Topics for this month:

Dyslexia Awareness Month – October 2021

Dyslexia Awareness month is an annual event aimed to further develop understanding and raise awareness about dyslexia; what it means, what it is and what can be done to support people who have dyslexia.

What is Dyslexia?

When commemorating Dyslexia Awareness, it is essential to discuss what dyslexia is.

Dyslexia is a very common difficulty that some people face when reading text or words. Intelligence is not impacted, so is therefore not described as a learning disability but as a specific learning difficulty (SpLD). The main disruption that dyslexia causes is difficulty with phonological awareness, which is our ability to understand sounds and letters.

Each person with dyslexia is different. For some people, it may just slow them down when reading and writing to process and comprehend the information; for others, dyslexia can cause more serious visual interruptions when reading, where words and letters appear blurred.

A person with dyslexia might:

  • read and write very slowly
  • have poor or inconsistent spelling
  • confuse the order of letters in words
  • put letters the wrong way round (such as writing “b” instead of “d”)
  • find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
  • struggle with planning and organisation
  • understand information when told verbally but have difficulty with information that is written down.

Dyslexia affects an estimated 10% of the UK population, it is very important to fully understand what it is. This is especially with education and learning, where reading and writing are essential parts of learning.

What can be done to support people with dyslexia?

As well as showing awareness and a thorough understanding of what dyslexia is, it is important to understand how to help those who might struggle with it.

Of course, you should always be patient with those who struggle to read and always encourage them. Whilst it may not always be obvious, learning to read or practising reading can be a very stressful process for dyslexic people. So, bear this in mind and offer to help wherever you can and allow extra time and practice with repetition when needed.

Some organisations carry on their dyslexia awareness work and events as part of Dyslexia Awareness Month throughout October. This is because it gives them even more time to spread awareness and get people on board with campaigns.

Dyslexia Awareness Month was first adopted by -The International Dyslexia Association in 2002. Since then, each year organisations, charities, campaigners, and schools/Colleges take part in a wide range of activities to raise awareness.

Here are some ideas for how you can get involved:

  • Research what dyslexia means. This could include reading articles and blog, posts to see what people say about their first-hand experiences of dyslexia.
  • Set up a dyslexia awareness group in your workplace/ educational establishment. This could include organising meetings/drop-in sessions where people can talk about what they know and understand about dyslexia.
  • Educators could also set a research task, to find out lots of information about this learning difficulty to make their own Dyslexia Awareness Month facts sheet.
  • Some people with dyslexia struggle with self-confidence, so running classes and workshops revolving around team building and self-confidence is another good way to celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Month.
  • Whether you focus on Dyslexia Awareness Day, Dyslexia Awareness Week or Dyslexia Awareness Month, this is a great way for you to promote awareness and help every person feel supported.

10 Dyslexia awareness month facts:

  1. 50% of people with dyslexia are left-handed, whereas only 11% of the entire UK population are left-handed.
  2. The most common cause of dyslexia is genetics and the way the brain neurologically develops. This means that dyslexia often runs in families.
  3. Dyslexia can also be acquired later in life, due to a brain injury from trauma or disease.
  4. Scientists have found that the Dyslexic brain is typically larger than non-dyslexic brains.
  5. Studies have also shown Dyslexic people to excel in areas such as creative thinking and are more likely to be creative individuals.
  6. It is hard to get an exact number of how many people are dyslexic in the U.K., but organisations such as the British Dyslexia Association estimate that between 7 million and 16 million people have SpLD.
  7. In order to be diagnosed with Dyslexia, a student must receive a comprehensive assessment of their skills and abilities by a qualified educational psychologist.
  8. It is a common myth that Dyslexic people read words or letters backwards. This is in fact not always the case, although writing letters backwards is quite common when learning to read and write.
  9. Britain’s favourite foodie, Jamie Oliver, is dyslexic. Rather than seeing this as a negative, Jamie is proud of his dyslexia. He believes this enables him to see the world from a different perspective. Dyslexia has not held him back, and you don’t have to look far to see the evidence. As of 2021, he has a net worth of an estimated £230 million.
  10. Other famous figures that identify as dyslexic include Jennifer Aniston, Keira Knightly and Noel Gallagher. Historical figures and famous artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso were also Dyslexic.

For more information on dyslexia please visit the link:

World Menopause Month

The menopause is a natural stage of life. It usually happens between 45 and 55 years of age but it can also happen earlier or later in someone’s life. Women going through the menopause are now the fastest growing demographic in the workplace. It’s more important than ever for employers to have a good understanding of the menopause and how they can support colleagues.

If you or a loved one are experiencing menopause, you may have questions and not know

where to look for the answers. We have attached a support sheet with recommend resources that are supported by UK menopause specialists and in line with clinical guidance from the NHS, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and the British Menopause Society.

The purpose of this guide is to provide you with a list of useful, up-to-date and free resources

to help you through your menopause journey. It also includes tips on how to make the most of

an appointment to discuss menopause and your symptoms with your GP.

Dealing with stress

If you are stressed, whether by your job or something more personal, the first step to feeling better is to identify the cause. The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking. Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will often only make your problems worse.

Here are some stress-busting suggestions:

Be active

Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you are feeling. It will help to clear your thoughts and let you deal with your problems more calmly.

Take control

There is a solution to any problem, if you remain passive, thinking, ‘I can’t do anything about my problem’, your stress will get worse.

