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Working with dyslexia

DYSLEXIA AND READING: A Neuropsychological Approach. By Jean Robertson. Whurr pound;19.50

DYSLEXIA AND INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY: A Guide for Teachers and Parents. By Anita Keates. David Fulton pound;13

INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLANS: Dyslexia. By Janet Tod. David Fulton pound;13

ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT DYSLEXIA HIGH ACHIEVERS. Photocopiable resource pack. By L Whitworth and S Purkiss. The Chalkface Project pound;25. Tel: 01908 340340

The neuroscience of learning difficulty may be characterised as immature. Moreover, neurological theories frequently exist in lurid popularisations, whose high colour and simple contours may mislead teachers.

But Jean Robertson manages to give a logical account of the major theories of brain organisation and their implications for teaching. Her first chapter takes in Geschwind, Paulesu, Fawcett, Nicolson, Tallal, Stein and Livingstone with a succinctness that will delight those doing post-graduate diplomas. She even encompasses hormones and gender differences. From an introductory tour of neuroscience and its relevance to reading, Robertson moves on to possible theoretically-based intervention rationales.

Here Bakker looms large, but it seems premature to assimilate his L-type (linguistic) and P-type (perceptual) poor readers to preferences for whole-word (direct) and alphabetic (indirect) "routes" for reading. Dual route theory is retreating, with the "visual" route becoming increasingly orthographic, while Frith's popular 1985 stage theory should perhaps be allowed at last to fade.

All the same, hard evidence is marshalled for the effectiveness of specific left and right-hemisphere stimulation, using both computer-mediated laboratory techniques and classroom materials designed in accordance with Bakker's principles. The theories can have direct implications for teaching approaches and many others will want to follow where Jean Robertson, wth intriguing sample cases, has led.

DYSLEXIA AND INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY: A Guide for Teachers and Parents. By Anita Keates. David Fulton pound;13

Anita Keates's useful guide to information and communications technology issues and resources goes beyond an instantly out-of-date software listing, to discuss educational paths from the point of view of dyslexic children and their families and teachers. This serves both as a reassuring introduction and a realistic guide to what technology will (and will not) achieve. Voice-processing is a technology louder in promise than performance but it is little discussed here, perhaps because there is so much at entry-level that needs careful elucidation first.

INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLANS: Dyslexia. By Janet Tod. David Fulton pound;13

Janet Tod's systematic fulfilment of the design and use of the individual education plan (IEP) at Stage 2 and above of the Code of Practice sticks firmly to "consensus" and the formulations of official publications, which themselves lag several years behind informed or imaginative practice.

But there is no doubt that most dyslexic children face teachers who lack specialist training and who will need such a detailed framework in order to improvise relevant provisions without adequate funding.

ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT DYSLEXIA HIGH ACHIEVERS. Photocopiable resource pack. By L Whitworth and S Purkiss. The Chalkface Project pound;25. Tel: 01908 340340

This pack includes 65 plans or ideas that address diverse needs, such as keyboard use, mind-mapping, abbreviations, visual memory training and the use of diagrams in science to reduce writing demands.

These will all supplement, but not substitute for, the core need of more able dyslexic pupils, which is an individual structured, multisensory, cumulative learning programme.

Martin Turner is head of psychology at The Dyslexia Institute

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