Dyslexia radar

October marks a powerhouse of a month for Scanning Pens, not only are we proud to be supporting the #GoRed campaign to succeed with dyslexia, but we are also the Headline Sponsors of the UK’s leading and most recognised special needs show, the Tes SEN Show UK, to be held on the 4th and 5th of October.

With the Tes SEN Show just around the corner, Scanning Pen’s Head of Education, Julia Clouter discusses how we can support dyslexia at the earliest possible phase, and how this can have a lifetime of a positive impact.  

Image: Tes SEN Show 2018

Image: Tes SEN Show 2018

Gaining a better understanding of the costs of poorly supported dyslexia has become one of the strongest educational themes of 2019. In the background, there are a number of very dedicated campaigners, researchers and influencers, who are at last, being heard by a wider audience. The message they are sharing is that the human cost of dyslexia is unacceptable. They are telling us that learning difficulties that are not identified and supported in primary years become a lifelong burden for the individual and for society.

The excellent findings and advice of The Rose Review is now ten years behind us. It set out a series of recommendations that have influenced policy and practice in schools very much for the better.    A key point to the review was ensuring that information and communication technology would be embedded into the curriculum.

Since the review, another technological revolution has taken place. This revolution has come in the form of assistive and adaptive education technology that has become more ergonomic, more affordable, more accessible and highly adaptable to support the needs of individuals. Well harnessed assistive technology has been life changing for learners with a disability. Assistive technology can also be life changing for learners with SpLD’s and dyslexia. The challenge that remains is to identify and appropriately support at the earliest opportunity and to embed the pedagogy of assistive technology in schools.  

In a report commissioned by the KPMG Foundation in 2006, the estimated costs of a pupil failing to learn to read and write at primary school would result in a public cost of about two billion pounds a year. This was calculated by taking potential costs of behaviour interventions, exclusions, truancy, reduced employment opportunities, crime, health risks and involvement in the criminal justice system over three decades.

An important message from this research for educators and education policy makers to understand, is that the costs to primary schools, to provide and deploy effective interventions outweigh the immediate benefits. At a primary school level, the impact of literacy failure is less visible and other burdens on the school purse strings take priority over screening, testing and intervention packages. This means that, the human and economic costs become greater, more visible, and more difficult to tackle in the secondary phase.

Good knowledge of the individual’s needs is often lost in transition between primary and secondary phases. At secondary school there is less intensive individual focus and the social identity needs of the emerging teenager overtake the point where biddable learning takes place. Few teenagers want to be identified with or defined by a learning need, so for many, the natural response is rejection.

Therefore, the best window of opportunity in which to identify and support literacy difficulties is in the earliest possible phase.  

Scanning Pens are thrilled to be the Headline Sponsors of the Tes SEN Show for the second year running. If last year’s event is anything to go by, we are in for a real treat this October – from innovative exhibitors, to inspiring speakers and demonstrations.

Plus – our very own Julia Clouter (Head of Education) and Samantha Garner (Education Consultant) will be taking the stage at the Exhibitor Workshop Theatre to share their words of wisdom from their combined teaching experience of 50+ years in the education sector.

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*#GoRed is a community campaign, consisting of passionate individuals, who aim to raise awareness of dyslexia. For many learners with SpLD and dyslexia, the colour red represents the red ink used by teachers to mark and critic their schoolwork. So, to put a positive spin on the colour red, the #GoRed campaign will see significant buildings all over the world light up their walls in red – which will support the emotional and psychological impact of poorly supported dyslexia, and spark positive conversations around dyslexia around the world. To learn more about the campaign, and to get involved, visit: https://www.succeedwithdyslexia.com/go-red/