Dyslexia in practice

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Keir Williams identifies ten ways secondary teachers can meet the needs of their dyslexic learners.

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that affects reading and language processing. It is characterised by challenges with phonological awareness, verbal memory or processing speed. Dyslexia occurs across a spectrum of intellectual abilities and is not related to a person’s intelligence. With one in ten people estimated to be affected by dyslexia, almost every classroom is likely to contain a dyslexic pupil. However, despite this, some teachers lack the confidence or are unsure of how to best support children with dyslexia. Learners with dyslexia greatly vary in their personal areas of strength and difficulty. But there are some general good practice strategies that all teachers can employ.

In addition, assistive technologies can level the academic playing field, boost confidence and foster independence. For example, text-to-speech software converts written text into spoken words, making it easier for dyslexic students to comprehend and access information. Likewise, speech-to-text applications allow them to express their thoughts without the frustration of writing difficulties. Dyslexic specific word processing tools identify spelling and grammatical errors, they suggest words as pupils’ type, therefore aiding spelling and vocabulary development.

As each dyslexic learner has a different need profile, it is vital that teachers understand the nature of the pupil’s difficulty. Ask the SENCo for a copy of the diagnostic dyslexia report. This detailed report, written by the dyslexia assessor, examines an individual’s cognitive and literacy abilities. Although the reports can appear daunting at first glance, they contain key sections which are invaluable for teachers to read.

The Profile, Impact and Key Recommendations at the beginning of the report summarise the pupil’s strengths, difficulties, and how these impact upon their learning. The Recommendations section at the back of the report contains bespoke, personalised advice for teachers, tutors, and home-based activities.

Understanding and supporting dyslexic students requires a multi-faceted approach which will cater to their diverse needs. By implementing a combination of inclusive teaching strategies while deploying some of the personalised recommendations from the assessment report, teachers can help their dyslexic learners to thrive academically and develop the skills vital for success.

Keir Williams
Author: Keir Williams

Keir Williams
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Keir Williams is Founder and Dyslexia Assessor at Dyslexia UK.

Blog: dyslexiauk.co.uk/dyslexia-blog

Website: dyslexiauk.co.uk
Facebook: @Dyslexia.online.testing.UK
Instagram: @dyslexia.online.testing.uk

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