The Dyslexia Institute (DI) is an educational charity, founded in 1972, for the assessment and teaching of people with dyslexia and for the training of teachers.  It has grown to become the only national dyslexia teaching organisation in the world.

The DI is dependent upon fees from assessments, tuition and training courses, and income from the sale of publications, fundraising and the generosity of benefactors.  During recent years it has received support from the DfES and the Teacher Training Agency.

The DI employs over 250 specialist teachers, its own chartered psychologists, speech and language therapists, and support staff.  Some 70 educational psychologists work with the D I on a consultancy basis.

In 2003/4 the DI provided psychological assessments for over 9,000 children and adults; taught nearly 3,000 children and adults, and trained over 200 teachers on its postgraduate courses.


Our mission is to ensure that all individuals with dyslexia are identified and educated to allow them to be successful by:

  •  providing accurate assessment and the most appropriate teaching
  •  working to influence and improve the practice of mainstream educational services for children and adults with dyslexia, through specialist teacher training, the development of high quality teaching tools, the evaluation of teaching methods to achieve better practice, and by improving awareness and understanding of dyslexia


The DI has three main roles: assessment, teaching and teacher training.  It also produces its own publications and teaching materials and undertakes a continuous research programme.


The aim of the Assessment Service is to identify the abilities and difficulties in learning which the individual student experiences.

Tests used include a measure of underlying general ability, measures of attainment including reading, writing, spelling and number, and diagnostic tests to assess such areas as phonological (sound) skills and working memory.

The Institute’s psychologists and specialist teachers also prepare concession certificates for examinations when they are appropriate.  Some psychologists have expertise with adults and give specific guidance on careers; others are experienced in supporting parents in appeal cases against Statements of Special Educational Need; a number have particular expertise with very young children.  We operate a rigorous quality control system throughout the psychology service and hold regular one-day conferences to enhance the skills of our psychologists.

For those clients not requiring a full assessment by a psychologist the DI offers assessments by teachers with specialised training in highlighting learning difficulties and planning appropriate remedial programmes.

A free post-assessment consultation is offered following assessment with the DI.

DI teaching is highly structured, with progress made in small steps, building on what has gone before.  It is multisensory in that it uses as many channels as possible to promote memory, with the stronger senses supporting the weaker ones.

Reinforcement work, timed activities and practice lead to automatic responses and success, which builds up the student’s confidence.


DI teaching uses a phonic approach that helps the student to understand the logical structure of written language.  Beginning with basic sound-symbol links for reading, writing and spelling, the pupil moves on to word-building, at first using a very small range of letters, and gradually increasing the repertoire.  Soon s/he can read sentences and larger pieces of writing containing the letters covered, and work on reading comprehension.

S/he will learn to work out how to spell words from the sounds and from the spelling rules.  Computers will usually form an integral part of the lesson and, gradually, study skills, or aids to effective learning, will be introduced.

Usually Institute pupils are taught on their own individual programme but at the same time as one or two other pupils.  These are known as ‘Duo’ and ‘Trio’ lessons.  We find that a tiny minority of pupils may need a lesson by themselves when they start with us, but emotionally and socially the majority benefit from having another pupil present.  It is our aim to create independent learners.

Students may follow the Dyslexia Institute Literacy Programme and/or work on the Units of Sound Multimedia programme.  Both of these programmes have been used with great success for many years.

A large number of dyslexic students have difficulties with number although some may ultimately be good mathematicians.  Our teaching staff work with them to fill gaps and to teach them strategies for learning.  They give particular help with memory-loaded exercises such as multiplication tables and the language of Maths.  The DI Mathematics Programme has been developed to meet the specific needs of pupils.

Dyslexia Institute lessons are taught in school or in our own premises.  Most pupils attend for between 1 ½  and 3 hours each week.  Progress is checked on a termly basis by the use of reading and spelling tests and by teacher assessment.  Twice a year parents receive progress reports and at least once a year, parents’ evenings are held.  Because of our standardised materials and detailed record system, pupils suffer the minimum of disruption if they transfer between Centres.

Tuition is often available outside normal school hours.  In addition to our 27 main Institutes and 50 outposts we currently work in some 75 schools throughout the country.  In addition special projects are run in conjunction with some LEAs.  It is our aim to work alongside schools to enable our pupils to access the whole curriculum.
The DI teaches over 400 adults who range from those who are virtually illiterate to university students.  We work with a number of partners including universities, FE colleges, the Employment Service, the Prison Service and the Probation Service.

DI teachers have a teaching qualification recognised by the DfES and a specialised postgraduate qualification to teach those with Specific Learning Difficulties.  They are required to participate in national training programmes on a regular basis.

TEACHER TRAINING                           
Many of the DI’s teaching techniques and materials have a broad application in the field of literacy development.

The Training Service shares the Institute’s expertise through a wide range of courses designed for teachers, other professionals and Teaching Assistants, ranging from the highly specialised Postgraduate Diploma to single lectures and workshops.  While many follow a prescribed programme, it is possible for schools to purchase ‘made to measure’ courses designed to meet their particular needs. A strong theoretical underpinning gives a trainee teacher a level of understanding that enables her to interact with others at a highly professional level, to justify her practical methods and to continue to develop her skills.

For teachers who want to specialise in dyslexia, the DI offers a two-year, part-time course validated by York University which is taught in several centres across country.  Successful students gain the Postgraduate Certificate at the end of the first year. The Certificate can also be gained by distance learning.

Units of Sound Multimedia, the DI’s literacy development programme on CD-ROM, is now widely used by specialist teachers.  The Active Literacy Kit provides the essential foundations for literacy for children who have not yet started to read. The Readers’ Support Pack for parents, designed for parents to help children who are beginning to read and those who continue to struggle, continues to prove very popular.

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