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So far Helen Mortimer has created 112 blog entries.

Come and see us at the Dyslexia Show 2024!

NEC, Birmingham

Friday 15 March to Saturday 16 March

Once again, we are delighted that the Helen Arkell team will be there at this national exhibition dedicated entirely to dyslexia.

The Dyslexia Show is open to all and focuses on awareness and understanding of dyslexia in education, parenting and the workplace.

The line-up

CEO Andy Cook will be a panellist in the Keynote Theatre at 10:15 on Friday alongside friends and colleagues from Patoss, British Dyslexia Association and Nasen. Book here.

Claire Harvey, Head of Education here at Helen Arkell, will be speaking at 11 on Friday, giving a talk entitled: Gaining reading accuracy and fluency: Why is it so tricky and what can we do to help? Book here.

Rachael McMullen, our Head of Dyslexia Support, and Thea Andrews, our Shop Assistant and Administrator, will be on our stand – Stand C302 – and looking forward to meeting people.

Do pop and see us if you are coming along!

For more details and to book your place, see the Dyslexia Show website.

By |2024-03-15T11:33:35+00:00March 4th, 2024|Homepage featured, Latest news|0 Comments

Book a Touch Typing course – Easter and Summer holiday dates

Our Touch Typing courses are aimed at children aged 6 to teens and get booked up quickly!

The course is held at our Centre in Farnham, Surrey and comprises three 90-minute sessions over three days:

  • during the Easter holiday from Monday 8 April to Wednesday 10 April
  • during Summer holiday from Monday 29 July to Wednesday 31 July

Book in age ranges to suit your child:

  • Age 6 to 11
  • Age 10 to teens
  • Mixed ages

Being able to type quickly and accurately can make all the difference in class – especially if hand writing is a struggle.

Book here.

By |2024-03-06T15:57:38+00:00March 4th, 2024|Course news, Homepage featured, Latest news|0 Comments

Neurodiversity workshops with expert Fintan O’Regan

Once again, we are are pleased to offer workshops with neurodiversity expert Fintan O’Regan. These will be useful to parents and teachers who have children with:

  • Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)
  • Learning, behaviour and socialisation difference


All the courses will be held at The Museum of Farnham, 38 West Street, Farnham – just a few doors down from our Centre.

About Fintan O’Regan

Fintan was the Head Teacher of the Centre Academy from 1996 -2002, which was the first specialist school in the UK for students between the ages of 7-19 specialising in issues related to ADHD, ASC, ODD and PDA.

He is an associate lecturer for Leicester University, Michigan University, the National Association of Special Needs, the Institute of Education, the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity and is a member of the council of CReSTeD and the Special Educational Needs Consortium.

He has written a number of books and published articles and works as a trainer and consultant both nationally and internationally with regard to supporting schools, children and families with SEND and behaviour issues.

Book today!

By |2024-03-06T15:57:51+00:00March 3rd, 2024|Course news, Latest news|0 Comments

Book our annual Golf Day now!

Join us at Worplesdon Golf Club for our annual golf day – a morning of golf followed by a delicious buffet lunch and raffle.

This is a wonderful opportunity to play this stunning course while raising money for those in need of dyslexia support. Worplesdon is one of the classic Surrey heathland courses, laid out in 1908 by J F Abercromby. Why not get a team together for a fun day out?

Please register here.

We look forward to seeing you at Worplesdon Golf Club on May 9th!

Dyscalculia Awareness Day 2024

With Dyscalculia Awareness Day just around the corner, we explain what dyscalculia and we look at helpful tips and tricks to support people who struggle with maths…

What is dyscalculia?

The SpLD Assessment Standards Committee (SASC) defines dyscalculia as:

‘Dyscalculia is a specific and persistent difficulty in understanding numbers which can lead to a diverse range of difficulties with mathematics. It will be unexpected in relation to age, level of education and experience and occurs across all ages and abilities. Mathematics difficulties are best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and they have many causal factors. Dyscalculia falls at one end of the spectrum and will be distinguishable from other maths issues due to the severity of difficulties with number sense, including subitising [perceiving a number of items in a group without counting them], symbolic and non-symbolic magnitude comparison, and ordering. It can occur singly but often co occurs with other specific learning difficulties, mathematics anxiety and medical conditions.’

