David Bailey works with adults in his role as tutor with an adult education service in the north of England. He is a dyslexia specialist but also supports students learning English as an additional language. He first heard about Dyslexia Action in 2002. “I was working for Oldham Youth Service with young people who were not attending school for various reasons,” he explains. “And while most would make good progress once they caught up on the learning they’d missed, there were some who continued to struggle.
You’d see very articulate students whose written work just didn’t reflect their verbal skills, and I knew something was wrong.”
David knew a little about dyslexia, but it was not until he read Dyslexia Review, while studying for a Postgraduate Diploma at Manchester Metropolitan University, that he began to understand the complexities of the condition. “I picked up all sorts of useful information about how to work with young adults with dyslexia, which helped me so much with my work,” he says.“It is a very accessible publication and I often use articles as resources when I’m doing staff training.”
He went on to join as Associate (ADG) of The Dyslexia Guild and is still an active member. “Being the only dyslexia professional in a small local authority service, you can sometimes feel a little isolated,” he says. “But I can always go to the Guild if I need advice or support.” He is a regular contributor to the online discussion forums and really enjoys attending the annual conferences. “Having that face-to-face contact is really stimulating,” he explains. “I always come away with something new to try out in my own practice.”
The Dyslexia Guild library has also proved an invaluable resource. “Tests used in dyslexia assessments are expensive, especially for a smaller service, like mine,” David explains. “We haven’t got the resources to buy all assessments we need, so being able to borrow resources from the members’ library is very helpful.”
David now works as a tutor for Dyslexia Action online training courses. Looking back, he believes that although attitudes toward dyslexia have improved, the modern world presents new challenges and barriers. “The combination of text and sequencing demanded by many online systems can be problematic for learners with dyslexia and we need to teach strategies to cope with that, as well as traditional print-focused approaches,” he advises.
“The Dyslexia Guild combines the benefits of being an established organisation with being up to date in its ideas,” he says. “For me, it’s a community, rather than just an organisation.”
Interview by Annie Grant, 2019.
To join as an Associate (ADG) member of The Dyslexia Guild please click here
Please note: Anyone can join The Dyslexia Guild and our network of professionals, to have designatory letters after your name you are required to have a certain level/type of SpLD qualification. The Associate (ADG) level of membership is awarded to those who have completed a level 5 or level 7 qualification in dyslexia or SpLD.