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 Support Service Spring Up-date

This term I have been involved in the assessment of 20 pupils and have met with the vast majority of the parents of these youngsters 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.

In addition, I have attended 23 SAI meetings about pupils already ‘on the books’. Here we confer about the action plans and decide next steps. It is at these meetings that I often commit to a teaching programme for the following term. Otherwise I attend in an advisory capacity.

It is not always appropriate or necessary for me to have face-to-face contact with pupils. My colleagues do a wonderful job. Often they just need reassurance that they are on the right track and possibly some advice about resources or methodologies to supplement the excellent work they are already doing with their learners with dyslexia.

Work with individuals and small groups of pupils focused on auditory processing strategies (11), note making (20), syllabification (6), using digital technologies to access the curriculum (30) and strategies for organisation and planning as part of a transition programme for P7’s (9).

I have spent 3 or 4 sessions in each of 6 classes teaching them the basics of Mind Mapping using Kidspiration and Inspiration and I took a P7 class for 4 sessions helping them develop higher order thinking skills.

I have spoken to groups of parents at open meetings in 2 primary schools this term and delivered an in-service session for a school as part of their Dyslexia Friendly Schools Pledge. The focus was on learning styles. The Pledge itself has had a re-vamp and is now (almost) ready to be incorporated into the literacy strategy for the region.

 A group of support for learning colleagues and I have worked together to develop user-friendly guidance for using WordTalk. I 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. We hope to roll this guidance out next term.

I went to 2  secondary schools to train colleagues to interpret the computerised assessment tool, LASS, and have commented on the reports (about 20) they have prepared subsequently. Of course I have attended meetings of the Outreach Service and both Clusters too.

I was lucky enough to win a laptop and software to the value of £1000 in a competition organised by iansyst and dyslexic.com. I plan to trial some of the resources with pupils next term.

I need a holiday!

Dyslexia Support Service termly report

 

My work is very cyclical. Every element of the Dyslexia Support Service has a different emphasis as the session progresses.

I do most of my face to face teaching in the middle months of the school year, while at the beginning of session I tend to focus on assessment and consultation for future planning. The summer term is always busy organising the service development plan for the coming year and completing programmes of study with young people, attending Staged Assessment and Intervention meetings and evaluating learners’ needs for the new session to follow.

 

This term my principal focus has been on assessment and consultation.

 

Assessment: Since August, I have been involved in the assessment of 34 children and young people. Each assessment takes between 2 and 3 hours of my time, not counting the feedback sessions to parents and staff. I use the computerised assessments LASS and CoPS and the British Picture Vocabulary Scale to provide a snapshot of learners’ attainments in literacy, visual and auditory processing, phonological awareness, reasoning and receptive language skills. This complements the observable evidence found in class performance to help us construct a picture of a child’s strengths and difficulties. From here we are better able to develop a personalised programme for each learner. Personalisation does not mean individual learning programmes for each child. Instead it means having a ‘deep understanding of both depth and breadth, creating continuous rich learning opportunities that are real and of their world not apart from their world’. (Greg Whitby)

I spent some time making a short movie illustrating the various components of the computerised assessment. At some point I shall learn how to upload this!

 

Consultation: I have met with teachers from 20 primary schools and 5 of the 6 secondary schools, most of them at least twice. I have answered emails from many, many more! I have spent some considerable and profitable time with 3 teachers new to Support for Learning. This is such a valuable opportunity for us to learn from each other. One has come from another region and brings a wealth of knowledge about different resources which I can then disseminate. The others have recent experience in the classroom and as such provide a refreshing approach to the support role. I can aid their understanding of the processes involved in identifying learners with dyslexia and help them get to know their pupils’ needs more thoroughly. In one school we took some delight in throwing out ancient resources that bear no relation to the reality of learning and teaching today.

It is at these meetings, and those with parents, that we plan any teaching blocks for later in the year. Sometimes I am not directly involved with individual pupils but support school staff to use alternative strategies to engage learners.

 

Meetings with parents: I have met 12 sets of parents this term, some of them more than once, to discuss their children’s profiles of learning and ways to address their requirements.

 

Teaching: This term I have only worked with 3 groups of young people. One block was to help an S4 student in making notes on his Physics and English course work as memory aides for exam revision. I used the same techniques of Mind Mapping (with paper and pens as well as Kidspiration and Inspiration) with the P6/7 class in a small school. My 3rd group of 3 P7s needed support in keyboard skills and shortcuts in word processing.

 

In-service training: In addition to the regular informal training I offer colleagues during consultation I have tried to raise awareness about dyslexia to newly qualified teachers and to the staff of a primary school so far this session. I contributed to  East Lothian’s Literacy Newsletter and attended meetings to take the Literacy Strategy forward for learners with dyslexia.

For my own professional development, I have read a great deal and attended several talks in my own time, and attended the Scottish Learning Festival, to develop my own knowledge and understanding. I joined Cluster Meetings where all Support for Learning teachers come together to discuss issues and learn about new developments.

 

It’s been a busy start to session as usual. I’m looking forward to the break. I hope all who read this manage to have one too.