Dyslexia Awareness Week

A reflection upon Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017.

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Today we are currently in the last day of Dyslexia Awareness Week whose campaign this year has been #PositiveAboutDyslexia. There is still quite a lot of stigma around dyslexia and those who have it as is highlighted in the BBC Three short ‘Things Not To Say To Someone With Dyslexia’. So many of the common things that are said to people who have dyslexia are either dismissive or negative; things like telling dyslexia people that they ‘need to focus more’ and when someone mentions that they have dyslexia asking them to spell it. (Confession: I did misspell dyslexia at least three times while writing this post).

This week I was lucky enough to be involved in #DyslexiaStory campaign.  This was set up between Dekko Comics, where I am currently an intern, and Estendio a company who develop innovative support Apps for people with Dyslexia. I got to be there from the very start, being involved in the initial Skype conversation where we decided on the hashtag and how we wanted people to get involved.

The plan was to take this years #PositiveAboutDyslexia campaign and add to it a little. Allow people to poke a little fun at themselves, or share a proud moment. To share with us their own favourite #DyslexiaStory.

The responses that we got really were a mixed bag, from a man telling us about misspelling his own name on his Higher English exam to a mother proudly sharing her daughter’s success in having her poetry published. One thing that I did enjoy was that the responses were overwhelmingly positive.

As part of Dyslexia Awareness Week I went along to Edinburgh Central Library for a Dyslexia Scotland event which promoted positivity about dyslexia and involved speakers and performers who were dyslexia and sharing their stories. First up was a sixteen year old boy from Aberdeenshire who played some live music and explained that when he was in early primary school he used to hide under desks because he was unable to connect with traditional methods of learning. He now expresses himself through songwriting and playing the guitar.

This was followed by the master of ceremonies for the night, Paul Hugh McNeill who is an ambassador for Dyslexia Scotland. I knew of Paul in advance of the event through Twitter and it was amazing to see just how inspiring a speaker he was in person. He talked about his own experiences of growing up Dyslexic, in the 1980’s and how in primary school he had just been labeled as ‘bad’. It wasn’t until he was twenty-five and decided to go back to full-time education that he realised his Dyslexia wasn’t something that he should be ashamed of, but that there was help available to him.

Paul is a hard worker which has gotten him to where he is today, he talked about how his dyslexia made him work hard, and that without it he wouldn’t be where he is today. He is a fantastic role model for young children, not least because he is an advocate for him, espousing that all a dyslexic child needs is an adult on their side. A parent, a teacher, an auntie or uncle, and if that child doesn’t have any of those people on their side then they will have Paul.

The launch of the new Dyslexia Scotland Website and of the hard work from the Dyslexia Scotland Youth Ambassadors whose enthusiasm made the launch possible was also briefly touched upon.

Finally we got to hear from Margaret Rooke, the author of newly published book Dyslexia is my Superpower (Most of the Time). Margaret herself is not dyslexia, but her daughter is, which made her interested in the learning difficulty. She has interviewed dyslexic people across the country and compiled her interviews into this book which is available for purchase here.

It was quite important to me to be involved in Dyslexia Awareness Week. I think that it’s something that can so easily be overlooked, when coping strategies are in place and you are long since diagnosed. At the Dyslexia Scotland event I spoke to parents whose children had just been diagnosed and were caught the relief of knowing that there was a reason their child was struggling, and the difficult realisation that their kid is in for a hard slog. It was uplifting to be able to share the success stories of other dyslexic people in the room.

So to end this Dyslexia Awareness Week I am going to push myself to continue being #PositiveAboutDyslexia long after the campaign fades.

 

Work Placement at Luath Press

I recently completed a two-week internship for Luath Press, an independent publishing house on the Royal Mile. Committed to publishing well written books worth reading, Luath Press publishes across a variety of genres and topics. I had waited all year to secure a placement and was pleased to hear I was going to get the opportunity to spend time at Luath. I eagerly trekked through the pouring rain on my first day and arrived, breathless and drenched, ready to get to work. I’d spent the past year learning about publishing and it was time to see if my education had paid off. Continue reading “Work Placement at Luath Press”

Exploring New Perspectives: My Placement With the TMSA

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Earlier this year I was fortunate to be offered a placement with the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA). While they are not a publishing company as such, they do publish a variety of books and song books in association with publishers such as The Hardie Press, an Edinburgh-based music publisher, and Collins.

