Chairmans’ Report 2017

MDDA Chair of Committee Report 2016/17

The Association saw a change of Chair. Susanne Harris stepped down at the AGM in 2016, after consistently providing unstinting guardianship and guidance for the MDDA for many years. Susanne continues to be the Helpline manager and a key committee member, providing needed on-going support and advice for those seeking information locally.

Gina Cooke and Sue Kinsler have replaced Susanne as joint-chairs of the Association.

Sue Kinsler and Gina Cooke would like to thank Susanne for her work as Chair over the past years; also for the hours of hard work she puts into running the helpline.

Thanks also to Gill Wallis for her continuing work in maintaining our resources and Krista Hinks  for her meticulous work as treasurer.

Myles Pilling was our speaker at the AGM in 2016 and offered a wealth of information and suggestions on how to use ICT to support learning; many ideas being particularly suitable for dyslexic students.

The Association was able to run a lecture continuing the series of events ‘Surviving School’ by Lesley Burnett in May, which was attended by parents, pupils and teachers. Lesley updated the audience about the key aspects impacting self-esteem and thus motivation for learners with dyslexia and literacy difficulties. She went on to discuss ways to support self-esteem in schools and at home. Feedback from the event described Lesley’s talk as helpful and thought provoking.

Gill Wallis has continued to offer drop-in sessions on Saturday mornings between 10am and 12, for anyone seeking advice regarding dyslexia or literacy difficulties, or indeed anyone seeking resources to support a learner’s literacy needs. Gill will, as the Library Resource Manager for the MDDA, be looking after the book section in the library the evening 28th Nov for any visitors wishing to discuss the literature we have available to lend.

Raising awareness of dyslexia and the MDDA is a key focus of the Association, so it was good to be able to have a presence on the High Street in Marlborough at the beginning of October, coinciding with Marlborough Literature Festival.  Bookmarks showing the MDDA logo and information were handed out to passing shoppers, many of whom stopped to discuss their grandchildren’s or other family member’s reading difficulties.  Discussion were had with the White Horse Bookshop for some form of MDDA marketing or event during the 2018 Marlborough Literary Festival. The Library formed part of this awareness campaign, hence the venue for the drop in meeting and AGM on the evening 28th.

The Association has continued to work closely with Wiltshire Groups (Wiltshire SENSS, the Wiltshire branch of the British Dyslexia Association and Wiltshire Parent Carers Council), which has resulted in joint events across the Borough. Susanne Harris has been the key contact from the MDDA working in this key dyslexia focused Wiltshire wide group.

The MDDA had a stand again at the Swindon Dyslexia Service conference in June, which had approximately 60 delegates and was focused on dyscalculia and maths difficulties for those with SpLDs.

The AGM meeting is part of the annual legal requirements of a charity to re-instate the committee and to sign-off last year’s AGM minutes as a true representation of the facts. More interestingly, the MDDA is revealing the treasure-trove of games and resources, available to lend to parents, teachers and teaching support staff, all at no charge. Everybody, especially schools are feeling the pinch because of budgetary cuts, hence the need to search out ways of supporting children with literacy issues, with the minimum expenditure. We hope visitors can find resources, be they games or books, to support children’s needs and have the chance to speak to specialist teachers from the MDDA in the room on the 28th November.

Plans for the future:

The MDDA will continue to offer a Helpline and Library drop in sessions in the coming year.

The MDDA plans to work and support financially, along with the Wilts BDA,  Wilts SENSS in delivering  whole day training for  dyslexia/Spld awareness events in the coming year. One to held potentially in March 2018 in Chippenham and one in Pewsey in October 2018. Various venues and dates are being explored.

The Association plans to continue to work with the Wiltshire Groups to support any events in the Borough.

The Association plans to continue to support local primary schools in raising awareness of dyslexia and advising on how to support learners in school and at home.

Sue Kinsler and Gina Cooke

Helpline Report 2016/17

There have been 54 new requests for help this year to the Helpline, via the mobile number of the webmail on our website.

Although this number is down on last year many of the cases have been more complex and therefore taken up more time.

We continue to receive requests for diagnostic assessments and for recommendations for specialist teachers and specific subject tutors.

A great deal of time is spent supporting specific cases some of which involve other agencies too.

Susanne Harris