Invitation for Adults with Dyslexia to Participate in Research Study

November 5, 2018

Invitation for Adults with Dyslexia to Participate in a Graduate Research Study at the University of Manitoba.

We are looking for adults with dyslexia, ages 21 and above, who will be willing to be interviewed & video recorded for a graduate research project.


The purpose of this research is to find out the past and present experiences of adults with dyslexia, and present the information in a manner that adults with dyslexia can access and consume. Participants will be asked to answer questions about their current experience as an adult living with dyslexia, as well as their experiences growing up with dyslexia; which will include emotional, social, work, and educational experiences. The time commitment is expected to be about 1 hour.

This study will explore the personal experiences of adults with dyslexia and how they cope emotionally, at work and with higher education; and present findings in a video format which adults with dyslexia can access and engage with. This study will therefore provide answers to the following questions: 

  1. What are the emotional & social experiences of adults living with dyslexia in Winnipeg, Manitoba?
  2. What are the strategies adults with dyslexia utilize to navigate daily living in Manitoba, Canada?
  3. What resources are currently available for adults living with dyslexia in Manitoba, Canada past and/or present? 

If you are interested in participating in the study or have questions about the study, please contact:
Natalia Jackson at 204-688-5817 or email:

 This study has been through a rigorous ethics approval process through the Ethics Review Board at the University of Manitoba.

Research Study Poster Nov. 2018

Invitation for Parents of Children with Dyslexia to Participate in Research Study at the University of Manitoba.

January 5, 2018

UofM logoDear Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba, 

My name is Dr. Jennifer Watt and I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.  I am beginning a new pilot research project that will examine the experiences, tensions, resiliency, and needs of parents of children with dyslexia.  The study has three main purposes:

  1. To create multiple opportunities (interviews, writing, and/or visual arts) for participants to explore the lived experiences of what it feels like to be a parent of a child with dyslexia, the issues facing children and/or parents of children with dyslexia, and the needs of families who have children with dyslexia in Manitoba.

  2. To use data from the study to generate theories that might help researchers, teachers, parents, and advocates of children with dyslexia to understand the in-between or “third spaces” of home and school literacy practices and what it feels like to negotiate being in both a parent and teacher role for children with dyslexia.

  3. To identify challenges and opportunities concerning professional networking partnerships, future research directions, and/or curricular supports for Manitoba families living with dyslexia.

I am writing to ask if you would be willing to share information about my research project with parents/guardians connected to your organization who might be willing to become participants in the study.  I describe the research project in greater detail on the following pages by asking and answering questions about what it means to be a participant in this project and how the participants will be treated with respect and integrity throughout the process.  I have also provided a letter [Appendix B] that you could distribute by email (or make photocopies and hand out in paper-form) that explains the research project to parents/guardians. This letter also provides my contact information so that interested parents/guardians will know how to get in touch with me if they choose to learn more about the project and/or potentially become a participant.  If you do choose to help me recruit participants by sending along this information, please let me know if you would also like a copy of the summary of the project that I will have ready by August 31, 2018.  I appreciate your time and consideration of this project.

This study has been through a rigorous ethics approval process through the Education Nursing Ethics Review Board at the University of Manitoba.  If you have any questions or concerns about this study, please do not hesitate to contact me or the Human Ethics Coordinator,208-194 Dafoe Road, University of Manitoba, or (204) 474-7122

Thank you,

Dr. Jennifer Watt

(204) 474-4090


Who can be a participant in this study?

I am looking for 5-8 participants for this pilot research study. I am looking for people who identify themselves as a parent of a child with dyslexia.  This means that the participant can be the biological, adopted, or foster parent, or a grandparent/relation acting in a parenting role.  The potential participant’s child(ren) may or may not have a formal diagnosis of dyslexia, but should still be engaging in K-12 schooling (although some children may be home-schooled).  Even though I am contacting you in the hopes you will share this information with other parents, you may also fit the criteria for this research project. If you identify as a parent of a child with dyslexia and if you are interested in learning more about participating yourself, please also let me know!

