Art  Child-Adolescent Psychotherapy  Education

Deborah Shaer​: artist & Arts Therapist 

Although dyslexia seems to be more prevalent amongst males than females, the exact ratio is unknown: the most commonly quoted figures are between 3:1 and 5:1. The evidence suggests that in at least two-thirds of cases, dyslexia has a genetic cause, but in some cases birth difficulties may play an aetiological role. The majority of experts concur that about 4% of the population are affected to a significant extent. This figure is based on the incidence of pupils who have received normal schooling and who do not have significant emotional, social or medical aetiology, but whose literacy development by the end of the primary school is more than 2 years behind levels which would be expected on the basis of chronological age and intelligence. However, perhaps as many as a further 6% of the population may be more mildly affected (e.g. in spelling).

​​​​The neurological bases of dyslexia are now well established and reflected in current definitions of the condition. For example, the International Dyslexia Association (formerly the Orton Dyslexia Society) published the following definition of dyslexia:

"Dyslexia is a neurologically-based, often familial disorder which interferes with the acquisition of language. Varying in degrees of severity, it is manifested by difficulties in receptive and expressive language, including phonological processing, in reading, writing, spelling, handwriting and sometimes arithmetic. Dyslexia is not the result of lack of motivation, sensory impairment, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities, but may occur together with these conditions. Although dyslexia is life-long, individuals with dyslexia frequently respond successfully to timely and appropriate intervention" (Orton Dyslexia Society, 1994).

The Research Committee of the International Dyslexia Association also produced the following definition of dyslexia, couched in more scientific terminology:

“Dyslexia is one of several distinct learning disabilities. It is a specific language-based disorder of constitutional origin characterised by difficulties in single-word decoding, usually reflecting insufficient phonological processing abilities. These difficulties in single word decoding are often unexpected in relation to age and other cognitive and academic abilities: they are not the result of generalised developmental disability or sensory impairment. Dyslexia is manifest by variable difficulty with different forms of language, often including, in addition to problems of reading, a conspicuous problem with acquiring proficiency in writing and spelling.” (Orton Dyslexia Society, 1994)

​To download the complete fact sheet of this thirteen page research paper click on the link below:

Deborah Shaer, 15 April, 2016 London

​“It is of the essence of attention that is selective.  We can focus on something in our field of vision, but never on everything. All attention must take place against a background of inattention.  To see at all, we must isolate and select.”


​Ernst Gombrich, Visual Discoveries Through Art 


The Inspiration software provides different styles of Mindmaps and this is where visual learners can also create their colour coded preferences. Another useful feature in this software is that a completed Mindmap can be transfered to word processor but still retaining the original Mindmap. So all text from the Mindmap is formatted into logical sequence, such as headings and content in bullet point layout underneath. 

​​​Studying with Dyslexia, Janet Godwin

Brilliant Writing Tips for Students, Julia Coups
Doing Research, Gary Thomas
Getting Critical, Kate Williams

Copyright Deborah Shaer 2016. All Rights Reserved

The Olympus Sonority digital recorder comes with computer software for transferring the recordings onto a computer, editing features and organising digital files.

Pocket book series

​Zotero: Referencing Software Tool

This is a free download with plenty of instructions. Zotero has a multi-purpose function including features to

  • Copy and paste content for active study
  • Create referencing links
  • Organising workable structures, folders,      resources, highlighting text from notes

This software is an exceptionally effective tool for proof reading. There is a choice of preferred voices and gender. By highlighting text in a colour of choice, the voice speaks in synch. When listening to this voice it becomes obvious when a word is missing or incorrect. Then clicking on pause the document can be edited. 

​When I hear a pupil articulate his or her thoughts succinctly, elegantly and with outstanding insight, in 99.9% of my cases I have discovered that their English grades are below average. My suggestion to the parents and the Head of SENCO is to provide access to a digital recorder for the young person to voice their thoughts and type up from the playback. Most often these pupils have been undergone a detailed assessment and diagnosed with dyslexia. As dyslexia is unique to each individual, specific support is outlined by the clinician. For example, slow auditory processing, or optimal colours for greater distinctions between the background and text or images.


Introduction: what is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is typically characterised by ‘an unusual balance of skills’. Dyslexia is a syndrome: a collection of associated characteristics that vary in degree and from person to person. These characteristics encompass not only distinctive clusters of problems but sometimes also distinctive talents. The syndrome of dyslexia is now widely recognised as being a specific learning disability of neurological origin that does not imply low intelligence or poor educational potential, and which is independent of race and social background. Dyslexia may overlap with related conditions such as dyspraxia, attention deficit disorder (with or without hyperactivity) and dysphasia. In childhood, its effects can be mis-attributed to emotional or behavioural disorder. By adulthood, many dyslexics will have developed sophisticated compensating strategies that may mask their difficulties.

Read&Write Gold Audio Software 

Digital Voice Recorder 

Inspiration 9 - Mindmap software​​


I recommend the following tools for dyslexia, based on my personal experimentation and professional experience in working with young people, initially as an ESOL teacher and subsequently as an integrative psychotherapeutic counsellor in secondary schools.

Fact Sheet 19 Copyright © 2006 Lucid Research Ltd F19 v02.3 Apr 06