Who we are
The British Dyslexia Association run the only National Helpline and Advice service addressing the specific needs and issues of people with dyslexia and related specific learning difficulties (Spld).
The BDA Helpline provides free and confidential information and guidance for children, young people and adults, parents, teachers, educational organisations and employers. The queries we receive are often very complex, requiring a high level of knowledge and specialism in dyslexia to support the callers who are often experiencing a high level of stress and anxiety.
An urgent and significant need
The BDA Helpline Appeal has been launched in response to the significant increase in enquiries that we have experienced to date this year. At the current rate of calls we anticipate receiving over 18,000 requests for help this year. This represents a 50% increase in demand.
This has put real pressure on the service and we need to act now to meet this demand and ensure we are able to answer those calls. Without further funding now we estimate that over 8,000 calls and emails could go unanswered this year. That means there are as many as 8,000 people we want and need to help but will be unable to do so unless we increase the funding for this service.
Severe government cut backs have caused major challenges for dyslexic adults and particularly those who are unemployed and navigating changes to the access to work structure. The BDA Helpline is in the frontline in answering queries from adults who are often in desperate circumstances, fielding queries around reasonable adjustments, how to appeal and providing benefits and career advice.
The SEND code of practice reforms and changes to DSA and apprenticeship programmes are common factors behind many of the calls we are also receiving from anxious parents and young people.
The impact of an answered call
For beneficiaries of any age and status the impact of the support we provide is huge and for many it really can be life changing. One recent caller has been Julie Turner who wrote the following statement about the difference her call made for her and her daughter Josie;
“As a parent of a severely dyslexic daughter, my journey with dyslexia has seen me go through a huge battle with the education system to get Josie the right support. It’s been a journey that has left me at breaking point on several occasions and I really did feel I had nowhere to turn until I contacted the BDA Helpline.
It was years after battling the education system when I was feeling very lost and anxious and struggling to see any future for my daughter that I finally phoned the Helpline. I was put through to a lovely lady who really listened to me and empathised with our situation. She made me feel like there was still a way forward. It was from that point onwards that things finally started to get better. That call being answered was the turning point in our lives.”
Julie Turner mum of Josie
We have a number of exciting and unique ‘Rewards’ we are offering potential donors as part of our appeal, including our exclusive ‘I’m doing it! for the BDA’ t-shirts and the BDA pin badges.
We will acknowledge all donors that provide their consent with a thank you on our Facebook page and with feedback on the callers we have been able to help, thanks to their donation.
Other rewards include a ‘Parent Pack’ which consists of the Dyslexia & Parents Handbook and a place on a special‘How to support your child at home’ parenting webinar that we will be running from September. The ‘Adult Pack’ includes a Tips for the dyslexic adult handbook and webinar.
Donors even have the opportunity to pay for a day’s calls and receive recognition throughout that day across all of our social media channels and the BDA website.
There is also the opportunity to take a real part in the future Development of the BDA Helpline with a place on our development group. You could also spend a day with our Chief Executive Dr. Kate Saunders, a leading figurehead and authority in the world of dyslexia and hear about our plans to provide a more dyslexia friendly society for all.
We are proud to advise that our Appeal is being supported by several celebrity supporters of the charity including the Everton and Scotland footballer, Steven Naismith, the singer and model Mollie King and Harlequins and England Rugby Union captain Chris Robshaw. Further comments and videos can be found on the BDA Facebook page.