Upon completion of my primary teaching qualification in 2008, I started working with younger pupils and developed a great interest in literacy and language and how children learn. It was my experience as a special education teacher in 2014 in supporting pupils of all ages and diverse learning styles, where I gained more knowledge and experience in using a variety of specific programmes and interventions to support pupils’ learning.
I have always had an interest in language and literacy, and I have updated my skills in this area at every opportunity. My training with the Dyslexia Association of Ireland as a dyslexia tutor in 2016 has allowed me to work more closely with children with dyslexia and select the most appropriate resources for effective learning. Moreover, my tutoring enabled me to see the importance of acknowledging the many little accomplishments that took place in real learning that really build a child’s self-esteem and confidence.
My interests and passions in language literacy and learning were further developed when I completed a Master’s of Education in Specific Learning Difficulties/Dyslexia in Dublin City University,2019. This is the first programme in Ireland to offer dual accreditation in the area of dyslexia: Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA) and an Assessment Practising Certificate (APC), alongside specialist teaching for learners with dyslexia. These professional awards are accredited by the British Dyslexia Association and internationally recognised to reflect the competences, knowledge and professional skills as identified by the International Dyslexia Association and International Literacy Association.
My studies have also allowed me to develop a more thorough understanding in language and literacy learning. My interest in reading fluency as a vital component of literacy is evident having received a first-class honour in my final year research project which explored ‘Readers Theatre as an authentic approach to develop oral reading fluency and promote inclusion among primary school children’. Here I analysed the various theoretical and evidence-based research interventions to promote oral reading fluency and addressed the need to incorporate all learners in the classroom to support practice in inclusive pedagogy. Evidently, the strategies and approaches that we use to benefit pupils with dyslexia essentially benefit all pupils in our classrooms.
I completed various professional development courses including ASD, Speech and Language,Team-Teaching and other additional CPD courses in dyslexia. These allowed me to collaborate with other teachers and professionals in supporting children with specific learning needs. Furthermore, they enabled me to develop a greater insight into dyslexia and other co-occurring difficulties.
I provide specialist dyslexia tuition for pupils with dyslexia and those who are at risk of having dyslexic-type difficulties. I take a holistic approach to dyslexia, viewing it as more than an educational matter. The impact dyslexia has on children in their day to day lives and in times of transition is also taken into account. I really enjoy gaining the rewards of working with children one-to-one and seeing the progress made. Often this provides the skills and confidence necessary for them to successfully access their mainstream learning. I aim to provide information and strategies that can be used at home and in the classroom to aid learners with dyslexia. Given the diverse challenges we face in education today, I hope to ensure that every pupil can succeed in learning and thrive to reach their own potential. My research in self-esteem and dyslexia as part of my studies has also enabled me to acknowledge the huge challenges that learners with dyslexia face, and moreover, the fundamental need to instil confidence and self-belief in pupils with literacy difficulties. It is important to encourage children who may have formed negative associations with literacy at school; choosing the right books and accommodations can make a big difference, motivating them to read with confidence. I believe that given the right strategies and correct instructional practices, children with dyslexia can gain more confidence, motivation and determination to succeed in their own learning.