Dyslexia Friendly schools

There is an interesting item in today’s Independent (click on Independent to see it) about a school in England about to ‘go into partnership with a dyslexia charity and revolutionise the help available for dyslexic children in state schools’. The key seems to be an early intervention programme involving individual whiteboards and coloured stimuli cards. Children sound out each letter separately and then blend them together ‘gleefully’.

There is a suggestion that black writing on a white board is said to aid the memory. That might well be the case but it does rather fly in the face of our understanding about scotopic sensitivity. The Dyslexia Association recommends white writing on a blue background! I’d welcome people’s experiences in using diffferent coloured fonts, paper, glasses with dyslexic pupils.

 This doesn’t sound very much different from what goes on in many good infant classrooms. Correct me if I’m wrong! I shall investigate the programme further if I can.

We all know there are no instant solutions, no quick fixes. The feeling I get from the article is that the school actively works towards early identification of dyslexic difficulties in partnership with parents.  The school has an inclusive policy to ‘break the cycle of failure’, and has an emphasis on literacy. Parental concerns are taken seriously.

 Not too  different from what goes on in East Lothian I think.

Parental concerns

Law Primary is well on the way to becoming a Dyslexia Friendly school. I was asked to speak to Law parents on 22nd February. Several people raised interesting questions. I hope I answered them adequately.

One of the major concerns was that of transfer to high school and alternative assessment arrangements. Mention was made of perceived inconsistencies in provision across the region. Parents were also keen to find out what tests we did, how early dyslexia may be identified (I steered them away from using the term diagnosis), the role of Educational Pyschologists, and the relationship between dysleixa and numeracy difficulties.

Neil Barnes (HT) reported back to me that a group of parents is setting up a support network to meet in school once a month. I have agreed to attend a meeting at some point to talk about an issue to be mutually agreed. Neil felt that the meeting had successsfully allayed fears. I certainly enjoyed speaking to the parents – there were about 30 there – and feel it’s a good way to develop partnerships. I’ve been asked to meet with a parent (and the child’s teacher) to discuss more specific concerns.