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Dyslexia training to be mandatory in Initial Teacher Training

(120 Posts)
5beasts Wed 03-Oct-12 21:19:25

Big ask - this petition needs 100,000 in order for this issue to get Parliamentary time. Believe it or not, student teachers currently are not taught about dyslexia, a condition that affects 1 in 10 people. More signatures urgently needed. Please could you sign this, then pass it on to your friends. There is less than a month left to get 85,000 signatures!

IndigoBelle Mon 03-Dec-12 19:56:25

mrz - what playSchool describes is what I've found at secondary.

DSs teachers have guessed he's on the SEN register, but they don't know why.

Luckily he doesn't require support in class anymore.......

mrz Mon 03-Dec-12 20:00:18

My experience with secondary was that the teachers knew but weren't willing to make changes for one child

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 20:30:49


In response to your post before.

I don't blame teachers at all, I think they already have to jump through enough hoops. I do however, totally disagree with the system and feel in many cases it doesn't work. Why are all FE students assessed via a diagnostic test and further action taken when necessary, yet dc who should be supported immediately are left struggling for years. I believe all dc should be assessed as older students are, of course with an opt out if a parent chooses.
Just because they are making progress doesn't mean to say they don't have a problem. I know priority should be for those that strategies have failed, but anybody with a disability or sn should be entitled to help.

mrz Mon 03-Dec-12 21:15:41

I would argue that most children are assessed via diagnostic tests in primary and secondary schools morethanpotatoprints and provided with appropriate support but since there is no agreed definition of dyslexia and the label covers a huge spectrum of difficulties not all of which can be corrected in school unfortunately no matter how good the teachers knowledge

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 21:26:39

mrz teachers should adapt their lessons even for one child. It is not hard. Worksheets can be made with word banks or writing frames for the dyslexic child. They can be printed on cream paper. Dyslexic children should not be expected to copy from the board or even asked to read out loud. These are all simple adaptations that teachers are expected to make but few do.
Outrageous IMHO.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 21:32:54

Hello Mrz.

Tbh I don't think its should be down to the teacher and I understand what you are saying about no agreed definition. However, the test my students took was good enough to highlight any connection to all specific learning difficulties. I know there are other sn that dc might encounter but assessing for sld would be a start. It is the referral from the test that was the important bit and students including myself were diagnosed within a couple of weeks.
Now my point is, if it is so easy to administer assessment why aren't all dc/ parents offered this? It seems so logical, especially if there are several indicators, including other professionals working with the dc identifying problems. It must be down to costs and this is wrong imo.

IndigoBelle Mon 03-Dec-12 21:39:07

It's not the testing that's the problem. It's the supporting them in class.

You don't need a test to say that a child is struggling with reading or writing.

That's why they don't test. They know the child has difficulties.

Doesn't help the teachers know how to teach them though does it.

A child can't read. Teacher is doing everything they can for them. How's a test going to help?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 21:40:11


I have just read your post and agree with you wholeheartedly.

I know I am from a completely different era but can verify the humiliation felt when asked to read out loud. Copying off a board, only to get halfway and then the rest rubbed out. (I'm sure this wouldn't happen now).
The worst one was reading a story and having an open class comprehension, being singled out and punished for not concontrating because you hadn't listened. When you had, but didn't remember a thing.
I know times and methods have changed but the problems still exist and until a trained professional who understands these problems is actually in the class with these dc, their chances will not improve.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 21:53:55


I agree about the support in class. I mention testing because whilst I don't necessarily agree with labelling, at one time it did seem to open doors for support. If this is not the case now I apologise for my ignorance.

I do know that my dd is dyslexic and dyspraxic as she has very similar problems to me. She received Speech Therapy during pre - school years and development was slow.
I told school on entry and they said they would monitor her. She struggled through rec, y1, y2, y3 but because she got a level 2a and a 3 during sats there was no way they would aknowledge any problem.
She is now H.ed, not for these reasons I must add. There are several areas in which I am worried and I am always looking for strategies and different methods to get certain aspects across. The difference is I have all day to do this on a 1 to 1 basis. It is mad to expect a teacher to do all this and teach 29 others. What works in one case, may not work for another.
So bearing this in mind surely the problem is one of complexity, not just ITT, or qualified teachers, or testing, or even support but a mix of all of these.

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 21:55:01

indigo It is not as simple as you seem to think. Sadly, my DS' school share your opinion.

