individually or in combination and note for themselves the effect.

I train teachers in Special Education and as part of the training include in the Methods Course – The History of Memory Strategies.

What I have found is that people don’t know about the origins of the strategies, are not aware that many exist, and don’t know how to teach them effectively.

There are seven basic memory strategies that I have found useful for students with special needs including dyslexia. The strategies are as follows:

1. The Metacognitive Strategy – When learning a list of words for example, asking yourself and then noting down how you remembered the words.

2. The First Letter Strategy – Using the first letter of each word to try to
make a real or nonsense word.

Example of making a real word –  The names of the Great Lakes in the United States are:  Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior
The first letter of each of the lakes makes the word  HOMES

Example of making a nonsense word – The names of each of the colors of the rainbow follow:

red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet

The first letter of each of the colors makes the nonsense word  ROYGBIV

3. The Story Strategy – Write a real or nonsense story that incorporates all the words you want to remember.

Example of a nonsense story – The following is a nonsense story to remember this list of words (emu, dog, eel, tiger, cat, toad, owl, rat, snake).

Australian Farmer

The Australian farmer had seen an emu, owl, rat, toad and snake outside.  He had a dog, cat and eel in his house.   However, he had to visit a zoo to see a tiger.

Example of a real story  – The following is a short poem that includes all the months in a year:

Thirty days hath September
April, June and November,
All the rest have thirty-one
Excepting February alone

4. The Grouping Strategy – Grouping words together that belong to the same category.

Example of using the grouping strategy –

Make a list of all things that belong to the same family e.g. animals

dog, tiger, cat, horse, lion, zebra, wolf

Make a list from a larger list of all things in one group e.g.


palm railway snake
eye underground elephant
arm motorway tiger

5. The Imagery Strategy – Making a list of all things in a list by picturing them together or separately.

Example of using the imagery strategy –

Make a list of all things in one group, which are the same color by
picturing several animals all brown in the same picture e.g.

a brown horse, a brown wolf, a brown cat, a brown lion, a brown snake, a
brown dog, a brown cat

Or make a nonsense picture to help you remember e.g. a brown dog with a brown snake twisted around its neck looking like a scarf.

6. The Location Strategy – This is the ability to remember locations and assign faces to each.

Example of using the location strategy

Think of your school and conduct a mental walk from the principal’s office
to your classroom. Pay particular attention to the rooms you are passing
noting the details, noticing any imperfections, like desks not lined up:
anything that makes your mental images more vivid.   Make sure you can move easily from one room to another.

Along your route create a list of the most outstanding feature of each room.
These will be the images you remember as you go from one room to another until you reach your final destination, the principal’s office.

7. The Pegword Strategy – First learn a rhymed pegword list and then learn to associate each of these words with the members of the list to be learned.

Example of using the pegword strategy

This is a strategy to remember sequences of ten unrelated items in the
appropriate order.   You first have to remember ten key words, which follow:

one = bun  two = shoe  three = tree  four = door  five = hive  six = sticks
seven = heaven  eight = gate  nine =  wine  ten = hen

After learning these you have to memorize ten unrelated items:

battleship, pig, chair, sheep, castle, rug, grass, beach, milkmaid,

Take the first pegword  (bun rhyming with one) and form an image of a bun interacting in some way with a battleship; you might imagine a battleship sailing into an enormous floating bun.

Children all have to take tests and remember facts throughout their school years. Learning how to apply effective memory strategies can ease this burden.

These strategies will become the tools and techniques used to
understand and learn new material or skills.   It should also be emphasized to pupils and their teachers that these strategies have to be practiced and applied to the subject area being taught, in some cases repeatedly in order to achieve success.

An explanation for children with dyslexia.


An explanation for children with dyslexia.

Lots and lots have been written for parents and teachers about dyslexia so I thought it was time to write something for you.

You are not the only one that has problems learning to read, write, spell, write stories and do sums. Lots of people all over the world (including me) have had problems for years and years long before you were born. We were often told that we were lazy or stupid or that we didn’t try hard enough.

Things are different now although you have the same problems today now lots of people understand, and can show you that you are not stupid or lazy and you try just as hard as everyone else and sometimes harder! And that you can do it.

All you need is a little bit of help to learn in a different way, and you can do very well if you are just shown how.

I used to find it very difficult to copy from the blackboard.