What is expected of participants? What exactly do participants have to do to be involved in the research project?

There are two phases to this research study, but participants may choose to participate in only the first phase and not the second phase if that is more comfortable or convenient for them.

Phase One: Individual Interviews. In the first phase, I will conduct individual open-ended interviews with each participant to explore the experiences, tensions, and needs of parents who have children with dyslexia. The interviews will take approximately 60-90 minutes, at a place of the participant’s choosing, and will be digitally audio recorded. The interviews will be transcribed and then the participants will be given the opportunity to check the transcriptions for accuracy—adding, deleting, or changing to best fit their intentions.  This review process will likely take 30-45 minutes.

Phase Two: Arts-Based Focus Group. In the second phase of the project, I will invite interested participants from the first phase to a one-day arts-based, data-generating focus group experience that will be held on a day on a weekend in the Education Building at the University of Manitoba, likely in March or April. The day will begin with a focus group interview, in which participants will answer questions that emerged as themes from the individual interviews. Part of the focus group interview will ask participants to collectively explore the metaphors and/or images of what it feels like to be a parent of a child with dyslexia, the issues facing children or parents of children with dyslexia, and/or the needs of families with dyslexia. This will lead into a time where participants will be invited to create a visual arts piece using a variety of possible media (photography, paint, collage, sculpture, etc.) and/or creatively write about their experiences (poetry, journal entry, letter, etc.). The visual arts pieces and process will be digitally photographed (no faces, but possibly hands might be in the photos) and writing pieces will be photocopied to be used as data. A final experience of the day will be a sharing circle in which each participant will be invited to explain what their image(s) and/or written piece(s) mean(s) to them and whether the process of making the image or writing helped them understand more about their experiences. The opening focus group and the final sharing circle will be digitally audio recorded and later transcribed. Again, participants will be given the opportunity to do a member check of the transcriptions, which will likely take 30-45 minutes.

Do participants receive any compensation for being involved in the research study?

I will provide a beverage and small snack for participants of the individual interviews. For those who choose to participate in the arts-based focus group, they will receive lunch, beverages, and snacks throughout the day. They will also receive a gift of an approximately $25 value as a token of thanks for their time and commitment.

Will participants give their informed consent before participating? What if they decide they don’t want to be a participant any longer?

It is really important in ethical, responsible research that participants know what they are agreeing to do and that they know that they can withdraw from participating in the study at any point.  If participants do decide to withdraw from the study, all notes and transcripts of their participation will be immediately shredded and electronic data will be erased (wiped clean) from digital storage devices.  Once individuals contact me because they are potentially interested in participating or just want some more information, I will give them a more detailed informed consent letter that they can read through at their own pace.  They will be encouraged to contact me with any questions or concerns.  I will go over this letter with them before we begin the interview.  We will repeat this process for the second phase of the research as well.  I will not begin any interviews or the focus group until these informed consent letters are signed. Participants will be informed during this part of the process that I am required by law to report any allegations of abuse to children or vulnerable populations to proper authority.

Is there any deception involved in this research?

No, I am not withholding any essential information or giving any misleading information about the research and its purposes.

What are the risks and benefits for participating in this study?

Risks: Participating in the individual interview or focus group interview poses minimal risks for the participants.  However, I think it is important to acknowledge two possible risks and how I plan on minimizing the effects of those risks for the participants:

(1) Since the participants in this research study will be talking about experiences with their children, they may be concerned that the child may be identified because of their involvement in the interview. Please see the answer to the next question “Will you protect participants’ confidentiality? How will you do this?” for the multiple steps I am taking to ensure the confidentiality of all participants and their children.

(2)  It is also important to acknowledge that some participants may feel slightly uncomfortable or uncertain about participating in an arts-based experience at the focus group. The participants may not have been involved in arts or writing for some time, may not perceive themselves as an “artist” or “writer”, or have previous experiences that made them feel reluctant to participate in such activities.  I will assure the participants that the focus of study is on the process of making meaning and sharing new insights through writing or other visual art making and not in any way about judging or evaluating the quality of the final product. I will also provide extra support and expertise in writing/art-making through two – three undergraduate B.Ed. students who have a background in these areas that will be present for the entire day of the focus group. These two arts-facilitators will be able to talk through ideas, provide suggestions, offer technical support, encourage, and praise participants while they are participating in the arts-based process in order to reduce anxiety or discomfort.

