Dyslexia Scotland

Claire Gilfillan recently met with Dyslexia Scotland to discuss the work that they do with teachers and schools.

Claire Gilfillan, Web Content Editor, GTC Scotland

I recently met with Katrina O’Brien, Volunteers Manager, and Cathy Magee, Chief Executive, from Dyslexia Scotland, to discuss the work of Dyslexia Scotland and how they support teachers and schools.

Dyslexia Scotland is a national organisation based in Stirling that represents the needs of dyslexic people. The aim of Dyslexia Scotland is to encourage and enable children, young people and adults with dyslexia to reach their potential in education, employment and life. They do this by offering high quality services that will enable dyslexic people to maximise their abilities.


Dyslexia Scotland delivers a range of support and services as identified by and on behalf of dyslexic children and adults, these include:

  • National Telephone Helpline, available Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm
  • National tutor list and training for tutors
  • Supporting projects for the Scottish Government and other partners
  • Website, leaflets and guidance documents
  • Conferences, road shows, workshops and training events
  • Local services provided through the 15 local branches

Working with schools

The Dyslexia Assessment Working Group developed an online Assessing Dyslexia Toolkit, with funding support from the Scottish Government, in 2010 for teachers and early years workers to assess literacy difficulties and dyslexia. The toolkit has since been upgraded and was re-launched in September 2012 as the ‘Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit’. The upgraded toolkit offers invaluable guidance to teachers to help them in identifying and supporting pupils with dyslexia. The toolkit can be viewed at:

What can you do?

Throughout your career you will have children with dyslexia in your class. They are the pupils who from the beginning struggle with reading, writing and/or spelling and possibly numeracy. However they may also be creative, articulate, and imaginative and perform well in practical subjects. Children with dyslexia need to be identified, supported and closely monitored as early as possible to ensure that they are able to gain access to the strategies and tools they need to succeed. It is therefore important that you are aware of the signs of dyslexia and know as much as you can about the learning difficulty.

There are some general rules to help children affected by dyslexia with reading, these are:

  • Keep it fun
  • don’t put too much pressure on a child and don’t expect too much too soon
  • Practise what they know first to improve confidence
  • Praise what is done well and comment on how they have done it
  • Be ready to give help at the right time
  • Before reading, talk about the picture, headings and titles
  • Stop when they have had enough

Education Conference

A great way to find out more about dyslexia and how you can help dyslexic children in your classroom is by attending the Dyslexia Scotland annual education conference. This year’s conference is being held on Saturday 21 September 2013 at Perth Concert Hall and is entitled ‘Dyslexia: Beyond Words’.  Dyslexia Scotland has secured two excellent speakers, a panel of professionals and a dynamic choice of practical workshops. The conference will also include a large market place of exhibitors displaying the most recent materials and technologies to support teaching and learning.

For more information on the conference visit:

Further information

Further information and support can be found on the Dyslexia Scotland website:

Listen to the podcast about Dyslexia Scotland and the work they do supporting teachers: