Specific learning difficulties can co-present with other learning difficulties,but children with SPLD may be average or above average in their wider abilities. Specific learning difficulties include things such as dyslexia and dyspraxia.
It depends which estimate you accept, but the British Dyslexia Association says that about one in six children has some form of specific learning difficulty. It's a continuum: it could be a severe disabling problem or a mild case.
We have 10 primary schools with SpLD bases and two secondary schools. These allow early identification and intervention, since schools don't have to wait for an educational psychologist to assess a child.
I work with secondary schools in the east quadrant of the county. That's a big area, from Waltham Abey in the south up to Bishop's Stortford. I go into schools and give advice, help with individual education plans and with teaching programmes. Sometimes I help with screening and assessment.
Most of my work is aimed at departments that have not previously seen children with SPLD as their problem.
Staff are aware that it's their responsibility to meet the child's needs, but they're not sure of how best to do that. A lot of the strategies are simple, such as key word displays: can all the children read the text?
There are three project schools where we can target resources, but I can go into any school to offer support. The early results have been very encouraging; schools are making real progress with these children.
Interview Phil Revell