A new font is available for dyslexic learners

OpenDyslexic is a new open sourced font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. The typeface includes regular, bold, italic, and bold-italic styles.

OpenDyslexic is created to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. Letters have heavy weighted bottoms to indicate direction. You are able to quickly figure out which part of the letter is down which aids in recognising the correct letter, and sometimes helps to keep your brain from rotating them around. Consistently weighted bottoms can also help reinforce the line of text. The unique shapes of each letter can help prevent confusion through flipping and swapping.

This font has been installed remotely on all school computers.  It should appear in the long list of fonts offered in Word.  Please contact the IT Service Desk (ITServiceDesk@eastlothian.gov.uk) if you do not have it installed and you would  like to try it out.  Any other questions, please contact Shirley Lawson (slawson@eastlothian.gov.uk)



Translated comments for Home School Communication (Polish)

This extremely useful collection of bilingual comments was originally produced by the EAL service in Moray and was added to the resources provided on the East Lothian EAL website. 

It attempts to cover all situations when teachers need to communicate with parents and provides an easy to use format. Short comments in English and Polish and can be printed off as required , glued into the homework diary or even posted or e-mailed home.

 It has now been updated by the St Andrew’s Learning Community who have edited the Polish and presented each comment in its own box ready for printing.

 Even if you are acquainted with this resource please look at the updated version. .There are also comments in Chinese and Russian.

 Just follow this link:


Many thanks to Janet Storey for providing this valuable information.

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.

Holiday break on offer for families affected by disability

Epilepsy Scotland is delighted to announce the purchase of a luxury caravan based at Seton Sands in the Lothians.

The caravan is available for booking both by families and by individuals affected by a disability and on a low income.  It can sleep up to six people for a one week stay between March and October. 

A one-off administration fee of £40 is payable which covers the use of all the caravan’s facilities.  A free entertainment pass for on-site entertainment is also included. 

 This opportunity to have a short break can make a huge difference to an individual or family and can contribute to everyone’s health and wellbeing.  The purchase of the caravan has been made possible thanks to a generous grant to Epilepsy Scotland from Spifox.

 If you would like to find out more please look up our website www.epilepsyscotland.org.uk, email caravan@epilepsyscotland.org.uk or phone 0131 226 5458.

New accessibililty features in Google Apps

Google has recently made some important accessibility enhancements within Google Apps for Education. 
Google Docs and Google Sites have new keyboard shortcuts and better screen reader support with support for two screen readers: JAWS and ChromeVox.  Members of the blind community can now use JAWS, VoiceOver and ChromeVox within Google Calendars to manage your calendars, create and edit events or simply browse your events.

For more information on Accessibility within Google go to https://www.google.com/accessibility/

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



Choosing activities at the Hub

Jonathon listened to the audio then made his choice…”Where is the apple?”  Rachel used a switch to do the same activity.  Great excitement when the right image was selected and the reward music and flashing lights was played! Easy to make activities using Choose-it Maker 2 software.

Images created by Ivan Marah, 4th year work placement student from Dunbar Grammar.  Software activity by Jane MacDonald.

Boardmaker Training: August 30 Register now!

   Date       Tuesday, August 30:  4:00 – 6:00pm

   Venue  To be confirmed

   Do you need help using Boardmaker software to make visual timetables, flash cards, communication device overlays?  Do you want to learn more about what you can do with Boardmaker?  Email slawson@eastlothian.gov.uk to register for a place.  Maximum places 15, so be quick!

Teaching pupils with Autism

 Hacking Autism is a web site which brings together a volunteer group of software developers and specialists in autism with the intention of creating apps for iPads and other touch-enabled devices that can be used by people with an autism spectrum disorder. Parents of children with ASD are invited to suggest features they would like to see in future apps.

 What are your ideas? Submit them and get feedback. There may already be an app or a piece of software that exists that could be very helpful for your autistic pupil.  Please leave a comment on this blog if you find out any information.  It’s important that we all keep sharing our findings.

Books for All

The Books for All project has been focusing on supporting local authorities and practitioners to address the barriers faced by children and young people with print disabilities. The project supports provision of adapted learning materials in accessible, alternative formats for pupils who have difficulties reading ordinary printed books. This can be because they are blind or vision impaired; have physical disabilities which limit their ability to hold or manipulate information in a printed form; have perceptual or other disabilities such as dyslexia or have insufficient literacy or language skills.

 Guides which have been published on the Education Scotland website contain advice and information for practitioners, pupils and parents who are interested in finding, using and making accessible resources. The information is presented as short video clips, taking the viewer step by step through each process.  Have a look here