North Chadderton

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The Oak Trust

Specific Learning Difficulties

DYSLEXIA

This is incredibly common, with approximately 10% of the population affected by dyslexia to varying degrees. Many people think dyslexia is all about reading and writing, but there are multiple areas of learning that can be affected, as shown in the image below.

 

DYSPRAXIA

This is thought to have a similar prevalence to dyslexia, but, in my experience, tends to be less recognised and understood in schools. The main aspect of the condition that people tend to remember is coordination, but look at the image below to see what other areas are affected. Also note the crossover aspects between dyslexia and dyspraxia.

DYSCALCULIA

This is another common yet under-diagnosed specific learning difficulty. Being 'bad at maths' is not the sole indicator of dyscalculia. Listen to this lady's experiences with the condition, then take a look at the mind-map below. Again, you will notice some crossover. It is not unusual for people to receive a diagnosis for more than one condition. For example, ASD and ADHD often have comorbidity.

CLASSROOM STRATEGIES

Before delving into the condition-specific links below, it is worth bearing in mind that some simple approaches are highly appreciated by students with SpLD:

  • Reduce your 'teacher talk' and simplify your language

  • Provide explicit, step-by-step instructions, and repeat if necessary

  • Check in with students to ensure they can tell you what they need to do

  • Allow extra time for students to complete activities

  • Sit students away from distractions and with good role models

  • Reduce copying from the board, and use dyslexia-friendly fonts and backgrounds in your presentations

  • Use Cloze activities to check understanding and reduce writing

  • Provide learning materials, such as PowerPoints, at the start of the lesson, and allow students to access these using their device

  • Allow them to take class notes using their device, and check they are organising these effectively (e.g. let them create a Google Document for a new topic, which they then share with you)

  • Use graphic organisers to help students with planning, organising, and sequencing

  • Use check-lists for students to tick off aspects of a longer task as they progress