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Neil MacKay
Dyslexia Friendly Strategies & Support

Dyslexia Aware Workshops and Whole School Training in Australia

Another series of workshops, whole school training and parent/child events organised by DAGBAGS – Dyslexia Action Group Gawla and Barossa Surrounds.  Following a great deal of hard work, the Dyslexia Aware Quality Mark I created in New Zealand and UK has been modified by local teachers and parents to meet local needs and it is ready to roll!  A number of schools have already engaged in the entry level requirement of whole school, whole staff training from an accredited trainer and are now working through the self-review procedure.  The schools have bought in to the importance of identifying and responding to the 10-15% 0f students without labels but with clear “Dyslexic type” learning needs.  This is not to marginalise the 4% with assessed Dyslexic needs, but rather to acknowledge that, because of current pressures, it is very difficult for all parents to obtain an assessment and subsequent “diagnosis”.  UK experience in particular shows that, when schools fine tune learning and teaching on behalf of those “Dyslexic type” learners, a number of positive things happen:

  1. All students in a class seem to achieve better because “when we get it right for Dyslexia. We get it right for all”
  2. “Dyslexic type” students learn how to capitalise on strengths and begin to produce ability appropriate evidence of achievement
  3. Students with a formal label of Dyslexia benefit from the Dyslexia Aware strategies and approaches and work well in this supportive environment.
  4. Because more needs are being met through inclusive Dyslexia Aware class teaching, fewer students need specialist support, meaning that those who need it can get more of it.

During my time in the region I will be working with these schools to look at their evidence and to support them to become recognised as the first schools in Australia to earn the Dyslexia Aware Quality Mark.  Other schools are beginning their journey with whole school training events and there is a ground swell of interest and enthusiasm, supported by local DECD colleagues, Principals and parents.

In addition to whole school training I will also be teaching classes while being observed by teachers and then running plenaries to discuss the methods and approaches used.  I will be focussing on whole class approaches which include reluctant writers and/or students who can “think it” and understand it but who struggle to decode at an ability appropriate level.

 

At hte end of my trip I will head to Townsville to continue my consultancy and PD with Hermit Park State School for two days before flying home.

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Client Feedback

The combination of your address to the plenary session at the start, working with individual departments and your presentation to parents and others proved to be remarkably successful. Indeed, overall, it was one of the most successful visits of its kind I have ever seen. Moreover the way you engaged with our staff, some of whom have been quite resistant to some of these notions was outstanding. It is a real gift you have and I thank you for your work with us.
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