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Debbie shares how she is succeeding in supporting her pupils after training with The British Dyslexia Association

Friday 29 April 2022

I have been a primary school teacher for over 10 years and prior to this a teaching assistant. In my time as a teacher I was becoming increasingly aware that some of my pupils were struggling with their reading, writing and spelling skills. All strategies learnt from past training as a teacher and those learnt from ‘trial-and-error’ techniques were still not allowing these pupils to achieve in the way I felt they could.

A lot of the pupils in my care were showing some of the classic signs of Dyslexia (memory issues, poor spelling and struggling to remember instructions) when asking for assessments through educational psychology routes we were told that the pupils were too young to assess. I wanted to support these pupils earlier in their education and provide them with strategies linked to support Dyslexic learners so that they would not have to struggle for years until they could be assessed.

I began to research and read up on Dyslexia in the hope that I could learn some new ways to support pupils in my care. This proved very tricky as all the literature discussed ways that Dyslexic learners were hindered in progressing but didn’t offer ways to support and techniques to try. I then came across the British Dyslexic Association website, here there were a variety of courses linked to offering support and strategies for those with Dyslexia. I joined their reading, writing and spelling courses easily via their website and attended the courses through their virtual learning link.

This approach has allowed me, from the comfort of my own home, learn why Dyslexic learners struggle with their reading, writing and spelling and techniques and activities that could help. Also, the course leader was very eager for us all as professionals, parents and specialist support staff that were attending the course to discuss strategies and ways that we found helpful thus sharing our own good practice.

I left the 3 courses full of new ideas and more confident that I could support these learners in the best way for them. Based on the specific areas that they were struggling in, I put into place all the new skills and strategies learnt from the courses and in a few short months the standardised scores of pupils that were in a severely low/ below average range prior to me attending the courses had all moved to within the lower end of average standardised scores. This was the biggest improvement that these pupils had had in their education since starting primary school.

I can’t recommend highly enough the British Dyslexia Association courses for those who want to find out more about Dyslexia and for educational professionals who want to start supporting these pupils before they can be assessed. I have been so impressed with the courses that I have recently applied and been accepted onto their Level 5 Certificate in Dyslexia course and hope to progress and complete the Level 7 course later so that alongside being a class teacher I can also become a specialist Dyslexia teacher supporting pupils as soon as they need the interventions and therefore providing them with the tools to access their education with ease as soon as possible.