BenefitsThere are a variety of compelling direct and indirect benefits for participants in this study.  First, I believe the participants will directly benefit from the opportunity to engage in important and interesting dialogue about an issue that has significant personal impact on their lives. Particular direct benefits for those who choose to participate in the arts-based focus group will be the opportunity to hear perspectives from other parents who may be experiencing similar or different challenges and joys of navigating their lives with children with dyslexia. Through conversations with other participants and the research team (both in more formal interview settings and informal conversations at lunch, during the art-making or writing time), participants may feel more connected to other potential resource, strategies and networks and decrease a possible sense of isolation that may occur for some parents of children with learning differences. Participants may also directly benefit from the opportunity to have the time, space, resources, and guided supports to express and gain new insights into their experiences creatively through visual arts or creative writing. Indirectly participants will be adding to a field of knowledge about parents’ experiences of children with dyslexia. They will also be part of generating new theories, or ways of understanding, those experiences. They will also be contributing their thoughts and ideas about areas of future research or support that may benefit families of children with dyslexia in Manitoba. 

Will you protect participants’ confidentiality? How will you do this?

Yes, I will strive to protect the confidentiality of the participants and their children. I will do so in multiple ways.  The names of participants and their children will be removed from all transcriptions. I will also create pseudonyms for any child(ren), teacher(s), school administrator(s), specific school(s), and/or any other named individual(s) or identifying institution(s) that are discussed in the interview. The following identifying features of the participants’ child(ren) may also be changed slightly to increase the level of confidentiality: gender of the participant’s child, age of the child, or other identifying features or learning differences. Participants who choose to write as part of the arts-based time will have the option of using pseudonyms, or if they choose to write using specific names or identifying features of themselves, their children, or any other identifiable individuals or institutions, a photocopy of the writing will be made of the work and then all identifying features will be blacked out using a thick permanent marker and then re-photocopied. Only the blacked-out copy of the writing will be used as a data source. 

Data will be kept separately from the signed consent forms. Audio files will be removed from the digital device after the interview session and transferred to an encrypted USB drive accessible only with a password. I will store identifiable data (raw data, consent letters) separately from the non-identifiable data, which means in two different drawers in the locked cabinet in my office (230K Education Building, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB) and on two separate memory sticks.  This filing cabinet will be locked at all times.  The only people to have access to the raw data with identifying information will be me, the Principal Investigator, Dr. Jennifer Watt, and member(s) of the research team who will help with transcribing the data.  Members of the research team will sign a confidentiality agreement as part of their employment contract.  Once the study has been completed, all digital recordings, transcripts, and notes will be destroyed.  Also, the confidential data (names of the participants) will be shredded on August 31, 2018 at which time my research should be complete.

How will the participants learn about the results of your research? When can they expect this feedback?

I will let participants know that I will send them a copy of the transcription (via email or regular mail, depending on the participant’s preference) once the interview has been transcribed. I will ask them to read through the transcription carefully and make changes if I have misstated or misunderstood anything, make additional comments if they feel there is something more they want to add, or remove anything that they do not want included as data. I will let participants know that I will give them one week to review the transcription, make changes, and get back to me. If I don’t hear back from them after one week, I will assume that my transcriptions are accurate and ready to be analyzed. I anticipate sending the transcriptions within 4-6 weeks of the interview date. This same member checking process will occur for the focus group transcription, but I will tell the participants that they can only change or delete comments that they have made, rather than the comments of others participating in the focus group conversation.

I will provide a brief, non-technical summary of the project (1-3 pages) to the participants by August 31, 2018. Participants will have the option of receiving the summary of the project through email or by regular mail.

How and where do you expect you will share the results for this research with the wider community?

