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Volunteer Case Studies

Liz's story - Helpline volunteer

I have been a volunteer with the British Dyslexia Association for about six years. I became interested in dyslexia when my own son struggled with reading and writing and was soon identified as needing extra interventions at school.

Prior to the pandemic, I looked forward to my weekly sessions alongside another Helpliners in the office where ideas and new resources could be readily shared. Each Helpliner brings their own knowledge and experience of dyslexia. Every caller shares their own experience of dyslexia, be it in the classroom, workplace or every day life. Some just need to talk, others need advice, or information. By embracing technology, the British Dyslexia Association has been able to keep the Helpline running during the pandemic.

After initial teething problems, the Helpline was soon up and running again. Given the number of weekly calls that we receive, there is a real need for the service. Working from home is very different, there are two volunteers connected on each session.

Our monthly Zoom with the other Helpliners and Kim Brown, the BDA's Helpline & Support Services Manager, ensures that we can be kept up to date on changes in schools due to Covid-19 provision. We have heard speakers on a specific topic, share ideas for a callers question and have access to new or updated online information sheets. So we are well supported and we are able to offer the service.

For those with dyslexia, Covid-19 has brought new challenges and changes to school children, students and those in the workplace. Being able to offer up-to-date information, advice and appropriate signposting has been the BDA and Helpliner’s greatest ongoing challenge.