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Student with Dyslexia requires special teacher

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05.DEC.08

Editor: I was extremely pleased to hear Dr. Ralph Gonsalves mention Dyslexia whilst addressing the teachers’ graduation in Special Needs teaching. Dyslexia is a Specific Learning Difficulty, one of many of the learning difficulties that teachers will encounter.{{more}}

Ten years ago, I submitted to the Ministry of Education items of importance pertaining to learning difficulties, Dyslexia in particular, and left information there concerning the introduction of SENCO’s (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators) These are fully qualified teachers who are specifically trained in special needs and should be assigned to every school. This of course will take time and resources to implement. However, learning difficulties have many facets and teachers need SPECIFIC training to be able to recognize the difficulties presented, assess the level of attainment of the student and plan a teaching programme to suit that individual. Teachers need to keep themselves constantly up to date with new research and teaching ideas. Many of the theories and practices that are currently expounded in teaching colleges do not address students with specific learning difficulties adequately. Teachers come into the classroom with the bare bones of knowledge concerning difficulties and find a student who may not be able to read, spell, calculate, behave or socialize appropriately according to his/her chronological age. This student is then relegated to the back of the class and /or given ‘remedial help’ which in most cases is NOT effective. “More of the same”!

The student with Dyslexia requires a particular teaching methodology. This is the student that is intellectually within or above the average range. Dyslexia occurs despite normal teaching, and is independent of socio-economic background or intelligence. It is more easily detected with those that have average or above average intelligence.

Dr. Gonsalves referred to the number of 35 possible dyslexics within any one school. That could possibly indicate at least 5 persons with a specific learning difficulty within each grade if not more! Dyslexics are thought to make up at least 4% of all students in schools and affects boys more than girls with a ratio of 4:1.

Lynden Punnett Dip.SpLD(Dyslexia)

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