Around one person in 20 has dyscalculia.

The Dyscalculia Network and Jane Emerson and Patricia Babtie in their book ‘Understanding Dyscalculia and Numeracy Difficulties’ states that indicators include:

  • Inability to subitize (recognise up to 4 or 5 counters without counting)
  • Counting errors
  • Miscounting objects
  • Lack of one-one correspondence
  • Sequencing errors
  • Inability to count backwards
  • Not understanding the count 70, 80, 90, 20, 21 / 48, 49, 51, 52
  • Calculation difficulties
  • Persistent counting in 1s
  • Cannot remember number facts
  • Uses unstructured dots or makes tally marks to do calculations
  • Difficulty with mental arithmetic
  • Cannot remember times tables facts
  • Misunderstanding of maths language
  • Errors writing numbers
  • Reversing digits
  • Not understanding zero as a place holder
  • Inaccurate estimations
  • Inability to recognise if an answer is reasonable
  • Weak reasoning e.g.. inability to see number relationships
  • Weak at making connections e.g. 4 + 4 = 8 therefore 14 + 4 = 18
  • Problems with money and time
  • Lack of place value understanding
  • Errors when completing formal calculations

Tips for maths difficulties:

    1. Use imagery: Link mathematical facts and equations to images to help build memory. For example, an octagon has eight sides like how an octopus has eight arms.
    2. Use mind mapping: For example, create a mind map with the word ‘circumference’ in the middle. You could draw initial arms on this mind map to help the person, the arms could be labelled ‘write an equation’, ‘draw it’, ‘define it’, ‘write a question involving it’ – this encourages the person to interact with the information in different ways whilst acting as a revision tool. For the ‘write a question involving it’ arm, this is a good chance to talk through language by discussing how the person could have made the question clearer and correct mathematical terminology to use, whilst of course celebrating anything they do well! Then, you as the person teaching could use the question that they wrote to demonstrate how to approach problems, which links to the next tip …
    3. Think aloud: When demonstrating how to answer a question, speak aloud every step of the process: reading, annotating the question, making notes from the question, trialling an approach, trying a different approach, reaching a final answer and finally checking. Watching somebody do the whole process really makes it clear to the person you are helping.
    4. Build confidence: When assessing the person, don’t only ask questions that push the person to the limits of their capability but also ones that you know that they can answer – no matter how easy! The person can then see that they have remembered some knowledge that they didn’t know before!

Dyscalculia and maths resources and books

We have many resources and books in our shop that can help teach maths and numeracy. These include:
dyscalculia products in the shop

Fraction segments

Tabletop number lines

Awesome Games and Activities for Kids with Numeracy Difficulties

GCSE Maths for Neurodivergent Learners

All About Dyscalculia 


Want to understand more? We were joined by Dyscalculia Network’s Rob Jennings for a Spotlight webinar on the subject. We offer dyscalculia top-up assessments, and we offer specialist maths tuition and maths Personalised Learning in the Easter and Summer holidays to children.

By |2024-03-01T11:04:23+00:00March 1st, 2024|Homepage featured, Latest news, Team blog|0 Comments

Buy personalised cards and support the charity!

Purchase a card for the icons in your life this Mother’s Day and help support Ryman’s mission to empower positive mindsets for those with Dyslexia. When you purchase a personalised card through the Ryman app you are helping to donate a minimum of £100,000 to the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity and the British Dyslexia Association over the next three years.

Download the new ‘Ryman’ app, search thousands of artists’ designs, and personalise your card. Order and collect in-store in 60 minutes from over 190 Ryman locations across the UK.

By |2024-02-29T11:28:55+00:00February 29th, 2024|Fundraising news, Homepage featured, Latest news|0 Comments

Why choose a Helen Arkell dyslexia assessment?

