Useful, quick tips for teaching dyslexic learners

1. Praise Gives Power; Criticism Kills

A dyslexic person needs to have confidence to learn and overcome their difficulties. Because they have experienced failure, deep down they don’t believe they are capable of learning.

Re-establish self-confidence.
Provide the opportunity to succeed.
Give praise for small achievements.

Dyslexics need constant praise and support. You worked hard! You did well! WOW! That's really good!

2.  Don’t ask a dyslexic to read aloud

Words are likely to be misread or skipped, causing embarrassment.

3. Don’t punish a dyslexic for forgetting things like books or sports kit

Offer positive strategies such as having one place to put things away.

4. Don’t call a dyslexic lazy

Dyslexics have to work harder to produce a smaller amount.

Dyslexics have difficulty staying focused when reading, writing or listening.

5. Expect less written work

A dyslexic may be verbally bright but struggle to put ideas into writing.

Allow a dyslexic more time for reading, listening and understanding.

6. Prepare a printout of homework and stick it in their book

Provide numbered steps, e.g. 1. Do this. 2. Do that etc.

7. Do not expect a dyslexic to copy text from a board or book

Give a printout. Suggest they highlight key areas and draw thumbnail pictures in the margin to represent the most important points.

Do not expect a dyslexic to copy text from a board or book

8. Accept homework created on a computer

Physical handwriting is torture for most dyslexics. Word processors make life much easier. Allow them to use the Spell checker and help with grammar and punctuation so that you can see the quality of the content.

9. Discuss an activity to make sure it is understood

Visualising the activity or linking it to a funny action may help dyslexics remember.

10. Give the opportunity to answer questions orally

Dyslexics can often demonstrate their understanding with a spoken answer but are unable with to put those ideas in writing.

All credit to  the Nessy website for these useful tips.  You can find further information and support for Teachers, Parents/Carers and students on this site.

ICT and Inclusion Day at CALL Centre, 14th June

Can you vouch for the fact that using ICT to support pupils with additional support needs in your class/school is making a difference?  Would you be prepared to share your story with other practioners?

 The CALL Centre (based at Moray House, University of Edinburgh) are looking for one East Lothian school to give a 30 minute presentation at their ICT and Inclusion Day on the 14th June, illustrating how ICT (software or hardware) has been used to help pupils with additional support needs in the school. Teachers are welcome to involve a small number of pupils in the presentation, if this is appropriate.  Please contact Allan Wilson allan.wilson@ed.ac.uk or call him on 0131 651 6068.

Not sure if you want to do a presentation but would like to share your story less formally?  Email Shirley Lawson for a chat. slawson@eastlothian.gov.uk

 

 

Windows 7 Accessiblity Guide

Windows 7 Accessibility Guide

Microsoft has incuded a range of accessibility features (Accessibility Options) in its operating systems since 2005.  Windows 7 has many improved features and a change of name from Accessibility Options to Ease of Access Centre. These features provide a valuable and  often overlooked method of supporting learners with additional support needs.  Built in accessibility tools include Narrator (text to speech) and Magnifier (enlarges information on the screen)

Craig Mills at CALL Scotland has produced this excellent, informative guide – thank you!

ICT and Inclusion

I attended the ICT and Inclusion Day at the CALL Centre last week. It was an ideal opportunity to  see the latest hardware and software and hear practical, information-packed, short presentations on a wide range of topics all geared towards learners with additional support for learning needs. I was able to  meet and network with colleagues, make some interesting new contacts and chat with presenters and suppliers.

Workshop 1BOOKS FOR ALL

School and authorites are obliged under Disability and Equality legislation to consider how they can provide learning resources in accessible formats for pupils with disabilities. CALL Scotland have created a database of books currently available and provide training on how to adapt books.   Hodder Gibson are offering free digital copies of their resources subject to a print copy having been bought and also subject to very strict copyright terms and conditions.  Action:   I am keen to establish how we take this forward in East Lothian and ensure pupils can be provided with  books in an alternative formats when required.  Do we have a Print Disability Copyright Licence?

Workshop 2Age Appropriate ICT resources for older students with complex needs

Fil McIntyre from BRITE Centre reviewed some resources (keyboards, mice, switches) that are not highly coloured or involve gimmicky animals and therefore would suit older students.  The exception was for visually impaired students who often prefer bright colours and colour contrasts.  Action: Identifying software and reading material that is age and ability appropriate.