I would look up to start at the beginning, and then look down to see where I should write on my page. When I would look up again I would have lost my place, so I would have to find it again. I found this very tricky. Sometimes I would be gone back to the wrong line, and I would get into a terrible muddle. I would find it very tiring and slow.

Sometimes my teacher would tell me to hurry up and not to be lazy. The trouble was that I was not being lazy. I was working very hard and sometimes it made me cross and sometimes it made me sad.

I found it very hard to learn to read. Sometimes I would see a word but I wouldn’t remember it for very long. When I would see the word again I would have forgotten what it was. I now know this was because a small part of my memory wasn’t working very well. It was nobody’s fault it is just the way it is.

I still get my letters back to front and write b for d and p for q. It’s very confusing. T for f u for n all round the wrong way. It is because I find it hard to see the difference, and hard to remember which way they go.

Writing backwards is something I still do sometimes when I am tired.  I think that’s very clever not everyone can do it, but it does get muddling. Maybe I hear it backwards?

I can do sums very well but sometimes I get them wrong because I might put 12 for 21 and ut for tu. It’s not my fault it’s just that I get things jumbled sometimes.

Sometimes I get it hard to remember all the things that I have been asked to do. I would sometimes get into trouble for not listening. Not fair is it?

I always found spelling impossible to learn. However hard I tried I always seamed to get them wrong.

Do you ever feel like that?

Well, how do we sort out these problems?

First of all, it is a good idea to go with your Mum and Dad to see someone who really understands your problems. You will play a few games, and answer a few questions some of the things you will find easy and some of the things you will find hard. That’s o.k. That’s how it should be.

When you have finished, your Mum and Dad may go in and have a chat to find out the beat way to help you.

After that you may have a special; lesson each week with a special teacher. You will be able to tell her about all the things that worry you and she will understand your particular problems.

Soon you will see that you are much better at some things than most people, and that the bits that were difficult
not quite so difficult any more.

You will probably still get your bs and ds mixed up sometimes (like me) but not nearly as often as before. Reading and writing will be easier too. You will stop worrying so much, because you know that someone understands. Instead of getting things wrong you will be getting things right!

There is nothing wrong with you. All you need is a different way to learn and you will learn very well.

Just you wait and see.

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Brain Gym Dublin

085 1445494 (Dublin)

Frustration Dyslexia

232323232%7Ffp53994)nu=;5;;)9;2)242)WSNRCG=353637(23;333nu0mrjWhy is dyslexia discouraging and frustrating?

Social and Emotional Problems Related to Dyslexia
By: Michael Ryan, M.D. and International Dyslexia Association (2004)

The frustration of children with dyslexia often centers on their inability to meet expectations. Their parents and teachers see a bright, enthusiastic child who is not learning to read and write. Time and again, dyslexics and their parents hear, “He’s such a bright child; if only he would try harder.” Ironically, no one knows exactly how hard the dyslexic is trying.
The pain of failing to meet other people’s expectations is surpassed only by dyslexics’ inability to achieve their goals. This is particularly true of those who develop perfectionistic expectations in order to deal with their anxiety. They grow up believing that it is “terrible” to make a mistake.
However, their learning disability, almost by definition means that these children will make many “careless” or “stupid” mistakes. This is extremely frustrating to them, as it makes them feel chronically inadequate.

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Why is my dyslexic child so angry at me?

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Social and Emotional Problems Related to Dyslexia
By: Michael Ryan, M.D. and International Dyslexia Association (2004)

Many of the emotional problems caused by dyslexia occur out of frustration with school or social situations. Social scientists have frequently observed that frustration produces anger. This can be clearly seen in many dyslexics.
The obvious target of the dyslexic’s anger would be schools and teachers. However, it is also common for the dyslexic to vent his anger on his parents. Mothers are particularly likely to feel the dyslexic’s wrath. Often, the child sits on his anger during school to the point of being extremely passive. However, once he is in the safe environment of home, these very powerful feelings erupt and are often directed toward the mother. Ironically, it is the child’s trust of the mother that allows him to vent his anger. However, this becomes very frustrating and confusing to the parent who is desperately trying to help their child.
As youngsters reach adolescence, society expects them to become independent. The tension between the expectation of independence and the child’s learned dependence causes great internal conflicts. The adolescent dyslexic uses his anger to break away from those people on which he feels so dependent.
Because of these factors, it may be difficult for parents to help their teenage dyslexic. Instead, peer tutoring or a concerned young adult may be better able to intervene and help the child.

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Phone 085 1445494 (Dublin) for consultations.