From education to employment

We Speak to Honor Page, Owner of The Dyslexia Shop

honor page

October marks National Dyslexia Awareness Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness of dyslexia. To mark this, we spoke to Honor Page, CEO, and owner of The Dyslexia Shop.

As a family with a history of dyslexia, Honor Page has dedicated years to learning and training in all areas of neurodiversity, helping allow those with learning difficulties to unlock their full potential.

Here we speak to Honor on the importance of a diagnosis, the stigma around dyslexia, and the positive impact that The Dyslexia Shop has had on individuals both in the classroom and at home.

What is your personal experience with dyslexia?

My personal experience with dyslexia started when my own sons were diagnosed and needed extra support at home and within school. I became a committee member of our local Dyslexia Charity in Suffolk and finally was diagnosed with dyslexia myself aged 50!

What past roles have you had in supporting children and their families with dyslexia?

I trained as a British Dyslexia Association Befriender, supporting parents and carers to obtain the correct provision for their children in school, right through to obtaining an EHCP and SEN tribunal and then went on to train with our local education authority as an Independent Parental Supporter.

What advice would you give someone who is currently suffering with some of the challenges dyslexia can cause?

I believe that obtaining the correct diagnosis is the first step to learning how to deal with some of the challenges that can occur with dyslexia. For children, it is essential in most cases for them to be given the correct support and teaching to enable them to reach their potential. I have always tried to look on dyslexia as a gift, we think outside the box, take on challenges that non neurodiverse people would find difficult and learn many strategies to cope, we can also have strengths in reasoning and creativeness.

It’s often reported that there is a stigma around dyslexia – what are your thoughts on this?

I feel that there is still a stigma for many adults that have had a late diagnosis and have been left feeling that they have not reached their potential in life, in these cases this is where they continue to try and hide their dyslexia. I find that more commonly now, young people and children are not trying to hide their dyslexia, I do hope this is the case.

Do you think that dyslexia is becoming more common, or just that the symptoms are now better recognised?

I certainly hope that dyslexia is becoming better recognised now.

Do you know of any misconceptions around dyslexia and what people may think that it is?

The biggest misconception around dyslexia is that it is considered a reading and writing problem only. Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty, true enough it can cause reading difficulties due to phonological processing, but memory, organisation, sequencing, processing speed, self esteem are some of the main challenges that we face.

What is your opinion regarding the support that the education system offers for both teachers and children?

My understanding regarding the support teachers have during their training is that it is very limited on the actual teaching and support for pupils with dyslexia. Once qualified teachers, I think that the amount of support that they receive in school is largely dependent on the funds they have available from the SEN budget and this seems to be wholly reliant on the budget given to them from central government, which varies from area to area.

There appears to be a vast difference in the correct support and help that children with dyslexia receive in schools around the country. In some areas early identification and the correct intervention is there and extremely good. In other areas it is practically nonexistence. I assume this is down to lack of funds.

Tell us about the Dyslexia Shop (TDS)…

We bought TDS in 2009 from a couple who set the company up. We have gone on to grow our range of products vastly and are always at the end of the phone to help staff and parents with any queries they may have.

What type of resources does the shop offer and how do they support a wide range of children?

Our range of resources cover most Special Educational Needs; we cover dyslexia, dyscalculia, visual stress, dyspraxia, ADHD, and autism. We are always happy to help anyone who has recently had a diagnosis and needs advice on which product would help best.

Anything that you’d like to add?

I would like to add that we have grown from strength to strength in the thirteen years we have had The Dyslexia Shop, largely due to the commitment from all the family members. Our aim is “unlock peoples potential so they can follow their dreams”.

According to a recent study by The Dyslexia Shop, teachers from Oxford have come out on top in the study which has delved into how confident they are when teaching students with dyslexia. A whopping 98% of respondents from Oxford said they felt able and well equipped to deal with teaching dyslexic students.

Teachers from Aberdeen came in second as the most confident in the UK with 75% saying they felt confident teaching dyslexia in the classroom, while Manchester teachers came in third with 74%. Edinburgh teachers had 71% confidence and Belfast closely followed with 70%.

For more information and results on the study, please head here.

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