Schools and teachers can take some very simple steps to help every child not only those with a learning difficulty. Making 'reasonable adjustments' in how teachers engage with pupils will help them move towards equality of access to learning. This will vary depending upon the specific needs of each student. Differentiation by teachers is crucial.
As a teacher you may worry about neglecting the rest of your class as you implement changes for one or two students with learning difficulties. However, even the lowest estimates would indicate 5% of the population are dysexic. Meaning you probably have at least one student in every class with dyslexia and possibly there are additional students that have never been diagnosed. Remember too: dyslexia is just one SpLD.
Simple changes in the way you teach could make all the difference. Wouldn't you prefer every child left school acheiving their full potential?
When a teacher makes changes to help students with learning difficulties, they are making positive changes for the entire class.
Schools and teachers can take simple steps such as:
Avoid making assumptions about a child’s skills
Provide feedback in a confidential manner on an individual basis
Avoid drawing attention to the a child in respect of their learning difficulty
On a more practical level you could ask your child’s teacher(s) to:
Provide handouts at the end of lessons. Although for more advanced lessons, providing notes prior to the lesson will help a student prepare.
Produce hand-outs on tinted paper. People with an SpLD often also experience a visual-perceptual discomfort and disturbance known as Meares-Irlen syndrome or scotopic sensitivity which causes black print to "dance" or blur on white paper. There isn't a correct colour, but a pale buff shade seems to be helpful to many.
Produce hand-outs without using “justified” text. Justified text can create large uneven spaces between letters and words, sometimes referred to as the river effect. You can avoid this effect by using left aligned text.
Allowing students to record lesson. Avoid asking students to read aloud or asking specific individuals to respond to questions.
Ensure all guidelines for assignments or practical sessions are unambiguously written and clearly presented.
Whenever possible, provide notes in electronic form, this will enable students to use “text-to-speech software.
In 2004 the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology estimated:
16% of the UK population aged between 16 and 65 (~5.2 million people) lack the skills needed to pass an English GCSE at any grade. The equivalent figure for Mathematics is as high as 47% (~15 million people).