Dyslexia Support Service Annual Summary

Assessment: I have been involved in the assessment of 117 pupils this year and have met with the vast majority of the parents of these youngsters (and about 20 others already ‘on the books’) at least once. This is either at Staged Assessment and Intervention (SAI) meetings or more informally to discuss progress and programmes. These assessments and parental meetings are preceded by extensive consultations with colleagues. Once an identification of dyslexia has been made, we usually meet again to discuss any interventions that may be appropriate.

Teaching individuals + small groups: I have worked with individuals and small groups of pupils on working memory skills, Mind Mapping and note making, MS Word Accessibility and strategies for organisation and planning as part of a transition programme for P7’s over the year.

5 children have helped me begin to evaluate the reading and spelling programme, ‘Nessy’. This is such a rich resource that 3 of the children will be continuing work on it next session. This is partly for their benefit of course, but also to allow me to decide whether I should encourage schools to buy ‘Nessy’ for their struggling readers and spellers. This is one of the software packages I was given with my new laptop: http://www.nessy.com/. So far we are loving it!

Teaching whole classes: I have taught several classes the basics of Mind Mapping using Kidspiration and Inspiration. I worked with a P7 class on higher order reading skills.


Parents’ Meetings: I have spoken to groups of parents at open meetings and presented an in-service session for a school as part of their Dyslexia Friendly Schools Pledge. The focus was on learning styles.

Dyslexia Friendly Schools Pledge: The Pledge itself has had a re-vamp and is now ready to be incorporated into the literacy strategy for the region.

 In-service training: I have led a group of support for learning colleagues to develop user-friendly guidance for using WordTalk and presented this to a group of practitioners at an event organised by LT Scotland. I spoke at my first TeachMeet (for 2 minutes) on this wonderful resource at the Sea Bird Centre

I have given training sessions to colleagues in 2 secondary schools on interpreting the computerised assessment tool and commented on the reports they have prepared subsequently.

Of course I have attended meetings of the Outreach Service and both Clusters too.

This is an up-dated version of the summaryI posted at the end of the Spring term.

Dyslexia Friendly School in Action

What a fabulous time I had first thing on Monday morning when I went to Yester Primary School’s Dyslexia Awareness Assembly.

This was part of the whole school’s drive to fulfil the ‘Dyslexia Friendly Schools Pledge’ as well as of the Support for Learning teacher, Lesley Cusack’s participation in a leadership course. The staff have done a great deal of professional development this year, both in terms of formal sessions run by Lesley and myself and the everyday, almost incidental discussions about the learning needs of individuals that go on every week of the year.

Lesley had asked for volunteers from the p7?s and got offers of help from 10 children, only a couple of whom have dyslexia.

The children told the rest of the school what  difficulties and strengths learners with dyslexia may have in a most professional and entertaining way.

Then they talked about learning styles, stressing that we are all different and that diversity is to be celebrated.

Finally they walked (or rather sang) the talk. They sang a song with actions and before asking the gathered crowd to follow suit, asked them to show whether they had preferred to listen, see or do the actions.

It was interesting to see that there were a fair few who preferred to look or listen rather than act; although of course the majority identified themselves as kinaesthetic leaners.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable session which very neatly illustrated something of what it means to have dyslexia.

All credit to the children – and of course to Lesley for her indefatigable work.

Wanted: ‘dyslexia friendly’ schools for £1,000 award

Wanted: ‘dyslexia friendly’ schools for £1,000 award

Calling all Sencos and teachers working with young dyslexic people. The Iansyst Dyslexia-Friendly Best Practice Awards 2009, created to recognise and celebrate “best practice for dyslexia provision in education”, have opened for nominations. The winner gets a laptop and appropriate software worth more than £1,000.

The theme this year is ‘Celebrating the Strengths of Dyslexic Students’ and the awards will mark the second year the assistive technology specialist has organised the event. To enter teachers have to explain in 350-400, how they work to raise the awareness of dyslexia and establish a dyslexia-friendly environment at their schools.

According to last year’s winner, Suzanne Edwards, the inclusion manager at Essex’s Notley Green Primary School, “The thinking behind my school’s strategy for SpLD provision is tiny steps can equal a profound change to the quality of a dyslexic pupil’s learning, so awareness among the entire school community is imperative.

“To date, we have not explored the benefits of assistive technology for our pupils, so it is due to this, combined with my commitment and passion to raising awareness of the condition that led me to enter the Dyslexia-Friendly Best Practice Awards 2008. I am delighted to have won this year’s award and am very excited about using the technology supplied by iansyst Ltd in class with my pupils.”

The winning prize worth more than £1,000 includes a Dell laptop and a bundle of assistive technology software such as Mind Genius mind mapping software, Audio Notetaker (see John Galloway’s review), text-to-speech software ClaroRead, VeritySpell for spell checking. Two runner-ups will receive the latest Toshiba G8 mobile phone and CapturaTalk scan and speak software (reviewed here).
Entries close on Friday, December 4 with prizewinners announced on December 18.