Why choose a Helen Arkell dyslexia assessment?

There are plenty of reasons to choose a dyslexia assessment from Helen Arkell:

• We have over 50 years of pioneering dyslexia experience.

• The assurance of the highest quality dyslexia assessment; we only employ highly qualified and experienced specialist assessors and educational psychologists. Everyone is required to take Continuing Professional Development courses and workshops to keep their skills up to date.

• Our team of assessors share their experience and knowledge. Each one is peer mentored and supported by Helen Arkell specialist staff.

• We have a variety of options for your dyslexia assessment; where appropriate, you can have an online assessment. If a face-to-face assessment is required, we offer these at a variety of locations across the south of England and the Midlands.

• We can see you quickly! For most assessments, you can be seen as soon as the paperwork is done.

• As well as dyslexia assessments, we offer top-up dyscalculia assessments for primary-age children and non-diagnostic Learning Literacy Assessments for children under eight.

• When we send you an assessment report for your child, we include a personal letter to your child from the assessor, explaining the outcome of the assessment in a way they will understand.

• Helen Arkell is a widely respected name in the world of dyslexia and education. Teachers have confidence in an assessment report’s findings and recommendations.

• You will benefit from a wide range of follow-up services including specialist tuition, parents’ and children’s courses and a range of books and learning resources to help with home study.

If you are unsure whether an assessment is needed for your child, book a specialist parent consultation to discuss the next steps. If you go on to book an assessment, the consultation fee will be deducted from the assessment fee.

We want everyone to be able to access dyslexia support. We offer bursary funding for our dyslexia assessments and some other services to low-income families. We also offer the option to pay for a dyslexia assessment in instalments.

By choosing Helen Arkell, you are helping us to support other children and adults with dyslexia.

Why choose a Helen Arkell Dyslexia Assessment

Make an enquiry button


By |2024-03-07T12:51:52+00:00February 28th, 2024|Homepage featured, Latest news, Team blog|0 Comments

Understanding problems with working memory

Children (and adults) with dyslexia can have trouble with their working memory. These are the short-term memories that we use when we are doing a task such as following instructions or adding two or three numbers together. This can affect performing a series of tasks such as getting dressed, making a sandwich and maths ability. It also affects reading; having figured out each sound in a word, remembering what those sounds to make the whole word can be tricky.

Here are some ways to help with working memory:

  • Explain what the end result of the task will be and why so that the child understands the outcome, eg you need to have warm clothes on to be ready for school.
  • Only give one or two instructions at a time, eg please put your socks on, then put your shoes on. In maths, this may mean giving only one part of a sum at a time.
  • Present the instructions in the order they are to be followed (so not ‘put your shoes and socks on’).
  • If necessary, repeat instructions and ask your child to tell you what they have understood.
  • If you can, and especially for a new task, show the child what you mean as well as say it.
  • Give them time to process and respond to these instructions, then carry them out, before offering further instructions, eg now get your coat from the hook and put it on.
Understanding that your child may have problems with their working memory and adjusting how you instruct them but also your expectations, will hopefully make life slightly less fraught – especially in the mornings!
By |2024-02-29T11:02:20+00:00February 26th, 2024|Latest news, Team blog|0 Comments

CEO’s blog – Our Patron HRH Princess Beatrice hosts a tea party

Our Patron HRH Princess Beatrice hosts a tea party

Wow, what a day we had on Wednesday!  This was the day when our Patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice, hosted a tea party at St James’s Palace for 30 of the closest supporters of Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity.

Our mouths dropped open when we saw the Queen Anne State Room, where this intimate gathering was to take place. The sense of occasion and of history, was overwhelming. We just felt so lucky to be there!

Princess Beatrice opened proceedings by talking about her long association with Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity, initially having received help from the charity before then joining officially as Patron. She spoke openly about her own personal experience of dyslexia, and her determination to ‘change the narrative’ so that people with dyslexia are appreciated for all the many attributes they bring to the table.

