About Me

 

I currently run a Dyslexia Support Service in a region of Scotland with 36 primary and 6 secondary schools, working mainly with staff rather than students. I have worked in all sectors of education, from Nursery to Higher Education, in England and Scotland; starting off as a History teacher, moving to primary class teaching and then to Support for Learning. Latterly I was a CPD Officer teaching the Post Graduate Certificate in Dyslexia through Edinburgh University and short courses on teaching able pupils and thinking skills.

In 2002 I took a 3 year secondment as a professional adviser to the Scottish Executive. There I helped develop policies particularly around the use of technology to enhance young people’s learning. I also worked on the government’s response to the National Debate and on embedding the National Priorities.

I am a Glow mentor and fully committed to, and excited by, the use of digital technologies to support learning. I became a Mistress (!) of Philosophy in 2004 and a Chartered Teacher in 2006.
Most of my own learning comes from working and living with young people although I study formally too.

I’m peeved by parents who dismiss those of us working in the public sector and who question our ability to identify and support learners with dyslexia. So here are my formal qualifications: BA (Hons), PGCE (Secondary), PGCE (Primary), PG Dip SEN, PG Dip Dyslexia, M.Phil. M.Teach, AMBDA.

Here is part of my kitchen: (the card at the bottom reads: ‘Mum, we will do the washing up, your children’. The response – in Scots – ‘Aye, Right!’)

cards2

And some bumper stickers that speak to my condition:
wall

I haven’t taken a picture of the fridge magnet that says ‘ Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity’. But it’s there.

25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bram Gieben
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 14:21:24

    I loved your account of the visit to a computer shop. It seemed as if you were adrift that afternoon, waiting for something interesting to happen to you. It is no surprise that those men appeared at your elbow as you were examining the lap top. A woman contemplating a computer, as Jane Austen might have said, is evidently in need of assistance from a man. And think how exciting it must be, for men more at ease with computers than with the opposite sex, to find a woman who can use a word like desire when describing an Asus EEE.

    Reply

  2. Hilery Williams
    Jun 04, 2009 @ 13:23:30

    Yes, I did sound a bit sad!
    However, literary references are even more interesting to me than technological ones!

    Reply

  3. Henry Muchamore
    Jun 05, 2009 @ 10:37:38

    Hi Hilery, I have never responded to a web site before, such is both my fear and incompetence of our new technology in communication. E-mails are fine but limited as they only go to those I know, or desire to communicate with. However reading some of your articles makes me feel I would like to expand, but would need someone with a bit of patience to strart me off.
    I so agree with your comment of being story tellers, Tousitalla (The teller of tales) was the name the Samoans gave to RLS when he was living, and dying there. I was so moved when I visited his last home, and also walk up the mountain to see his grave. My father was a great ‘storyteller’ and sent us to sleep with so many magical tales of adventure and romance. That along with his monologues, and my mother’s poetry and love of Burns, has been a source of comfort and inspiration all my life. I find it sad that children today have almost lost this.
    You are doing a great job. Speak soon. Hx

    Reply

  4. sheila mcluckie
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 19:11:04

    Hi Hilery. Was browsing looking for the J. to Excellence site and saw your name? How are you getting on? Lat I heard you were with Scott exec but looks like you’ve moved on . I iamgine Thea has left school by now . How is she and the boys. Sees a longtime since we swam on Fridays at the Coolege. Andrew and Suzi got married in the Ferry in May and then had reception in a barn near\St\Andrew’s . Jow retired as well in May and is relishing his new boat and all his other interests. Hope all gows well with you and yours ,
    Sheila

    Reply

  5. Hilery Williams
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 19:18:18

    Sheila
    Good to hear from you. You’re still working I see.
    Yes, it’s all change for us. Boys are good: S is still squatting and making art; L in the final throes of editing his novel for which he received a huge advance; T at university down south and loving it.
    Get in touch: hileryjane@yahoo.co.uk – it would be good to catch up.
    x

    Reply

  6. Fred Meek
    Nov 10, 2009 @ 04:27:01

    Thank you for this wonderful blog! Please share this with our community at http://thepowerofdyslexia.com I was inspired to create this after receiving such great feedback for a video I posted on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_qGJ9svUbM

    Thank you
    -Fred

    Reply

  7. Mags
    Dec 29, 2009 @ 20:59:55

    I wonder if you would be able to tell the teachers that you help through your Dyslexia Support Service about my website helpingdyslexia.co.uk

    I have an RSA Diploma in SpLD & I am a member of Bexley PATOSS

    My husband bought me a website for my birthday! He knew that I wanted to share my resources with others now that I have retired.
    The resources would also be helpful for any pupil experiencing difficulty with reading and writing who would benefit from the small progressive steps. [e.g. Children with general learning difficulties]
    Teachers in mainstream primary schools would also find most of the resources very useful for phonic work and the teaching of sight words in the classroom. Many could be used during group reading activities and some for classroom display.
    There are example pages from the CD on my website.