During my placement I got the opportunity to work in a variety of different fields – I conducted extensive market research for the upcoming event calendar, drafted social media posts and press releases for the new “101 Songs – The Wee Red Book 2” DVD, edited the DVD booklet, and even translated promotional material that will be used to market the TMSA’s publications as well as the association itself on the European mainland.

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However, one of the most interesting experiences was the co-operation with The Hardie Press, a small, but successful company that has been in business for over 30 years.

Thanks to the great number of guest speakers who visited Edinburgh Napier University and the numerous publishing events I attended during my time in Scotland… Continue reading “Exploring New Perspectives: My Placement With the TMSA”

Immersion in the World of Publishing Rights & Contracts at Canongate

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In May and June I was given the fantastic opportunity to complete a work placement at one of Scotland’s most successful and exciting publishing houses – the fiercely independent Canongate.

During the internship, I worked in the Rights & Contracts department. Rights is an area of publishing I am already interested in, so I was keen to develop practical skills to add to the basic theoretical knowledge I had gained beforehand.

My placement started with a meeting with Caroline, Senior Rights Executive, and Pauline, Rights Assistant. After offering me a tour through the various departments and introducing me to the staff, they gave me an overview of what I would be learning during my time at Canongate and answered all my questions about rights in general, and my internship in particular.

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Over the few weeks I spent at Canongate I undertook a variety of tasks, including logging royalty statements, processing foreign editions, sourcing book reviews, and much more. Under Pauline’s supervision, I…  Continue reading “Immersion in the World of Publishing Rights & Contracts at Canongate”

Editorial at JPAAP

PrintI started my first day with JPAAP without any clear idea of what goes on behind the curtains of academic publishing. I will shamefully admit to having been too tempted by the glamorous fiction market to have spent much time thinking about academia.

All I knew was that I was going to be working in the editorial team as a proofreader/copyeditor on their next issue. So, on my first day I took the lift up to the seventh floor feeling slightly intimidated… Continue reading “Editorial at JPAAP”

My Placement with JPAAP

PrintFor the last few weeks I have been on placement with JPAAP – the Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, based at Edinburgh Napier’s Sighthill campus – which “aims to provide a supportive publishing outlet to allow established and particularly new authors to contribute to the scholarly discourse of academic practice.”

The online journal publishes several issues a year, and the May/June issue I worked on had a special focus on student transitions, discussing topics such as: transitions from high school, college, or full-time work to university; from undergraduate to postgraduate studies; from overseas education systems to UK higher education; and the re-adjustment faced by students returning to university degrees after mandatory long-term work placements or internships.

I have long had an interest in academic publishing, which, together with my desire to focus on my editorial skills this year, meant I was delighted to secure the placement with JPAAP, but without knowing exactly what to expect. It proved to be an excellent learning experience however, providing first-hand industry experience, considerable editorial practice, a lot of learning and a great environment to work in. Journal Manager Kirsteen Wright was extremely supportive and made sure myself and the other intern were made welcome, and always felt challenged by the work but never overwhelmed.

My main responsibilities included proofreading and copyediting…  Continue reading “My Placement with JPAAP”

Work experience at Luath Press

Luath Press – learning about marketing, editorial work and the importance of day-to-day tasks in a small publishing house.

After a space opened up on the Luath Press waiting list at short notice, I found myself preparing to go on placement a few days later. I was delighted to get the opportunity to see what Luath Press was like for myself, since a friend of mine had really enjoyed a placement with them a while beforehand. When she showed me the A4 checklist of varied tasks that the team gives to people on work experience, I became determined to apply for a placement with them and experience it first-hand. Over the course of my two weeks at Luath Press, there was certainly a lot to do. Continue reading “Work experience at Luath Press”