Every dyslexic child is different and there is a multitude of factors that will cause a child to struggle with reading and writing. It may be auditory processing, working memory, visual processing, eye tracking and so on that hinder a child's progression. It is vital to find the cause of the dyslexia to address the problem. It is just not true that one method of intervention will suit all pupils struggling with literacy.

There are a lot of young people leaving school with very low levels of literacy. I'd say that part of the reason for this is because not enough is done for dyslexics.

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 21:56:36

Morethanpotatoprints agreed!

mrz Mon 03-Dec-12 22:02:31

"^However, the test my students took was good enough to highlight any connection to all specific learning difficulties.^"

The test identifies the specific learning difficulties but doesn't identify the cause of those difficulties which in many cases requires interventions from "medical" professionals

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 22:15:21


Yes I agree, but that was my point. As soon as a problem was identified on the diagnostic test we were told to advise them to go to inclusive learning. From there they were given an appointment to see the right professional. I worked in a degenerated area, with high unemployment and few of my students had more than 2 GCSE's at D grade. Many of them tested had sld that had not been picked up during their school years. I find this sad that so many people are unable to reach their potential at school.
The test itself was only a simple yes/no do you struggle with x, type of test done on the computer. We are also only talking about 2008/9 so not all that long ago.
The weird thing is that I also took this test with my first students during ITT, they witnessed me receiving my report and a few of us went off to inclusive learning together. I have never looked back and now I understand why I struggle sometimes and I don't feel stupid anymore.
There are thousands of people who go through life and don't have the opportunity to realise their potential, it has to stop.

IndigoBelle Tue 04-Dec-12 05:52:53

PlaySchool - I am absolutely aware of all the underlying problems dyslexics have.

My point is that knowing this doesn't help teachers at all. They have no way of helping with auditory or visual or memory problems. There are no effective interventions out there (which are available to school) which help.

So why bother testing for stuff you can't help with? Again it is obvious if a child has a memory problem. No way does a teacher need to be told this by an EP.

There is lots parents can do for these problems. But as schools don't know what parents can do, and they certainly won't recommend anything in the private sector to parents, again what's the point?

I have cured my DDs severe dyslexia through a huge amount of things. The school EP report did not help one bit. School helped not one bit. And all of the things I did for her school couldn't have done or recommended

For example going gluten free dairy free helped tremendously with DDs dyslexia. School are never going to recommend that. Neither are EPs

While schools and EPs are only allowed to recommend free or virtually free things and while they're only allowed to recommend things that have the LEA / NHS backing their reports and recommendations and support are worthless.

Ronaldo Tue 04-Dec-12 06:15:27

This may come as shock but Iknowwho all the DC with SN are in my classess. I knw what their needs are too. I do not get this information from a register but usually from the pupils.

I know who gets extra time and who gets a computer ( and why) and even those who get readers. I also know their ALIS and GCSE predictions and in some cases the ed psych report is on my desk ( given to me by the pupils parents.).

This though does not change my teaching very much. At the end of the day it is not my job to support the students but theirs to find strategies to help themselves. No amount of my support will change the fact they will sit an exam in exam conditions as everyone else does.

I have a couple of students I send notes and ws on the computer for.
I do run the extra time in class tests. I will act as reader when required
(although other pupils will do this too).

Anything else is their own responsibility as they have to become independent learners and work it out for themselves. No one in RL is going to "support" them.

I have some lovely hard working and bright SN ( usually dyslexic) who do well. But its down to them not me. I am tired of all this making the teacher do it all or blaming the teacher.

What do parents want me to do? Sit the exam for them? Then tell it to the exam boards and Mr. Gove.

nooka Tue 04-Dec-12 06:26:08

My dyslexic son received neither assessment nor assistance at primary school. Having him assessed privately meant that he got more understanding but that was about it. He was recently reassessed (completely different schooling system as we've emigrated) with pretty much the same result. This time around the SENCO equivalent said she'd never seen results like his, as in their experience dyslexic children were never also gifted (ds is very verbally adept but struggles to write, which to me is pretty classic dyslexia).

I don't believe that teachers get nearly enough SEN training (dh had none when he did his secondary PGCE) and think that SENCOs should be abolished and replaced by people who actually know what they are talking about because they have been properly trained.