    Secondary/Young Adult Resources
    I have just finished adapting the resources to be more suitable for older pupils after requests from teachers at secondary schools, young offender groups & special needs colleges. I have also sent CDs to trainee teachers. I can send examples of these adapted resources if you email me.

    Reply

  8. Using digital technologies to help learners with dyslexia: Speak up for Scottish Education : Don Ledingham’s Learning Log
    Feb 24, 2010 @ 23:05:33

  9. jacquifrances
    Feb 26, 2010 @ 17:02:16

    Hi Hilery,
    I have just had a quick look at your site and I am very impressed! I am a Dyslexia Specialist with a PG SpLD (OCR), formerly a primary teacher, but withe teaching experience of all age groups inclduing adults. I am experienced at dyslexia assessments.
    I am trying to set up a website, but finding it very difficult and have not got very far!! I don’t think I will ever be able to get a site as good as this one!! Any tips??!!
    Thanks and best wishes,
    Jacqui Frances

    Reply

  10. Hilery Williams
    Mar 02, 2010 @ 20:03:44

    Hi Jacqui
    Thank you for your kind comments.
    Just go for it. I’ve been doing this blog for about 18 months and have grown in confidence.
    I, like you, have a lot of experience and am always pleasantly surprised when others are interested. But more importantly I’m learning all the time from colleagues online.
    Have a look at this for some tips: http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/blogging_part_2.htm
    Keep in touch! Best wishes

    Reply

  11. Jane Carroll
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 10:32:17

    Hi Hilary,

    I noted on another blog that you asked a question about speech to text program. I could not see if you got an answer from the blogger. Have tried with no success Dragon for a child with sever dyslexia.
    any other suggestions?
    many thanks
    jane

    Reply

    • Hilery Williams
      Aug 03, 2010 @ 10:28:34

      Hi there
      I have yet to see any very strong evidence to support the use of speech to text software that isn’t anecdotal. There are certainly people who rate Dragon highly but I know of no widespread successful application for primary age children.
      Arran Smith, the Membership and Project Officer of the British Dyslexia Association (http://bdadyslexia.wordpress.com/) thinks the new dictation app (DragonDictate) for the iPhone ‘will be brilliant for dyslexics. To get DragonDictate for the iPhone All you need to do is download from the app store on your iPhone / itouch / iPad. … It’s not the best yet, but it works well for small dictation. It means that now dyslexics can text without typing, send e-mails on the iPhone, and connect it to twitter and Facebook. All you do is tap to dictate and start talking’.
      The promised nirvana – due this Christmas – of speech to text software on mobile handsets in addition to Apple’s – is unlikely to solve the problem of immature voices subject to change as they develop, accents and requisite intensive training for those too young or unmotivated to put in the hours.
      Hope this helps.
      Best wishes

      Reply

  12. Maurice Bond
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 17:55:48

    Hilery
    Never got to thank you for help with Masters- got it with strong recommendation of publication. you would have liked the final chapter-on how to apply all that philosophy to teaching in a multicultural classroom. May get round to publishing-may not. For this dyslexic it was enough to know i could in”that place” Thank you again

    Reply

    • Hilery Williams
      Sep 14, 2010 @ 02:51:24

      Good news. What an achievement! I’d love to read the final version.

      Reply

  13. Hilary McColl
    Dec 14, 2010 @ 16:12:41

    Hilery, you have a send visitors to my website about Modern Languages and Inclusion via a link this page of your website: http://hileryjane.wordpress.com/category/organisational-skills/
    My site has now shifted to another domain, so it would be useful if you could change the link? The new URL is
    If you want visitors to go directly to the page on MFL and dyslexia, add to the domain name.

    Reply

  14. Margaret Rennie
    Dec 30, 2010 @ 09:58:41

    Hi Hilery,

    I am quite new to the world of blogs etc and am trying to find information on how to help my eldest child who has been diagnosed with dyslexia. We are approaching secondary school and I am starting to feel concerned about her progress! Can you give me any tips, pointers, ways to help and so on, I would be very grateful.

