4th March 2005 at 00:00
Supporting Children with Dyslexia. Supporting Children with Speech and Language Difficulties. By Hull Learning Services. David Fulton. pound;10 each

These books are part of a series designed to provide an up-to-date overview of specific needs for Sencos, teachers, other professionals and parents.

They aim to raise awareness and address the many issues involved in creating inclusive environments.

Supporting Children with Dyslexia provides an excellent overview. The learning difficulty is clearly described and usefully contrasted with hyperlexia and dyspraxia. The book covers primary and secondary schools and the section on work placements is particularly useful.

However, some discussion of the practical and philosophical implications of withdrawal would have been helpful. A number of experts believe that dyslexic children will not improve their literacy without an appropriate multi-sensory programme. This guide does not address the difficult question of where, in an already crowded timetable, this can fit. Other experts emphasise the role of counselling. Counselling is merely implied in the section "Emotional Issues" - its importance demands its own chapter.

The book on speech and language difficulties includes useful descriptions of the normal development of speech and language. The suggested strategies for developing attention, listening and language skills are eminently practical and can easily be incorporated into primary classrooms.

The focus of this book seems to be primary schools: exam concessions and work experience are not mentioned. Surprisingly, there is also no mention of Makaton, a language programme that uses speech, sign and symbols to aid communication.

Gina Crowley

Teacher at Cedars school, Gateshead

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