Ease your reading problems by listening to the text instead

We have Word Talk installed on all school computers which allows text in a Word document to be spoken back.  Word Talk (as the name suggests) only works with Microsoft Word.

 All the high schools had Read and Write Gold 8 software which offered this text to speech functionality plus many other useful literacy support tools. With the move to Windows 7 computers, Read and Write Gold is no longer fully compatible and the cost to upgrade is prohibitively expensive.

 Ivona MiniReader is a free simple text reader which adds a floating toolbar on the screen and can read out text from almost any program – Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, web pages etc.. MiniReader can use the free Scottish voice Heather and Stuart and most other voices on your computer. 

It is hoped to remotely install it onto all East Lothian school computers but if you would like to try it out prior to this universal install then please email slawon@eastlothian.gov.uk  I have instructions to issue on how it works and how it can be best used.

Books for All Scotland event

Stirling Management Centre, 18 March 2011

Learning and Teaching Scotland, in partnership with CALL Scotland are hosting this learning day.

The purposes of the conference are:

·         to support teachers, early years practitioners and senior managers to improve access to the curriculum for pupils with print disabilities who need print to be in accessible alternative formats.

·         to give strategic managers and practitioners the chance to learn about these developments and discuss how to implement them in their own context to ensure best value

·         to encourage individuals in their authorities to share their learning with colleagues to sustain and expand work in this area.

Significant developments have taken place to make it easier for pupils and teachers to find existing accessible resources, to use them with pupils, to make them if they don’t already exist and to share them under new copyright arrangements. These developments will help authorities and schools to meet their equality and accessibility responsibilities.

LTS plans to involve colleagues from Scottish Government, HMIE, CALL Scotland, SQA, CLA, RNIB and publishers as well as managers and practitioners. This partnership event is aimed at both educational practitioners and strategic personnel.

 To reserve a place at this event please contact Anne Marie Lamont at a.lamont@LTScotland.org.uk.

‘Absences leave holes in learning’

“Most school systems are based on the assumption that learning is sequential and successful outcomes are the result of regular attendance.”  John Howson in TES (14/01/11)

The disruptions in attendance experienced by teachers and pupils due to the recent weather and now flu viral outbreaks have brought this home only too well. The coming months will demonstrate how well  teachers and pupils are able to bridge the holes.

Howson’s analysis of available data suggests that “the percentage of special educational needs (SEN) pupils who are classified as persistent absentees is always higher than the average for all pupils.”

“..for those who want to come to school but cannot do so, often for reasons of illness, we need to find a way of ensuring technology can help.”

Not every home is equipped with the technology to ensure all young people are included even when they are ill but many do. School edubuzz blogs had some lovely suggestions for activities during the snow closures. Teachers and pupils can keep others informed and included while they are absent with illness through the use of imaginative Apps/ photos /videos,etc. Try www.wallwisher.com ; www.glogster.com. Any other ideas?

Using IEP formats within SEEMIS – pilot update

 

  Since 2002,  East Lothian schools have recorded IEPs targets for pupils with additional support needs on formats developed by North Ayrshire Council.  These documents are  ‘stand alone’ and do not link to our management information system.  The North Ayrshire format is also not aligned with educational targets within Curriculum for Excellence.

Following extensive research and consultation, a number of schools in East Lothian have been asked to pilot the use of  SEEMIS Pupil Plans as an alternative IEP format.  The SEEMIS Pupil Plan has been developed by City of Edinburgh Council in collaboration with SEEMIS and the Scottish Government and is now used in an increasing number of Scottish  authorities.

A decision will be taken later this session as to whether all  East Lothian schools will use this format in the future.

Schools will be kept informed of any further developments.  However if you would like further information about the pilot, please get in touch with Linda Gaughan at lgaughan@eastlothian.gov.uk

Sharing news and ideas

Happy New Year to all!

Another year starts and information overload will continue.  We need to find a way to access the valuable stuff and share it with all interested parties.  Is it going to be this blog or on Glow?  Or both? 

Subscribe to this blog by adding your email address to the box on the right hand side of page.  You will receive an email alert when a new post is added, saving you time and reminding you that the Support for All blog exists and that you too can share news here.  

Obviously you can’t subscribe to the email feed if you don’t get this far and are reading this post so please pass on the information to anyone who is involved with pupils with additional needs. Thanks!

