Reaching a dyslexic dodger

DYSLEXICS develop avoidance and coping strategies, Moira Thom-son, principal teacher of learning support at Broughton High, Edinburgh, told the conference.

They can be disruptive, uncooperative, forget homework, lose books and complain of headaches or sore tummies. The condition can affect concentration. "Never assume that incomplete work or disruptive behaviour is due to lack of effort," Ms Thomson said.

All teachers have a responsibility to recognise and cope with a range and diversity of difficulties. Each pupil has a distinctive pattern of problems. Some have poor phonic skills, some bizarre spelling and others low self-esteem and short scrappy, disorganised writing. Memory can be affected.

In primary, dyslexic pupils benefited from structure in the day and limited movement around the building. They had peer support and one class teacher.

Teachers should never ask pupils with dyslexia to read aloud. They may be unable to read at the same rate as the class or get stuck on specific words. They may also be unable to copy work into notebooks.

Teachers can help by using paired or group discussions, story boards or graphics and audio tapes.

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