“At the Centre we approach dyslexia in a holistic way - helping the person as a whole and not just some of the 'educational' aspects they may want to improve upon - this is very different to other learning environments and it works well. Nothing has enriched my life nor my professional practice as much as the people I work with. It is a privilege to be involved in this work.”
Debbie Farnfield, co-founder, former manager
What do we do?
The Adult Dyslexia Centre is a charity that has been supporting dyslexic adults in the Thames Valley since 2003 from its base in Maidenhead, Berkshire. We support dyslexic adults by advising, developing skills and confidence and thus connecting them to further opportunities. We support over 300 people each year.
What makes us different?
We provide services to adults at low or subsidised cost so that lack of funds is not a barrier to accessing our services. The people we support are often unemployed, on low income or have missed out on education, so we aim to give them the skills and confidence to find better opportunities at work and in education.
We are a charity and a social enterprise and all our income from our commercial services (assessments, courses, awareness training) is used to help fund our primary purpose: to support adults disadvantaged by dyslexia.
We offer dyslexic adults:
Information about dyslexia - this includes dyslexia screening and an initial information session
An understanding of their dyslexia
Improved literacy and IT skills
Who we are...
The Adult Dyslexia Centre is a charity that was opened in September 2003 by Debbie Farnfield, a tutor of adults with dyslexia, and Sue Penton-Voak, active in the local One to One club which her daughter attended. They both felt that there was very little support for adults with dyslexia and so the aim of the centre has always been to boost confidence, develop skills and improve the individual’s understanding of their dyslexia.
The Centre’s staff members are a dedicated team of professional tutors and assessors, supported by the board of trustees and a team of volunteers.
Jemma has worked in various capacities supporting individuals with dyslexia since 2010.
She currently works as a Study Skills Tutor and Assessor, achieving her Assessment Practicing Certificate (APC) in 2014. She took on the role of Helpline Manager for ADC in April 2019.
Our Trustees are: Tracy Calleran, Andy Collins, Chris Gostick (Treasurer), Emily Gow, Sheila Kiss (Secretary), Brian Little (Chair) and Sue Penton-Voak.
To contact any of our trustees, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian retired in 2016 having spent his career in the natural gas industry, originally with British Gas and then in consultancy. He has struggled with dyslexia all his life, so the Adult Dyslexia Centre was a good choice for voluntary work when he returned from travelling two years ago. He has been a trustee since 2018 and became Chair in September 2020.
Sue founded the charity in 2003 with Debbie Farnfield and worked alongside her with fundraising responsibilities over all these years. Her connection with dyslexia stems from having a dyslexic daughter and is proud to say that her daughter is now a fully trained dyslexia specialist working in secondary school. Sue has a background in IT but has been retired for 15 years allowing her time to devote to ADC.
Chris is a maths graduate who spent his working career implementing supply chain software solutions into large retail and manufacturing organisations. He was diagnosed with Dyslexia whilst at junior school and received additional help at that time. Chris is now retired and enjoys gardening and watching sport, mainly rugby, cricket and cycling.
Katrina Cochrane has worked in the field of dyslexia for over 20 years. After completing her specialist training, she worked for the then Dyslexia Institute, for 14 years, as the Southern Regional Manager. In 2012 she was seconded to the BDA as Head of Education and Policy. In 2016 she set up her own company Positive Dyslexia Ltd. She has two adult sons one of whom is Dyslexic and Dyspraxic. She brings a wealth of professional knowledge and experience to ADC.
Emily is a recent graduate in languages, and on graduation, was selected for the Charityworks UK scheme, an acclaimed leadership development programme for young people seeking to build a career in the not-for-profit sector. Currently, Emily works full time as the Programme Officer at Cumberland Lodge, an educational charity in Windsor Great Park. Outside of work, she is a keen triathlete and long-distance runner.
Tracy is a long-standing trustee. She benefited from ADC when it was founded in 2003. Thanks to the support she received, she gained confidence and learnt to see it as a positive. Tracy later became a volunteer tutor at ADC and worked in a school as a tutor in their special needs department.
Sheila has spent her career in the pharmaceutical industry running clinical trials. She is now retired, but having had many dyslexic traits (mixing up left/right and difficulty with spelling), wanted to bring her management and business skills to a relevant local charity. Sheila had been a trustee for a local children's charity in the past.
Andy has been involved with ADC since it began. He received support from the charity and has been a trustee for many years. Andy works full time but still finds time to volunteer for the Samaritans, write poetry and is the drummer in a rock band.
Assessors & Tutors
Jeanette has a background in HR and has been working with adults with specific learning needs since 1998.
She is particularly interested in how Assistive Technology can be used to support clients in the workplace, when studying and during leisure time.
Christine has worked as both a specialist tutor and assessor in colleges and universities. She has completed additional training relating to assessment for the workplace, assessing students with complex linguistic backgrounds and assessing for dyspraxia, ADHD and dyscalculia, and dyslexia. She holds an Assessment Practising Certificate and a Teaching Practising Certificate.
Debbie is an assessor of dyslexia and specialist teacher, working with adults and children. She holds a current Practising Certificate accredited to PATOSS.
Clare is a qualified teacher who has taught English GCSE and Literacy in Further Education. She has the OCR level 5 and level 7 qualifications in SpLd and holds a current Assessment Practicing certificate (APC) from SASC and is a member of PATOSS. She has a particular interest in dyspraxia and supports university students as a 1:1 tutor.
Following a career as an opera singer, Chris decided on a change of direction and trained to become a Specialist Teacher to diagnose, assess and teach students with Dyslexia. She gained a Post-Graduate degree at Westminster University. Chris is committed to building awareness of dyslexia and delivers dyslexia awareness talks to organisations on behalf of the Centre. For the past eleven years has been part of the team at Royal Holloway University teaching undergraduates, masters and PHD students.
A long-time member of ADC and presenter on our courses, including the popular course “Understanding Dyslexia” for parents of dyslexic children.