In addition to having our Patron present, we were also thrilled to be joined by our Vice Patron, Susan Hampshire CBE, whilst also announcing the news that Roger Jefcoate CBE has joined us as Vice Patron too. The event was all the more poignant because our founder Helen was with us in spirit, through the presence of two generations of her family, including son ‘PJ’ and grandson Peter, who continue to be closely involved.

Our next speaker, Jemima, gave an emotional account of her own personal journey with dyslexia, and the part that Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity has played along the way. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Jemima spoke emotionally of all the support she has received from her number one fan, her Mum, who has absolutely believed in her unique abilities every step of the way. The fact Jemima is in the last few weeks of training before she runs the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon for Helen Arkell is just the icing on the cake!

Princess Beatrice made a beeline for Jemima after she’d spoken, to congratulate her and wish her luck. She also circulated through the whole room, taking time to speak with all our guests and hear about their various different connections with this special charity. She heard how Lynn and Christopher from the Aegis Trust had flown in from Switzerland to join our gathering, and how their foundation have particularly supported the charity’s mission to provide bursary-funded help to disadvantaged families from lower-income backgrounds, as well as training teachers. Her Royal Highness also met David, from the Constable Education Trust, who provided bursary funding for low-income families to receive the help they need, and also sponsored two years of rent for the charity’s premises, where lots of the support of children and adults with dyslexia takes place.

Princess Beatrice then met Theo Paphitis, who has set up a Dyslexia Bursary from which training is provided to State School teachers across the UK, delivered by the Helen Arkell team of experts. She wished Theo well when she learned that he’s boosting donations to the Charity by personally challenging himself to do the cross-Pennines walk in May. She also met many others in the room who are likewise putting their bodies on the line by undertaking challenge events for the charity, or who have signed up to be members of the Friends of Helen Arkell club.

As she was about to say her goodbyes, she stopped for a chat with our brilliant volunteers Vickie and Linda, whose contribution involves anything and everything to support the charity, from stuffing envelopes to serving teas and coffees at the charity’s events. This time, however, the roles were reversed and Vickie and Linda were waited on hand and foot alongside all our other guests.

The two hours of the tea party flew by, and then it was time to make our way back through the impressive corridors of St James’s Palace, out through the ancient gates, and capture some last selfies outside before heading home. This event will live in the memories of the Helen Arkell community for a very long time, and reinforces our determination that, between all of us in a big team effort, we will not only help more and more people with dyslexia across the UK in the coming years, but in particular we will help more and more who are from disadvantaged communities and would not otherwise receive the support they need.

Onwards and upwards!


By |2024-02-29T13:58:59+00:00February 19th, 2024|CEO blog, Fundraising news, Latest news|0 Comments

Research into Augmented Reality for teaching reading

Martyn is a lecturer and Ph.D. student at the University of Greenwich, working within the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences with a focus on Video Games Development. He is currently researching reading and phonics and have developed an augmented reality application designed for phonics instruction. He is reaching out to schools in the hope of gaining expert opinions from teachers and additional learner support professionals regarding the application and its potential applications in teaching phonics.

Are you an education professional who can help with this study? Do you have experience using classroom-based tools and techniques for phonics instruction?

What does the research involve?

  • If you decide to participate in this research, you will be provided with a link to install an app. You will also be provided an associated booklet. You will use the app and consider how the app might function as phonics teaching tool. You can use the app as much, or as little as you like. There is no charge for the app or booklet, and you can keep booklet and app after the study.  The app does not store or collect any personal data.
  • As a participant, you will be invited to join a series of interviews and/or focus groups. Attendance at all sessions is not mandatory; you can participate in the discussions either online or in person. The in-person focus groups will be held at the University of Greenwich, and each session will last no longer than one hour.
  • At this stage, no children are involved.

You can access the Participant Information Sheet here

You can find out more about the app and the study here

You can contact Martyn and join the study by emailing him at m.p.broadhead@greenwich.ac.uk


By |2024-02-02T14:17:54+00:00February 2nd, 2024|Homepage featured, Latest news, Research news|0 Comments


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