Strengths of Dyslexia

If you are a parent of a child diagnosed with Dyslexia, you need to read this.

We have been doing more work on the strengths and talents exhibited by people with various learning differences, including Dyslexia. Looking at people’s strengths enables you to understand how people do what they do.  Underneath many of these strengths you will find exceptional skills for creating and manipulating mental images.  This is what lead #EmpoweringLearningstrengthssmall into becoming experts in mental imagery and discovering how to teach creative and imaginative big picture thinkers how to make literacy, numeracy and so much more easier when using their superior mental images.

We were delighted to see Richard Branson launching  #madebydyslexia with the words “It is time we changed the stigma around dyslexia. It is not a disadvantage; it is merely a different way of thinking.” Head over to Made by Dyslexia to read their new report: Connecting the Dots – Understanding Dyslexia, which contains valuable research on these strengths and also the public perception of Dyslexia.



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Free Masterclass: The Role of Mental Imagery in the Learning Process

Saturday 13th May 2pm at the Harpenden Academy
To book your FREE place for parents or teachers please register here:

Learning happens through our senses: primarily visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory.  Our memory is linked to all of these senses and to be an effective learner we need to know how to optimally use these senses. We have visual skills by 6 weeks old, quickly learning how to create mental images of faces and toys without any training. As time goes by, children can develop strong visual learning skills, shown through exceptional creativity and an excellent imagination. But when stressed, they may be overwhelmed by uncontrollable mental images that destroy their ability to learn. This is when learning differences surface as learning difficulties.  You will learn about the differences between teaching and learning, enabling everyone to understand the inner world of visual learning and its relevance to learning differences.


To book your FREE place for parents or teachers please register here:

Developing mental imagery for literacy, numeracy, concentration, comprehension etc will simply jumpstart any struggling learners, whatever their diagnosis.

Those who learn differently often have very good skills for visual learning through strong mental images, but struggle to translate this into academic results, often getting diagnosed as having Dyslexia, Dyscalculia or ADHD.  There are 3 key tenants to this:

  • Recognising the value of mental imagery as essential for spelling, reading, making sense of and remembering what is read, mental calculations and legible handwriting. 100% of those we work with have not developed these skills naturally.
  • Creating an optimal learning state, i.e. relaxed body, alert mind
  • Acknowledging Neurodiversity enables students to become more aware of their own internal processes, recognise their strengths and adjust any ineffective learning strategies accordingly.

All of these skills are supported by neuroscience and although it was thought that these skills were inherent and could not be taught, we now KNOW that this is not the case.  They can all be taught quickly and easily individually or in the classroom to all students including those with Dyslexia or Dyscalculia.

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Trauma Triggered Behavior, Sat 18th March

Trauma Triggered Behaviour in Looked After and Adopted Children is suitable for foster carers, social workers, teachers and adopters; delivered by Bubble Wrapped Children author Helen Oakwater, founder of FAB Parents.

Helen is an inspirational speaker, do take a look at the details here:

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Brent Patoss – Mental Imagery and Dyslexia/ADHD

Inclusive Learning for London
Local Group for Special Needs
Continuing Professional Development Visualisation and Mental Imagery

Olive Hickmott
will give a talk on Mental Imagery and Dyslexia/ADHD 
Wednesday 22nd February – 7.0 – 9.0 pm

Most people realise that mental imagery is a vital part of everyones thinking and forms part of the learnng process. Wether you are trying to find your keys, navigate your way home, learning to play golf or being creative, having clear mental images are a real asset.

What is less widely known is the relationship between mental images, Dyslexia and ADHD. Dyslexics are usually good at mental images but do not always use them to support their learning- this is a skill those with good literacy do naturally.People with ADHD have too many images which is very distacting

Admission 6.45 pm
At: Institute of Contemporary Music Performance 1A Dyne Road, London NW6 7XG (Close to Kilburn High Road – round the corner from Brondesbury Overground Station)

#Empoweringlearning   #Patoss   #Dyslexia

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Learn how to #jumpstart literacy and numeracy

no-problem-studying-dec15_colour_smallEmpowering Learning™ is all about understanding the learners’ experiences, what makes for successful learning and establishing where learning can go wrong. Jumpstarting Literacy and Numeracy™  is one of a suite of programmes offered under this concept. #jumpstartingliteracy.

The next #JumpstartingLiteracy and Numeracy™ training programme is on-line starting on March 1st, weekly for 6 weeks.  I am delighted to deliver this live on-line and for some modules Sara Haboubi, our master trainer in Ireland, will be joining us before flying to the United Arab emirates, to share Jumpstarting there.

Look here for more information:

Look here for dates:

#jumpstartingliteracy   #empoweringlearning

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Thanks to Patoss- Barnet & Enfield

Many thanks to Patoss – Barnet and Enfield. Patoss is the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties.   On Saturday 28th January I was invited to come and talk with this group.  It was really enjoyable and a great audience of about 50 teachers, Sencos and Patoss Assessors.

The content started off with some information about the recent initiative of Dept of Education, BDA, Dyslexia Action, Dyspraxia Foundation, Helen Arkell , MMU, Patoss. You can get more information here and a link through to these FREE on-line recordings and resources.  I spoke about how this connects really well with the work we do at Empowering Learning.

We then continued with topics from the #EmpoweringLearning #Jumpstartingliteracy and numeracy programme covering our strength based approach, neuroscience support, use of mental imagery, metacognition, etc and ended with a demonstration with someone from the audience. The talk was very well received and I look forward to working with many of the audience again.

On 22nd February I will bstrengthssmalle speaking at the Brent Patoss group, with a talk entitled “When mental imagery goes wrong with Dyslexia and ADHD”.  I do hope you can join us there. You can access some of the follow-up material here. 

#empoweringlearning  #jumpstartingliteracy #patoss-dyslexia





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Why do children reverse and transpose letters and words?

….because they can!

p140_letter-animals_smallOur highly visual children have no difficulty seeing objects from different angles. For instance they can picture a dog facing left, facing riIn most fonts b, d, p and q are exactly the same shapes. from the right, from on top and from underneath; fliping it around in seconds, in their mind’s eye. This is an exceptional visual skill, that maybe completely out of their conscious awareness. Someone who is less creative may struggle to achieve this.

When it comes to letters and words they just do the same;  b,d,p and q are all identical shapes in most fonts so they are easy to flip around.The more stressed they get trying to sort out a word the faster the letters are likely to flip. With practice they can flip whole words like saw and saw, no and on, etc and even start flipping letters in the middle of a word, all with the intention of trying to understand what they are reading.   The interesting thing is that if you ask a child to write in capitals flipping will not happen; B, D, P and Q are quite different.  So it is not that they don’t understand which letter to write it is that they have not got a still image in their mind’s eye to copy from.

The same thing can happen with numbers that get written backwards.

The Empowering Learning Jumpstartingliteracy and numeracy, can help you resolve this challenge is minutes.




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