Workshop 3: Read and Write Gold 10 demo

This assistive software is designed to help those with dyslexia, literacy difficulties and English as a second language.  The PDF Aloud feature converts text to speech and the writing support tools allows users to study independently in an inclusive environment. We have a site licence for  high schools in East Lothian so it’s  installed on all computers but may be an underused resource.   Action:  Cost the upgrade to R & W Gold 10; arrange training sessions for SfL staff

Workshop 4:  Optelec – visually impaired hardware

We were shown a range of powerful hand held magnifiers and braille notetakers.  They were very similar to the Humanware products that have been bought for visually impaired and blind pupils in East Lothian.  Action: Share this information with Visually impaired service.

Workshop 5: iPods and iPads for Communication

A variety of communication apps have been created to enable pupils to communicate using voice output.  There are a number of downsides to consider… even top of the range AAC app Proloquo2go has no alternate access options (key guards, scanning) and the UK voice choices are not great. It would be ideal if you could install Heather and the Scottish male voice that is currently being developed.

 Photo Story and Communication passport apps allow photos, videos, audio and text into a book format. The iPad having a larger screen makes this more visually appealing and easier to read but the iPod touch for portability is ideal for other users.  Action: Continue to pursue issue of obtaining access to iTunes store on school network so I can get some devices out to pupils to try out these apps. The idea being these popular mainstream devices are cost effective communication aids and almost as importantly, are very cool!!

World Book Night: 5 March 2011

 The largest book give-away ever attempted!

World Book Night will take place on Saturday 5 March 2011.

This dynamic and unprecedented industry-wide initiative to celebrate adult books and reading will see one million free books given away on World Book Night by 20,000 passionate readers to other members of the public across the UK and Ireland. World Book Night will take place two days after World Book Day, the established nationwide reading campaign.

Suppporting Literacy with MS Word

A group of Support for Learning Teachers has created pupil friendly guidance sheets on using MS Word to access the curriculum, ‘Suppporting Literacy with MS Word’.

Check them out in the ASN Glow Group or in the Support for Learners folder in Education Exchange.

With acknowledgement to the work of the CALL Centre and Books for All: meeting the needs of ALL learners.

Books for All is about creating and providing access to learning materials in accessible, alternative formats. Do check out the website or enter through Glow.

‘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?

Wellington Square reading activities online

The Wellington Square website is designed for use alongside the book components of the Wellington Square Reading Scheme. This scheme provides interesting and lively stories for lower ability readers.

The website is easy to navigate and contains a range of activities to support the teaching of reading skills to pupils with Additional Support Needs.

After logging onto the website, pupils are able to enter the Character pages. The character pages follow the same format and are all updated over the course of a term. Each character area contains an introduction, game, quiz, character information, character facts and character questions.  A coloured logo on each web page specifies the reading level for that page. Vocabulary from that level’s word wall is included in the text and there are links to some of the books the pupils may have read.

Pupils must read each character’s area before attempting the quiz section, as all questions are related to the character information and character facts. The website also has ‘Ask a Question’ which pupils can address to a character and receive a reply on the website the following day.

These resources could be used in a variety of settings – whole class teaching, group work or independently.  Worth a look!

Voice recognition software

New products; software updates; innovative use of existing products – there’s so many reasons for revisiting issues previously discussed in this blog.  Voice recogntion software is a key area of investigation and exploration.

Professional opinon and feedback from users:  Dragon Naturally Speaking (latest version is 11) is still the best but the software built into Windows 7 is pretty good too.  A demonstration from Craig Mills (JISC) using My StudyBar speech recognition showed that it is possible to get good accuracy from voice to text.  Have a look for yourself and see what steps are involved.  The computers in schools are using Windows XP and this demo is using Windows 7. 

Key factors to it working are –  competent, literate and motivated user, adult voice, no background noise,  ability to identify and correct mistakes and punctuation, no support needed.

From discussion at the national ICT ASN group, all authorities are up against the same frustating issue of not being able to offer pupils as a workable option in schools.

Clicker 5 Training

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There's lots of great ideas out there on using Clicker 5 to support struggling readers and writers. Sign up for an Introduction to Clicker 5 training course (ECS 152) on 27/10. 

Book online at http://www.edubuzz.org/cpdshare/category/staff-development-brochure/

It won't be Troy from the video doing the training, just me!