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Special Needs Affecting Language and Communication

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  1. Special Needs AffectingLanguage and Communication Dyslexia Module: Special Needs Assisting Ms. Lisa McKee

  2. Learning Outcomes • To highlight the meaning, causes, diagnosis, symptoms and treatments of dyslexia. • To confirm the prevalence and prognosis of dyslexia. • To discuss the role of a SNA when supporting a child with dyslexia. • To read about famous people with dyslexia.

  3. Meaning of Dyslexia • Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that makes it more difficult for people to learn to read, write and spell correctly. Flood, E. (2010:150)

  4. Prevalence • Estimates for the prevalence of dyslexia (both mild and more severe) vary widely at between 4 and 10 per cent. • This varies depending on poverty and social disadvantage of the child.

  5. Causes • Morton and Frith (19950 highlighted that dyslexia can be described at 3 different levels: • A biological level (in terms of brain structure, what causes dyslexia?) • A cognitive level (in terms of brain functioning, what causes dyslexia?) • A behavioural level (symptoms of dyslexia)

  6. Causes :Biological • Developmental dyslexia is the term used to describe when there is a genetic link with dyslexia. • This is when one member or more of a family show symptoms of dyslexia.

  7. Biological :Cerebellum • Research with children with dyslexia indicates deficits in the functioning of the cerebellum. • The cerebellum is the area of the brain that is associated with the automatisation of skills. • Research found that children with dyslexia require significantly more time both to acquire a new skill and for it to become automatic.

  8. Biological :Visual • Some people with dyslexia report what is called visual discomfort. They may experience headaches and eyestrain and report that the words around on the page in front of them. • This is thought to be due to a deficit in an area of the brain called the visual magnocellular system. • Wearing glasses or coloured worksheets can ease this.

  9. Biological: Cognitive • This is broken into 2 parts: • Phonological processing is the ability to translate letters and words into sounds.Children with dyslexia are not to naturally do this and must learn to do so in a very deliberate way. • Short term memory skills where children are required to remember numbers and letters strings (i.e. a,b,c) show children with dyslexia tend to have poorer short-term memory.

  10. Symptoms • Early speech and language problems. • Mix up sounds of words and order of numbers. • Confuse directions (left and right) • Difficulty remembering common sequences (days of the weeks, tables) • Poor pencil control and awkward handwriting. • Unable to pair speech sounds with letters and vice versa. • Confuse words and letters that look alike cat/act. • Have difficulty copying words and numbers from a book or blackboard. • Have difficulties recalling the names of people, words or objects. • Persistent spelling problems. • Reading aloud may be difficult or embarrassing. • May be clumsiness and untidy. • There is often a marked difference between verbal and written ability.

  11. Diagnosis • A qualified educational psychologist can carry out a number of assessments in order to diagnosis a child with dyslexia.

  12. Assessments to Diagnosis • The most common of the assessments used in Irish primary schools are: • Drumchondra test (reading and maths) • Micra-t test (reading) • Results from these tests are usually presented as percentile scores. These scores indicate how well a child is doing in comparison to other children his/her age.

  13. Treatment • If diagnosis of dyslexia has been made, the child is likely to need extra tuition. • The options available fall into two categories: • School-based supports • Outside school supports.

  14. School-based Supports • Support from class teacher. • Learning support teacher. • Resources teacher. • Enrolment in a special reading school.

  15. Outside school supports • Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI) • One-to-one support from a DAI tutor. • D.A.I. workshops, exams classes and summer schools.

  16. Prognosis • In general, how well a child with dyslexia progresses depends on: • The severity of their dyslexia. • How soon they receive proper supports and interventions. • The quality of the supports. • General levels of motivation/encouragement home/school. • How well their other talents and abilities are recognised and encouraged.

  17. Role of the SNA • Be informed about dyslexia. • Helping the class teacher prepare class work for the child. (coloured paper, speaking notes onto tape) • Helping the child take down work off the board. • Helping the child organise themselves and copies. • Offering praise and support. • Listening to the child reading aloud in a less public place than the classroom.

  18. Famous people with Dyslexia • Walt Disney • Mohammad Ali • Steven Spielberg • John F. Kennedy • Whoopi Goldberg • Sir Winston Churchill • John Lennon • Sir. Richard Branson • Leonardo De Vinci • Pablo Picasso • Cher • Steve Jobs • Orlando Bloom • Tom Cruise