Sarah Matthews (MDG) is a member of the Dyslexia Guild, and has been since 2016. Sarah is a Specialist Teacher Assessor with a Dyslexia Action Professional Certificate in Assessment Practice for Dyslexia and Literacy. As we are celebrating 50 years of Dyslexia Action, we wanted to interview Sarah about our organisation and our courses.
We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dyslexia Action this year, and would like to explore the relationship you have with the organisation. Can we ask what you see as your relationship with us?
I’ve been a member since I studied for my Level 7 specialist teaching through Dyslexia Action. I think I got a discount when the course ended and I became a specialist teacher. I thought it would be useful to also be a member of the Dyslexia Guild too. It is a great benefit to be able to borrow resources from the library to access the forums, so it was great just to have an organisation behind me supporting me and my career when I embarked on my Level 7 assessor course. The library enables you to borrow the assessments for free. So it’s just been really useful. I work supporting university students with their studies as a tutor. I wouldn’t have the job without being a member!
What is it about Dyslexia Action that makes you value us?
I’ve studied with Dyslexia Action, and I haven’t used anybody else. I am familiar with it. It is professional and organised. The people who work within Dyslexia Action get back to me really quickly and they seem friendly and approachable. It is a well-recognised organisation and it just suits me brilliantly.
What would you say are the strengths of our courses?
There are many strengths of the courses. Moodle is great – this is where you go to access all the information. They are really good at not overwhelming you to start with, they will release aspects at certain times. Embarking on a Level 7 course was at first quite daunting, but they supported me throughout the whole thing by not overwhelming me. Releasing content when we were ready and also going through sections together. There were deadlines and a manual for each course, tutors were friendly and approachable. It’s really valuable.
Which of the Dyslexia Guild benefits do you think makes us stand out from other membership bodies?
I have not even looked to other membership bodies because they haven’t been needed. Dyslexia Action therefore gives you everything. I think I would get a bit too confused and overwhelmed if I was a member of lots of different organisations, especially if I’m already working in a school. I just wanted to keep it simple, so that you can go to one place for everything – and the Dyslexia Guild serves that purpose. With the history of 50 years, there is clearly a lot of history backing this up as well. It is a well-rounded company and I’ve learnt a lot about dyslexia.
What would you like to say about Dyslexia Action and our 50-year history?
Dyslexia Action has grown from strength to strength. I think it is great, it just needs to build on its greatness. It’s important to support people that have dyslexia. And we need to know where to go for professional help as we don’t always know everything. It is comforting to know there are organisations that piece it all together. We also need reliable and up to date information, and I think Dyslexia Action provides that.
Would you recommend others to book courses with Dyslexia Action or to join The Dyslexia Guild?
Yes, I have friends of mine who are colleagues, and they have undertaken courses with Dyslexia Action. I was supposed to do a course for each sector, but didn’t end up needing to as my colleague had already done one. And then my two other colleagues who were with another organisation to do their level 5, then decided to do their level 7 assessor course with Dyslexia Action as they said the difference was amazing. It was so professional. The process of APC renewal is way more straightforward. They value what you’ve done and the process is quicker. I would definitely recommend it 100%.
Is there anything we could do better or developments you would like to see for the future?
You have to read through lots of different forums. It would be nice to look up keywords for example, and then the information could come up specifically for what you’re looking at. Sometimes with limited time and deadlines, it’s good to be able to quickly access what you need.