Supporting Students with Dyslexia

A seminar presented by Samantha McFarlane and Joanna Parkes, Learning Support Team, Inclusive Education Service, Nottingham City.

“Dyslexia is identified as a disability as defined in the Equality Act 2010. Many of the dyslexic people across the UK, whether adults or children, are unable to fulfil their potential as a large percentage of the population still do not understand what dyslexia is, the difficulties which the condition presents and do not know how best to support them. Dyslexia is not an obvious difficulty; it is hidden. As a result, dyslexic people have to overcome numerous barriers to make a full contribution to society” (British Dyslexia Association).

This seminar will explain what dyslexia is, what the barriers to learning are and what we can do to overcome them. We will help you empathise with dyslexic learners. Many of the strategies we will share with you will be of value for all learners. You will leave the seminar keen to try out the ideas.

Sam McFarlane has been a teacher for over 10 years, and chose to specialise in SEN early on in her career. She has experience of teaching a wide variety of subjects to students with SEN across mainstream schools, Further Education colleges and alternative provision. She is also an experienced SENCo who has worked in both mainstream schools and alternative education provisions. Sam joined Nottingham City Council Inclusive Education Service, The Learning Support team, 3 years ago where she currently works as a specialist SEN advisory teacher, this role enables her to pass on her experience and knowledge to mainstream schools to help them to support the inclusion and achievement of pupils with SEN.

Since joining the Inclusive Education Service Sam has completed her MEd in special educational needs, and qualified to become an Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA) which allows her to formally assess for and identify Dyslexia. She is particularly interested in working with students with literacy difficulties and how teachers can help to remove literacy as a barrier to achievement.

Joanna Parkes joined the Inclusive Education Service last year following a career teaching from Foundation stage to Key Stage 4. Her interest in supporting those with additional needs began in 1995 and led on to her becoming head teacher of a school with a Moderate Learning Difficulties unit. She has explored many areas of education ranging from being an English marker for AQA to participation in NCSL’s online seminars for aspiring deputy and head teachers. Joanna is committed to helping schools support their pupils to overcome the barriers they face through inclusive practice using practical methods to move onwards and upwards.

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