    Best wishes,
    Margaret

    Reply

    • Hilery Williams
      Jan 11, 2011 @ 09:03:53

      Hi Margaret
      Sorry for the delay in replying: holidays intervened.
      I would suggest that you work with your daughter’s primary school to examine her individual learning needs both for now, for transition and for her first experiences at secondary school. You and her teachers – and her of couse – know these needs best and together you should be able to devise a realistic and supportive programme.
      I know this is not always as easy as it sounds, but now is a good time to start the process if it has not begun already.
      The single most important thing parents can do, in my experience, is instil confidence: the confidence to tell others about her achievements both in and out of school; to explain how and why she struggles in certain areas; to suggest strategies that have helped in the past and to ask for help where necessary. Again, this is a tall order but the teachers’ job is to enable youngsters to learn and if they understand an individual’s strengths and difficulties they are more likely to get it right.
      Best of luck.

      Reply

  15. Dianne Greig
    Jan 20, 2011 @ 07:54:38

    Dear Hilery – I wonder if it would be at all possible to have a quick conversation at some point convenient to yourself. I would like some advice that relates to children with additional support needs from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.
    With thanks in advance
    Dianne Greig

    Reply

    • Hilery Williams
      Jan 20, 2011 @ 12:32:24

      Hi Dianne
      I’ll email you.

      Reply

  16. Bryony O'Brien
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 15:24:53

    Hi Hilery,

    Thank you for your feedback on The Land of Me

    Yes, the older children certainly enjoy playing on the Land of Me as much as the younger children.

    The Land of Me enables teaching and learning not only for children of a wide range of ages but the activities can be differentiated to meet a wide range of learning needs.
    There are no right or wrong answers so children can explore simple or more complex concepts without fear of failure.

    The use of symbols really supports children with literacy needs. There are lots of activities you can do with the text box that will support language development. The flexible yet structured process that the children follow allows them to make all sorts of choices. The immediate feedback received encourages children to continue to want to explore and learn.

    Do have a look at the Learning with Me blog: Language Development. Cuckmere House Special School did some fantastic work on language development.

    If you try The Land of Me in school with children with literacy needs we would love to know how you get on.

    Thanks

    Bryony

    Reply

    • Hilery Williams
      Mar 22, 2011 @ 15:28:48

      This is really interesting.
      I shall try to wrest the programme from the granddaughter and use it with some children in schools.
      I’ll keep you up-dated.
      Best wishes

      Reply

      • Bryony O'Brien
        Mar 22, 2011 @ 17:00:21

        Fantastic, thanks!
        I will really look forward to hearing how you get on.
        Best wishes
        Bryony

  17. Adrian
    Mar 31, 2011 @ 10:39:21

    Hi Hilery! Thanks for your words regarding my blog! That´s so nice to hear people like what I am writing!! How did you find it? I love Edinburgh and I find the city so inspiring, that is why I decided to create a blog about my experiences here. At the moment I am working as a Spanish teacher and I thought it would be a good idea write the entries in both languages, Spanish and English so I hope this helps to improve your Spanish!
    Regards,
    Adrian
    I´ve found your blog very interesting too!!

    Reply

  18. Aisha
    May 10, 2012 @ 20:17:19

    Hellow Hillary my name is Aisha I am basicly an Occupational Therapist my first language is Arabic, I am working now in an International schoole as a learning support teacher of English for grade one and two students, I am very keen to learn more about dyslexia, I do apply the dyslexia strategies in my classes, and I am very keen to learn more about dyslexia and to have training to use the CoPS test? even I have read that it can be applied for children whom English is not thier first language but as an expert do u agree with this???
    actually I have never seen the test and how it can be applied or how results can be enterpreted…. I am just doing my search and reading about it from the internet…. will you plz help me??
    and I will be grateful if you give anyother advices about working with children with dyslexia.

    Reply

    • Hilery Williams
      May 15, 2012 @ 04:43:03

      Hallo Aisha
      Thank you for your comment.
      The CoPS test would not be valid for a non-English speaker I think. There are 8 tests altogether. The 4 relating to visual processing may be more appropriate than the 4 relating to auditory processing. However, even the former require understanding instructions. If you try to translate for a child, especially one between 4 and 8 years old, there will inevitably be confusion. Then the test will be unreliable.
      You may wish to contact the people at Lucid research to see if they know of any such use.
      I have used CoPS (and LASS) extensively but had no formal training. However, I have had many years of assessing learners for dyslexia with many other instruments. The handbook is dense but very informative. It would also be helpful to identify someone with whom you could discuss your findings: assessing for dyslexia is a subjective as well as summative process and colleagues will have their own interpretations which could add to your own understanding.
      Needless to say, no test stands alone and you need as much information about the child and the learning environment as you can gather. The most important information can be accrued from the child, her parents and the classroom performance.
      Best of luck

      Reply

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