A big shout out this week to all our fabulous dyslexic learners!
I have worked with many dyslexic students over the past 15 years and their determination, resilience and individual brilliance never ceases to amaze me.
More than one in ten of us are dyslexic and although literacy and related learning processes can be a struggle, dyslexic learners have unique strengths and talents, not in spite of, but because of their dyslexia. Sadly the education system often fails to celebrate and nurture these talents by putting too much emphasis on literacy and not enough on innovation, creativity and big picture thinking.
However, all is not lost. There have been some fantastic developments recently with new initiatives, charities and free resources that can help to ease the academic stresses that many dyslexics face on a daily basis. Here are just a few…
- During Dyslexia Awareness Week, the British Dyslexia Association are asking schools and workplaces to put aside half an hour of time to share information on dyslexia and explore how to empower dyslexia in their school or organisation. They have produced some free downloadable packs with ideas and resources here.
- Check out the amazing work being done by the global charity Made by Dyslexia, who are challenging traditional views of dyslexia. If you need any convincing about the strengths and talents of dyslexic individuals, their report called the Value of Dyslexia is both informative and inspiring.
- Microsoft now have some brilliant free assistive technology resources available through Office 365, built into Windows 10, Word online and One Note. The features that I think are particularly brilliant are the picture dictionary (if you can’t read a particular word, you simply click on it and a picture appears representing the meaning of the word). It also syllabalises words, highlights key grammar functions such as all adjectives and nouns. It is available for free to ALL schools so we need to spread the word. For more information, here is Arran Smith (Microsoft) explaining the features of the free reading tool on Microsoft windows that may really help dyslexic students.
- You can also download the Office Lens app onto your phone. Take a photo of text from any book and then access the text using this immersive reader viewing tool – it will then read the text aloud to you. Simply brilliant.
- Please check out Caroline Bateman’s website. She has a passion for transforming dyslexic learning and provides free advice via a new Youtube Channel and monthly newsletters for parents and educators, focusing on how technology can transform dyslexic learning; it’s well worth subscribing to!
- One final free resource this week comes from Nessy.com as part of their Go Green for Dyslexia campaign to raise money for the Dyslexia Trust. For this week only they are offering 1 user access to free adult dyslexia training covering 6 modules. Access it here by using code: GGDT19
Sarah Cox, SEN Consultant