I was also saddened by jabed's comments. My other child is (as far as we know) NT, and this is the case across my family, with most of my generation going to independent selective schools, dyslexic and NT too. Given the range of different SENs, SNs, mental health issues, emotional challenges of one sort or another that children experience growing up etc etc it is ridiculous to suggest that there should be special schools for those who will never have any problems (how would you know in any case?) and somewhere else for everyone else.

I have worked in healthcare and even there if you don't have an understanding of people (and those with extra needs receive healthcare too) you'd struggle to be a good doctor if you have any patient contact at all (and those that don't can be and often are terrible doctors sad to say).

PlaySchool Tue 04-Dec-12 11:37:21

Ronaldo It sounds like you ARE giving support to SEN kids.

I agree, dyslexics need to be independent learners but I do think that teaching must take into account their needs. I never said they should do nothing for themselves!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 04-Dec-12 14:50:05


You are definitely supporting those children.

There are plenty of teachers who won't know which children are on a sn register, nor even see a copy of the report.
You do what is necessary to support and this imo is all any parent could want from you.
However, I do agree that there does need to be training for other professionals to help dcs find strategies and working methods to become independant learners, the same as every child learns this through school college and university, to different degrees.
I too agree that a teacher knowing of a dcs sn doesn't provide support in itself. But understanding and allowance can go along way in supporting the dc to become confident and know they can learn.

mrz Tue 04-Dec-12 17:26:16

My son's many EPs said my son should use a computer for his work in Secondary school but none of his teachers would accept word processed work and insisted he copied work and homework from the board even though they were well aware of his problems ...

morethanpotatoprints Tue 04-Dec-12 22:59:38


I think thats disgusting, did you complain and what was their response if you did? I ask because how is that attitude being fully inclusive.
I can remember during my PGCE they harked on about inclusivity almost constantly and throughout our written work and teaching observations we had to demonstate where we had achieved this.
There again, it seems like Post Compulsory there is far more emphasis put on to support and diagnosis. I know I keep saying this but why can't it happen when they are younger, why wait until college. It seems so unfair.

Mrz. I certainly would have followed the recommendations in the report because I would have been in so much trouble had I not. angry

Niceweather Wed 05-Dec-12 06:45:34

I think there are many reasons why nothing is done earlier but one might be that you find yourself on dodgy ground if you try and differentiate between children. One child with dyslexia might be underachieving by several years but might be within average range whereas another child might be working at the top end of their ability and also in the average range. My DS is chugging along in the average range yet underachieving drastically. There are loads of children who will be doing worse than he is. Why should he get any extra help? You have to be 2 years behind average to qualify for help. Someone with dyslexia could be 5 years behind their potential based on IQ but still in average range - a bit of a minefield for a teacher to negotiate so easier to ignore. By the time they get to college, it will be more obvious that they are actually, surprise surprise, quite bright and have difficulties that are not in line with their intelligence.

PlaySchool Wed 05-Dec-12 10:06:30

Niceweather You have an excellent point. All my kids have literacy difficulties and I had one tested and found that he is moderately to severely dyslexic. His teacher told me in Yr 4 before I had him tested that he would get no extra help because there were children in the class far worse than him. After I got the diagnosis the school had to pull their finger out and his grades went up significantly.
My point would be that all children should be encouraged to achieve to the best of their ability. Ignored dyslexia is likely to make them slide down.

picketywick Wed 05-Dec-12 12:44:39

A bit of true gossip. Gabby Logans husband, a rugby international, had severe problems at school, which were not treated until he married Gabby.

She amusingly describes how she ended up sitting in a specialists waiting room with hubby and some 11 year olds.

Apparentland teachers had treated him as a boy by sending him into the corridor. Things have improved, surely, since then.

PlaySchool Wed 05-Dec-12 14:28:51

Apparentland teachers had treated him as a boy by sending him into the corridor. Things have improved, surely, since then.

Not much. In Year 4 my dyslexic son had his book held up in front of the whole class as an example of messy work.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 05-Dec-12 18:32:50

Pickety and Playschool.

I'm not sure how old you are but I am ancient. grin. The experience of Gabbys husband is mild compared to how I suffered and others during the time. I was physically and emotionally abused and bullied by teachers throughout school and it was allowed. You can't begin to imagine the sickness I felt every morning knowing it would be exactly the same as the day before. I don't think I will ever truly get over it although I have come to terms with it now.

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