It is a priority for this consultant to have individualized knowledge of each and every student, so as to motivate the learning or the early detection of any problems that could arise as well as personal orientation throughout the school period.
Different aptitude tests and professional orientation are performed throughout the school years.
Although the Learning Support Department at Laude Lady Elizabeth Senior School is some way from being the largest department in the school it is nevertheless an integral part of school life. Estimates vary but it is generally accepted that approximately 10% of any school population will have Special Educational Needs, including both sexes and all nationalities. Such pupils will therefore need some support if they are to achieve their full potential. Clearly the same applies here at Laude Lady Elizabeth and this is where the Learning Support Department comes in!
The following are estimates of the percentage of pupils in any school who may have the Learning Difficulties mentioned: Dyscalculia (i.e. unexpected difficulty with mathematical problems), 3-6%; Dysgraphia (writing difficulty), no data available; Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, (children with certain behavioural problems), 1%; Aspergers Syndrome, (problems with social communication, social interaction and social imagination), 36 pupils per 10,000 – (well, you do the maths!).
The Lady Elizabeth School has had its share of all the above problems and one or two more besides. It is likely that this situation will continue but the majority of the pupils with whom the Learning Support Department deals are dyslexics. Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci and Hans Christian Anderson, all eminent in their own fields, were dyslexic. Also contemporary role models exist: Richard Branson, highly successful businessman, and Sir Steve Redgrave, record breaking Olympian, are two examples of high achievers who are also dyslexic. So the dyslexic children in this school are in good company!
Above all it must be remembered that dyslexia covers the whole spectrum of intelligence. There are children with low intelligence quotients who are dyslexic just as there are those with very high IQ’s and of course everything in between. It is simply that the brains of dyslexic people function in a different way to most of the rest of us.
The avearge raeedr of tihs snetnece can do so bcuseae the huamn mnid can deychper wrods eevn thuogh tehy are jmubeld up.
To a dsleyxic pesron all wrods can look lkie tihs!
Although dyslexia is a life-long burden, being diagnosed as a sufferer can often be a relief to the child who cannot understand why he/she is not achieving grades commensurate with his/her own perceived intelligence. How is that their friends seem to be progressing so well when they appear to be so slow in literacy development? When they learn that the reason is that they are dyslexic and not at all lacking in
When 16 years old Dyslexic student Jessica Rodriguez was asked how it would affect her if, over night, her Specific Learning Difficulty disappeared, she answered:
“I’d be able to write more – I’d understand what I’m writing – I’d find it easier to revise and organise my work – teachers would notice better written work – I’d have improved spelling and content – I’d be more confident to use bigger words and other children would see me understanding what I am doing.”
In the Learning Support Department we try and tackle the problem of Dyslexia by teaching strategies designed to overcome the problems. Initially many dyslexic students have self-image issues. After a young lifetime of often achieving relatively poor results and producing, through no fault of their own, untidy work they lack confidence and expect to always receive poor grades. Our first job is to re-build that battered confidence.
Although it can be a relief to learn that you are dyslexic, as mentioned above, it can also be stressful. Try as you might it will often be difficult to achieve good grades because: it will not always be easy to understand what you have written: reading privately will be arduous, reading aloud the more so; remembering what you have to do next and recalling your original idea in mid-sentence may be difficult; and spelling will always be an issue. However as pupils become older the worry and the difficulty diminish.
A multi-sensory approach is recommended for teaching dyslexic children. Using different senses to learn, for example, spellings (often a problem area for dyslexics) can be very successful with children delighted that they can now spell words that have always been difficult for them. Strategies such as: spider diagrams; mind maps; essay plans; mnemonics are all ways of overcoming Learning Difficulties.
Pictured here are several Year 7 pupils who are all working on their own spellings using some of the equipment we have in the department. Pupils move to each different station practising their target words, hopefully with the result that at the end of the session they have not only mastered their spellings but also gained the confidence to use the full range of their vocabulary.