#007 Dyslexia and the School System

This week we talk with a fabulous school teacher about her experience in the classroom with dyslexia and the school system. Donna Sparke is a passionate, committed teacher who recently began teaching in Australia after many years experience in schools in the United Kingdom. It’s interesting to get her perspective. She has first hand experiences of how different policies, structures, and the strategies in place for children with learning difficulties significantly impacts the culture of the school and ultimately the success or failure of children who face challenges.

One of those clear aspects is in regard to integration which is still a relatively newly introduced concept in Australian schools. We also get a disheartening shock to hear that Donna estimates about 40% of her students have some sort of learning difficulty. We speculate that the impact of a low socio-ecomic community and lack of supports within the school structure may significantly contribute to those numbers. Particularly given the challenges teachers and students face with the diagnostic process and what seems to be a “wait to fail” approach to learning difficulty intervention in Australian public schools.

Finally, we discuss one of the specific difficulties with NAPLAN and the need to spend time preparing children for the process of being examined. Then we take a look at some of the assistive tech currently available in the classroom and see how challenging it can be to make accommodations for students with learning disabilities when there is not an effective strategy in place.

It’s an intense and perhaps discouraging picture of our Australian School System but an important look at the challenges teachers and students are facing. At Aulexic, we’re passionate about effecting change. Too often we hear from parents, teachers, and dyslexics of the ignorance or failure of schools to address the diverse learning needs of students. The challenges they face due to outmoded policies and ineffective interventions mean more and more children progress through the school system without having their needs met. What’s more, they are experiencing significant emotional trauma during the process that has a lifelong impact. We want to break this cycle. We want to see change and we need your help.

We’d like to hear from anyone who has any experience of learning difficulties in the school system, be that teachers, administrators, psychologists, parents, or students. Please, get in touch with us by email (tlc@aulexic.com.au) because we would love to chat with you about your experience, the challenges you may have faced, and any of the beacons of light out there where schools or teachers are getting things right and students are finding the support they need. Let’s get a clearer picture of exactly what the situation is so that we can better understand how to go about ensuring our children and their children grow up in a world where their learning differences are truly understood, accommodated, and that every child has the support they need to get the education they deserve.

I want to leave this weeks show notes with this important message for parents and teachers. This beautiful post on Teachers Pay Teachers is fantastic inspiration and motivation for the challenging journey ahead. You Are Enough! (It’s Time To Believe It)

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