Music for all at the Hub

Koby and the Skoog

The Skoog is an exciting new musical instrument with accessibility at its heart.  An instrument designed explicitly for special education to empower those unable to play traditional instruments.  The Skoog is a soft, squeezable object that simply plugs straight into your computer or laptop’s USB port.  Simply touching, pressing, squashing, twisting or tapping the Skoog allows you to play a wide range of instruments, intuitively.  Learn more about it here

You can see Koby Major, age 5, having a brilliant time playing with the Skoog.  Inventor and entrepreneur, Benjaman Schogler, came along to demonstrate how it could be used.  He worked with all three classes and everyone had a go.  Even the very lightest touch can generate a sound.  Some pupils hit the Skoog, some squeezed, some rolled it, Jonathon leaned on it with his shoulder and played the flute.  Using a WOWee one gel speaker, sound vibrations gave another dimension to the musical experience.

Joy, a student in musicology from Greece and on work placement with Benjaman, is going to work with groups of pupils over the next few weeks.  Mark my words, there’s going to be a lot of fun and a lot of music happening down at the Hub!

Dyslexia Awareness Week: Myths about Dyslexia

See you on the other side by Annalisa Shepherd

Next week is Dyslexia Awareness Week and I shall be posting something here every day.

First, here is a list of myths about dyslexia. I’ll make sure each one is debunked before the end of the week!

Myth 1: Dyslexia does not exist.

Myth 2: Dyslexia is a “catch all” term.

Myth 3: Intelligence and ability to read are related. So if someone doesn’t read well, they can’t be very bright. Equally, very able children cannot be dyslexic.

Myth 4: People with dyslexia cannot read.

Myth 5: People with dyslexia see things backwards.

Myth 6: Dyslexia is rare.

Myth 7: Dyslexia is a medical diagnosis.

Myth 8: Children outgrow dyslexia.

Myth 9: Dyslexia affects four times more boys than girls.

Myth 10: Any child who reverses letters or numbers has dyslexia.

Myth 11: Every child who struggles with reading is a learner with dyslexia.

Myth 12: Children with dyslexia are just lazy. If only they tried harder…

 

Thanks to Annalisa Shepherd for the picture.

Dyslexia Awareness Week

1-7 November is Dyslexia Awareness Week

This year the Dyslexia Awareness Week theme is Hidden Dyslexia.

CPD Bytes is offering 10 complimentary online ‘Hidden Dyslexia‘ courses each worth £100 to raise teachers’ awareness of the impact of unidentified dyslexia on learners,

For a your free entry please Click Here and fill in the simple form. or copy and paste this link into your browser window http://cpdbytes.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=79b9667153aaee41587daf08f&id=e262cf8aeb

The prizes will be drawn on the 7th November at 12 noon. All the winners will be notified by e-mail and a list of all the prize winners will be displayed on the website www.cpdbytes.com.
Every entrant will be eligible for a 50% discount on our popular Hidden Dyslexia Course if ordered before the end of November.

Good luck in the draw.

Several support for learning teachers in East Lothian have taken this course and have found it useful. Contact Hilery Williams for more information.

Switch accessible activities FREE online

Inclusive Technology have a section on their website called HelpKidzLearn with free games and activities.  These are high quality resources giving you a taster of some of Inclusive’s bespoke software.  From simple Cause and effect switching activities  you can progress onto ‘Wait then Press’ activities (eg.  Mystery Egg in the Early Years section).  Increase a pupil’s concentration and co-ordination skills with Catch the Crocs  (games section) or improve letter recognition on the keyboard by playing Letter Pop! (Find out section).  Have fun!

Assessing Dyslexia Toolkit launched

New guidelines for identifying children with dyslexia were launched by former racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart on Tuesday. The online “tool kit” , available since January but now open to all, has been created for every teacher: we are all responsible for literacy regardless of our subject or sector. The resource supports the Curriculum for Excellence’s emphasis on literacy and numeracy across learning.

 The Assessing Dyslexia Toolkit for Teachers aims to help teachers and early years workers identify literacy difficulties and dyslexia among pupils. A key target is to spot problems as early as possible so children can be given support and are not disadvantaged educationally.

A key aim of the new guide is highlighting to all class teachers that they are in the best position to identify early indicators of dyslexia and other learning difficulties. It identifies problems teachers should look out for at various stages in a child’s education from pre-school to late primary, right up to senior secondary and college.

Dr Margaret Crombie, who led the team of experts behind the creation of the project from Glasgow Caledonian, Strathclyde and Edinburgh universities, said: “We now have a resource that all teachers can use to help them work through the process of assessment of literacy difficulties.”

It’s superb: check it out.