Supporting Pupils with Dyslexia

What is Dyslexia?
 
Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. 
  • Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.
Pupils with dyslexia often find it hard to make skills automatic and usually have a persistent difficulty with spelling.
 
What can we do at home to help?
  • Give lots of praise and encouragement to keep motivation high.
  • Allow additional 'thinking' time when answering questions and in conversations.
  • Encourage the use of memory aids - pictures, symbols, word prompts, songs, rhymes. 
  • Play games to help memory and sequencing also to help them hear sounds in words.
  • Share reading activities - taking turns, listening to audio books and reading to your child will ensure that they continue to enjoy books whilst improving their skills.
  • Help your child develop good habits for study and homework.
  • Make activities fun and different - try using all the senses.
  • Give lots of opportunities for over learning/repetition in a variety of ways.
  • Be aware they may tire more easily because of the additional cognitive effort required.
 
Supporting Dyslexia at school
 
The British Dyslexia Association suggest that 10% of the UK may have dyslexia with about 4% severely affected.  This means that there could be 1 learner with severe dyslexia and about 3 learners with moderate dyslexia in any class of 25.
 
At Banwell, we strive to be a Dyslexia Friendly School which means that many adaptations and strategies that support children with this specific learning difficulty are already in place.  If school and/or parents suspect dyslexia, the pupil is added to the Special Needs Register, to be monitored by the SENCO and an individual dyslexia support plan is agreed with the teacher and parents. (See example below.)
 
We have invested in Teaching Assistants in every class so that personalised support is available and seen as part of our universal provision - not as something that makes children feel different. We also regularly monitor and review how children are supported in our pupil progress meetings and this is shared with parents at parents’ evenings.
 
How do I get a formal diagnosis?
 
 We do not formally assess children for dyslexia. We do have limited access to a dyslexia screening programme which although won't give a formal diagnosis, will provide more specific assessment information in different areas including phonological awareness, processing speed, working memory etc.  This is in line with what other local primary schools do.

Some parents believe their children need a diagnosis to access extra support. This is not the case. 

When children take the Key Stage 2 SATs in Year 6, they do not need a formal diagnosis of a specific learning difficulty to access support. We plan for the best type of support needed for individuals which may include a scribe, or additional time or using a reader etc.  This plan is usually shared with parents months before the tests take place.  

Some parents choose to pay for a private assessment for dyslexia themselves but as a school we do not require parents to do this. Neither do the secondary schools. Our feeder secondary schools are more than happy with the information we currently provide on transition if we suspect a child has dyslexia.

Useful Websites:
 
British Dyslexia Association
Helpline 0845 251 9002
 
Dyslexia Action