“All of the programmes featured in this publication by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning share valuable experiences and lessons. They reflect a view of effective learning families whereby each child is a member of a family, and within a learning family every member is a lifelong learner. Among disadvantaged families and communities in particular, a family literacy and learning approach is more likely to break the intergenerational cycle of low education and literacy skills..” (Elfert and Hanermann 2014)
On 31 October the Scottish Government published Guidance on “Planning improvements for disabled pupils’ access to education” which “describes the requirements the Act places on education authorities and schools to work to improve the education of disabled learners and to help ensure that they are properly included in, and able to benefit fully from, their school education.”
The Guidance contains two appendices that refer specifically to measures that local authorities should take to improve the accessibility of school ICT and computers. It covers things like installing the Scottish computer voices; having text-to-speech software available; providing access to control panels so that students with disabilities can make adjustments to enable access; etc. The document is available here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/10/8011.
Now that the guidance is published, it will be helpful to get a snapshot of how accessible school computers are across the country, and what might need to be done to improve the accessibility of ICT used in schools.
Please help by completing the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/accessICT.
Thank you very much.
1. Praise Gives Power; Criticism Kills
A dyslexic person needs to have confidence to learn and overcome their difficulties. Because they have experienced failure, deep down they don’t believe they are capable of learning.
Provide the opportunity to succeed.
Give praise for small achievements.
2. Don’t ask a dyslexic to read aloud
Words are likely to be misread or skipped, causing embarrassment.
3. Don’t punish a dyslexic for forgetting things like books or sports kit
Offer positive strategies such as having one place to put things away.
4. Don’t call a dyslexic lazy
Dyslexics have to work harder to produce a smaller amount.
Dyslexics have difficulty staying focused when reading, writing or listening.
5. Expect less written work
A dyslexic may be verbally bright but struggle to put ideas into writing.
Allow a dyslexic more time for reading, listening and understanding.
6. Prepare a printout of homework and stick it in their book
Provide numbered steps, e.g. 1. Do this. 2. Do that etc.
7. Do not expect a dyslexic to copy text from a board or book
Give a printout. Suggest they highlight key areas and draw thumbnail pictures in the margin to represent the most important points.
8. Accept homework created on a computer
Physical handwriting is torture for most dyslexics. Word processors make life much easier. Allow them to use the Spell checker and help with grammar and punctuation so that you can see the quality of the content.
9. Discuss an activity to make sure it is understood
Visualising the activity or linking it to a funny action may help dyslexics remember.
10. Give the opportunity to answer questions orally
Dyslexics can often demonstrate their understanding with a spoken answer but are unable with to put those ideas in writing.
All credit to the Nessy website for these useful tips. You can find further information and support for Teachers, Parents/Carers and students on this site.
CALL Scotland are running an ICT and Literacy Seminar on Wednesday 10th December, 9.30am-1pm.
This FREE event will explore how technology can be used to support learners with additional support needs in assessment of literacy skills. They will look at tools and techniques such as text-to-speech software for accessing reading texts, and for writing, such as spellcheckers, word prediction and speech recognition.
This will be a really worthwhile session to attend either in person or via webinar (details to sign up on the link above). I can feedback to all afterwards as I will be going.
Many students have difficulty reading text. If they are using a computer they can have support to do this using Ivona MiniReader.
Ivona MiniReader is a free simple text reader which adds a floating toolbar on the screen and can read out text from almost any program – Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, web pages etc.. MiniReader can use the free Scottish voice Heather and Stuart and most other voices on your computer.
This should be in the Applications Folder on all school computers: PCs, Thin Clients, laptops and netbooks. If it is not, please log a call with ITServiceDesk@eastlothian.gov.uk to request it. It can be installed remotely.
Remind students to bring in headphones!
The shortlisted titles for this year’s Scottish Children’s Book Awards were announced on August 28th by the Scottish Book Trust. The Book Awards scheme encourages children in schools throughout Scotland to read a selection of the best Scottish children’s books of the past year and to vote for their favourite in three age categories, Bookbug Readers (3 – 7), Younger Readers (8 – 11) and Older Readers (12 – 16). Here are this year’s shortlisted titles:
- Robot Rumpus by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Ross Collins
- Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten by Alison Murray
- Lost for Words by Natalie Russell
- Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion by Alexander McCall Smith
- Pyrates Boy by E.B. Colin
- Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens by Alex McCall
- Mosi’s War by Cathy MacPhail
- Dark Spell by Gill Arbuthnot
- The Wall by William Sutcliffe
CALL Scotland has produced accessible versions of the shortlisted books to allow children with print disabilities (which make it hard for them to access a standard book) to take part in the scheme. Read Allan Wilson’s excellent blog here for full details.
Do you have a student in your class whose native language is not English and you are looking for resources, ideas, classroom support strategies? I thought it was worth reminding people of Janet Storey’s excellent resources and weblinks on the EAL Google site.
Ideal game to encourage young pupils and those with additional support needs to find the keys on the keyboard. Both the upper case and lower case letters are shown and there is a 30 second timer which gives the game speed and accuracy elements.
Try it out at Big Brown Bear.
Scribes are not permitted as a reasonable adjustment when learners are required to show evidence of their writing skills in SQA National Literacy Units (see http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/64698.html) but the use of ICT is allowed:
“In order to minimise the disadvantage faced by some disabled learners in attaining the National Units in Literacy, the use of word processors and other assistive technologies such as screen readers, spell checkers or speech-recognition software would be acceptable as reasonable adjustments.”
(Specification 3 – Literacy Units http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/64702.html)
CALL Scotland have produced this excellent guide on what is required to meet the standard for National 3 Literacy Writing and what assistive technology can be used. Click here to have a look.
Music Therapy Continuing Forward – Thursday 6th March 4.15pm – 6pm, The Red School Prestonpans
You are warmly invited to attend an informative event about music therapy services currently available for children in East Lothian.
Find out more about the value of this specialist approach through case examples and a discussion of music therapy in educational settings. You will have the opportunity to take part in an active music-making workshop to experience the power of music!
Music therapy is currently available in eight schools throughout East Lothian, and provides opportunities for communication, expression, and emotional and social wellbeing. Particularly for children who are struggling in education, music therapy can provide insight into a child’s abilities and needs; and also provide support to help a child succeed.
Since 2011, the East Lothian Music Therapy Steering Group has worked to promote music therapy services for children in a variety of educational and community settings. Following a report published in 2012, the Steering Group continues to raise awareness of the benefits of music therapy and to promote access to services throughout East Lothian. In addition, the Group is interested in exploring collaborative funding opportunities to help support current and future music therapy provision.
RSVP to Lori Tragheim, Community Development Officer at the Red School by Thursday 27th February on firstname.lastname@example.org.