Working definition of dyslexia: Cross Party Group on Dyslexia 18 November 2008

The following working definition of dyslexia has been produced by the Cross Party Group on Dyslexia in the Scottish Parliament in collaboration with a range of stakeholders including the voluntary agencies, taking account of the earlier version produced by the Scottish Government. This is one of many definitions available. The aim of this particular working definition is to provide a description of the range of indicators and characteristics of dyslexia as helpful guidance for educational practitioners, pupils, parents/carers and others. This definition does not have any statutory basis.

Dyslexia can be described as a continuum of difficulties in learning to read, write and/or spell, which does not respond well to conventional teaching techniques. These difficulties often do not reflect an individual’s cognitive ability and are often not typical of performance in other areas.

The impact of dyslexia as a barrier to learning varies in degree according to the learning environment and the demands of the curriculum as there are associated difficulties such as:

·                 auditory and /or visual processing of language-based information

·                 phonological awareness

·                 oral language skills and reading fluency

·                 short-term and working memory

·                 sequencing and directionality

·                 number skills

·                 organisational ability

Motor skills and co-ordination are often affected.

Dyslexia exists in all cultures and across the range of abilities and socio-economic backgrounds.  It is neurological in origin; a hereditary, life-long condition.  Unidentified, dyslexia is likely to result in low self esteem, high stress, atypical behaviour, and low achievement. 

Early identification, appropriate intervention and targeted effective teaching will allow learners with dyslexia to become successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.


More support ‘needed’ for children with learning difficulties

Holyrood reports that according to a new study Scottish children with learning difficulties are not receiving an appropriate level of educational care and support.

The study by charity Mindroom estimates that nearly a fifth of Scottish school children have a recognised learning difficulty. This would put the figure at around 120,000 affected pupils, much higher than the official figure of 30,000 children receiving learning support.

Mindroom believes that many children are suffering from a lack of expert supervision, particularly if they have disorders on the autistic spectrum. As part of a proposed package of reforms, the charity is calling for greater training for staff and more investment in learning difficulties research.

‘Parents as Partners’

‘Excellent!’ “A really enjoyable afternoon,” “It’s great to see what our children do”

These were some of the many very positive comments made by parents who attended our “Parents as Partners: Supporting Learners at Law” open afternoon last week. Our aims for the session were simple – to introduce parents to the Support for Learing team (in the wider sense), to share some of the games and activities we use, to look at the displays and resources and to encourage pupils and parents to play together. A bonus was to meet parents informally in a relaxed setting.

The room was soon buzzing with chatter and laughter as parents had a go at some games, tried ACE dictionaries, looked at some reading resources and enjoyed the displays of children working together. Laptops were set up with a range of web-based games and activities which proved to be extremely popular. The children joined their parents when classes finished and were soon sharing favourite games and websites with their families – it was delightful to see parents and children having fun together!

The focus was on literacy and Support for Learning teachers had prepared a range of handouts covering reading, spelling, writing, websites and internet safety. Parents helped themselves to these and had an opportunity to ask staff about mind mapping, strategies to support reluctant readers, paired reading and a host of other questions.

The children themselves were very involved in planning this successful event. They enjoyed using mindmaps to make the invitations, choosing their favourite games, acting as guides and having their photos taken for displays. Our in-house ‘paperazzi’ photographers came along too so there’s a lovely record of the afternoon.

Parents and childen were so busy in fact that they didn’t have time for coffee and juice!