Written by Caroline White, Student Support (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It is thought that around 16% of the population are dyslexic thinkers. Currently, around 500 students studying at Aberystwyth University have disclosed a Specific Learning Difference, such as Dyslexia. Other students hope to forget the negative experiences associated with the “dyslexic” label or cannot afford the assessment process and so do not engage with Study Skill (Student) Support.
Some dyslexics struggle through school and then thrive in university and win dissertation prizes. Other dyslexic thinkers’ strategies work until their environment changes eg weekly reading loads significantly increase. The issues usually arise when there is a significant mismatch between the presentation of the learning material and the individual’s ways of learning.
Dyslexic skills underpin much academic work. Areas in which many dyslexic thinkers have been found to be above average are: visualising, imagining, communicating, reasoning, connecting and exploring. The risk is that these strengths are missed when written communication is used to find out what someone understands.
3 key recommendations for inclusive teaching and supporting dyslexic learners:
Be Specific – students can then use their energy to work more efficiently and experience less anxiety
Be Transparent – so that students understand the processes of developing academic skills
Be Mindful – as our students’ experiences are so varied, including the impact of the Covid pandemic
Short Aberystwyth video:
The Creative Brilliance of Dyslexia | Kate Griggs (15 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYM40HN82l4
The true gifts of a dyslexic mind | Dean Bragonier (17 mins) https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dyslexia+ted+talk
External web sites
Made by Dyslexia https://www.madebydyslexia.org
British Dyslexia Association https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/dyslexia. Includes free BDA online training course – dyslexia and mental health – during Dyslexia Week
Microsoft Learning Tools https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/education/products/learning-tools