The results of this study may be published in academic and/or professional journals, as a book chapter in an academic book, and/or presented at academic and/or professional conferences.  Any time the research study will be disseminated publicly, the names of the participants and their children will be replaced by pseudonyms and protected for other identifying features to ensure confidentiality.

How can participants contact you if they want more information or they want to get involved?

I will be delighted to hear from anyone who might like to know more about the project or who feels like they want to volunteer to participate!  Here are several ways to contact me:

Dr. Jennifer Watt

Work Phone Number: (204) 474-7210

Mobile Phone Number: (204) 470-4090


Advocacy for Children with Dyslexia: A Symposium for Families

September 21, 2017

The Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba are hosting the symposium on October 21 in recognition of Dyslexia Awareness Month. The symposium is designed to provide families with advice and guidance on how to best support children with dyslexia. Hear from parents, teachers, reading clinicians, psychologists, successful entrepreneurs, disability advocates, Orton-Gillingham tutors, and most importantly - a panel of students living with Dyslexia. 

 The event is FREE.  However, we ask that you pre-register. Space is limited. Refreshments will be served.

Download the Promotional Poster here: Oct 21, 2017 Advocacy Symposium Poster

Professional Development Opportunity for Manitoba Teachers -October 20, 2017:

September 16, 2017

SOLD OUT.  Thanks to all who registered!
Please attend our two upcoming professional development sessions on October 20 at Victor H. L. Wyatt School in Winnipeg offered through Manitoba Multi-Age Educators (MAME).

485 Meadowood Drive
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2M 5C1

Please see link for details and registration.

Morning session:

MA- 111

Using Assessment to Target Effective Reading and Writing Instruction

As an advocacy group for parents and professionals, The Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba Inc. has as its goals:
• to raise awareness of dyslexia
• to promote and provide teacher training.

Using the response to intervention (RTI) model, presenters will outline an assessment approach to target instruction. Our goal is to help educators in all capacities - classroom teachers and specialists, to identify students who require specific Tier 2 or 3 intervention. A model for screening and progress monitoring for those who struggle with reading and writing will be provided. The presentation is based upon current practice in a Manitoba public school division.

Valdine Bjornson, Jeanne Remillard, Christine van de Vijsel

Afternoon session:

MA- 211

Appropriate Intervention Approaches for Developing and Poor Readers/Writers

As an advocacy group for parents and professionals, The Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba Inc. has as its goals:
• to raise awareness of dyslexia
• to promote and provide teacher training.

Each presenter has had Orton-Gillingham accredited training and intense, supervised practice. As such, we are advocates for Orton-Gillingham as it is based upon a multisensory, direct and diagnostic instructional approach. Orton Gillingham utilizes applied linguistics and systematic phonics which is diagnostic, sequential, incremental and cumulative. The instructional approach is intended to facilitate learning with persons who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing of the sort associated with dyslexia. The Orton-Gillingham Approach can be used effectively with the whole class, small group and/or as 1:1 intervention. It is properly understood and practiced as an approach, not a method, program, system or technique. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility. Presenters will include information about practical resources and activities for classroom and special education teachers as well as literacy specialists.

Valdine Bjornson, Jeanne Remillard, Christine van de Vijsel

Globe and Mail Article - "Dyslexic Kids in Canada Deserve Better"

August 27, 2017


Keith Gray is the founder and director of Dyslexia Canada

$1000 Annual Scholarship Opportunity for Manitoba post secondary student

May 2, 2017


$1000 Annual Scholarship Opportunity


Dyslexia Canada Petition to legislate compulsory student early-assessment testing for dyslexia

March 9, 2017

Consider signing the Dyslexia Canada Petition to legislate compulsory student early-assessment testing for dyslexia in Canada.
islate-compulsory-student-early-assessment-testing-for-dyslexia-in-canada?recruiter=609667235&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink …


Letters to Manitoba's Premier

May 4, 2016

Read letters from Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba to Manitoba’s Premier, Honourable Brian Pallister and Manitoba’s Education Minister the Honourable Ian Wishart. DCM has requested a meeting to discuss how we can work together with the new Provincial government to support children with dyslexia in Manitoba schools.