Often the feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.

The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it is a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else.

Connect with people

A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can help ease your work and life troubles and help you see things in a different way.

If you do not connect with people, you won’t have support to turn to when you need help.

Talking things through with a family member or friend will also help you find solutions to your problems and worries.

Have some ‘me time’

Here in the UK, we work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we often do not spend enough time doing things we really enjoy.

We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation, or exercise, and setting aside time each week for some quality “me time” away from work.

By earmarking those days, it means you won’t be tempted to work overtime.

Challenge yourself

Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps build confidence. This will help you deal with stress.

By continuing to learn, it has been proven in studies you become more emotionally resilient as a person. It arms you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive.

Avoid unhealthy habits

Do not rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping.

When this is turned to it can been seen as avoidance behaviour and not wanting to talk about and deal with how you feel. Always look to seek support where possible from your social circle

In the long term, these things won’t solve your problems. They will generally just create new ones.

It might provide temporary relief, but it won’t make the problems disappear. You need to tackle the cause of your stress as soon as you can before it escalates.

Help other people

Evidence suggests that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient and have greater integrity.

Helping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective. The more you give, the happy you feel.

If you don’t have time to volunteer, try to do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone cross the road.

Work smarter, not harder

Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that will make a real difference. Leave the least important tasks to last. Accept that your in-tray and to do’s list will always be full, don’t expect it to be empty at the end of the day.

Try to be positive

Look for the positives in life, and things for which you are grateful.

People don’t always appreciate what they have, try to be glass half full instead of glass half empty.

Try writing down things that went well, or for which you are glad you have in your life, at the end of the day, this can often help you stay more positive and help to reduce stress.

For more information or advice and tools on how you can reduce stress please use the link below.

Staying safe online – Top tips!

We have attached an infographic from the National Cyber Security Centre covering the following information:

  • Who is behind cyber-attacks?
  • Defend against phishing attacks
  • Secure your devices
  • Use strong passwords
  • Reporting incidents

What is Squid Game?

Squid Game is a South Korean television series streaming on Netflix. The plot centres on a group of adult debtors, thieves, and gamblers competing against each other in a series of childhood games and challenges for a grand cash prize. However, there is a dark twist to these seemingly innocent games – losing competitors are violently killed off in ways that grow more twisted as the games grow more intense.

Since its release in September 2021, Squid Game has become number one across 90 different countries in Netflix’s ranking of most watched TV shows. It has been number one in the UK for thirteen consecutive days since its release.

Given the popularity, it’s no surprise to see the challenges being acted out everywhere: in school, TikTok memes and challenges, Roblox games etc., so even if children aren’t watching the series on Netflix, they will have heard about it from others or online.

Harmful Content in the Show

Currently, Squid Game has a rating of 15+ as the visual content includes high levels of gore, death, violence, and physical assault. It also has graphic depictions of suicide, murder, and sexual assault.

Children and young people are likely to know about Squid Game via word of mouth and social media/gaming platforms. They may be unaware of the extent of gore, death, and violence the show contains. It also focuses on adult themes (such as gambling, debt, and sex) that are not appropriate for younger viewers. For young people who live with mental health issues, they may be triggered by some of the content.

The Risks of Recreation

Due to the overwhelming popularity of Squid Game and its challenge-based plot, many of the themes within the show have become popular on social media platforms. Depictions of these games have started to become popular as people film themselves recreating them – without the murderous outcome.

Parents and carers should be aware that video content from this show is found extensively on TikTok, which could also increase interest in watching the show. Remember: even if you restrict the young person in your care from watching Squid Game, they may be able to access content on other platforms.

Online Games – Fraud on the Rise

Players of online video games such as Roblox, Fortnite and Fifa are being warned to watch out for scammers, amid concerns that gangs are targeting the platforms. Multiplayer games boomed during the pandemic lockdowns as people turned to socialising in virtual spaces.

One of the UK’s biggest banks, Lloyds, is so concerned about how games are being used that it will launch a warning code for players, and a character to go with it.

Its research found that a fifth of gamers had either been a victim of a gaming-related scam, or knew someone who had, but less than a third said they knew how to spot one. The research also found that the average player spent 14 hours a week onscreen, and that gamers were spending more time, and money, in-play than before.

The scams vary in complexity. Lloyds said gaming console fraud, where scammers trick victims into buying machines that they never receive, were among the most common types of purchase scams reported by its customers.

One common crime involves fraudsters tricking people into downloading malware on to their device, often through advertising add-ons to a game at a cheaper price than the official channels are charging.

Phishing exercises, where players are persuaded to give away valuable personal details, are also common, using emails and in-game chats, while some gangs are reportedly using the platforms to recruit money mules – bank customers who agree to have money paid into their accounts.

The Lloyds Band warning code – a set of guidelines to help gamers protect themselves – will urge people to “Shield”: an acronym for actions including screening chats with strangers and hiding personal details.

The gaming companies’ UK trade association, Ukie, said the code would help players to be on their guard.

Three years ago, Action Fraud, the body which collects reports of scams, warned that criminals were targeting players of Fortnite. In most cases, gamers had seen an advert on a social media site saying that if they followed a link and submitted some information they would get free V-Bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency. The details were used to log in to the game and run up charges, or sell on the accounts to other players. On average, players had lost £146 each through the scams.

More details about the Lloyd’s Bank code can be found here: