Monday 1st October – Friday 5th October is Dyslexia Awareness Week
To help raise awareness and to celebrate the diversity of our students at SIS the Student Support Team are running a series of events and activities for the school community.
For one week only our students will be contributing to a Secret Student Blog, sharing their experiences and feelings about dyslexia. Please do follow our blog; if you wish to find out more please come along to P13 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Look out for some amazing resources, ideas and activities.
Monday 1st October
I’m always cautious about awareness days, weeks, months, it suggests that for the rest of the year we are unaware; on the contrary at SIS we are very conscious of our students’ individual needs, always seeking the best possible support. It’s important to remember that we never stop learning, there is always something new to discover, so this year’s theme for Dyslexia Awareness is around 21st Century Dyslexia, focussing on technology that can assist people at school, in their workplace and at home.
15% of the population (UK) are affected by dyslexia, by acting early to address children’s needs and develop strategies, we will be saving them from frustration, failure and potential mental health problems.
Some of our students will have the Cycle Tests very much in the forefront of their minds today. Typically our students with dyslexia may take longer to read the test paper, they may not understand it’s full meaning the first time of reading due to the pressure of decoding more challenging words. It may take them longer to process and formulate their answers, they will need time to proofread and edit those responses; all of this puts pressure on their timing. You may argue this is the same for all students, it may well be, but we know through research that the dyslexic brain processes information differently, which definitely affects the speed at which the student works. To help overcome these barriers students may have assessment access arrangements, for example, additional time, the use of a word processor, a reader; it will be different for each individual learner. Each student eligible for these arrangements will undergo screening and testing to identify what will work best for them. If you wish to find out more please contact the Student Support team for more information.
https://getrevising.co.uk/ is a great website to help students organise study time and develop their own revision resources, using a wealth of multisensory ideas. With weekly Cycle Testing, this may be a great way to stay organised and prepared.
Student Support Team
Monday’s Secret Student Blog:
My Dyslexia (M2)
Well, when teachers found out, some felt awkward they didn’t know how to help me. Once they took time to know me they could be more helpful. The other students don’t notice much difference in me. My experiences are very similar to other kids now because strategies have been put in place. It still takes me ages to read through a page. Reading feels bad. But there is improvement with practice. I don’t like maths especially when I have to write equations, I’m too slow. Spelling tests are the worst!
I am lucky to be outgoing and I have an amazing memory!
Tuesday 2nd October
Support from the school community comes in all shapes and sizes, the student support team are indebted to Ben Burgess, Remi Skvorc & Frank Dabrowski, who last summer for their M3 Community Project organised an event at Octogono not only raising awareness of dyslexia, but also raising a fantastic 412€. Their support will enable the team to purchase another Exam Reading Pen which can be used by our students to access written text during their exams; totally compliant with the IB Assessment Access Requirement regulations. The remaining funds will be used to purchase Coloured Overlays & Reading Rulers, which help to rectify visual stress experienced by some of our learners. Thank you!!
I understand that some of our design students are looking at apps and programmes they can develop to support our neurodiverse community. I’m looking forward to seeing these developments.
Student Support Team
Tuesday’s Secret Student
A day at a school (P6)
I don’t always remember people’s names so they get angry with me.
I’m not great at reading because the words move around and sometimes go blurry.
It’s not my eyesight I’ve had that checked.
My spelling sucks, it’s really difficult.
The longer words are easier to read than the shorter ones because I can memorize them.
It’s the little words that get all muddled up.
I can’t read my own writing.
I can’t put in full stops and other punctuation because I can’t read it.
Other people can do that.
I need to be told things like a million times before I learn it.
I like war hammer and I have to read the cards and I can do that I think it’s because I really enjoy war hammer and because it’s not whole paragraphs only a few words. So sometimes I think it’s not the difficulty of the words that makes them difficult to read its the amount of words on the page.
Each day we learn from our students, it’s important that they feel confident to share their thoughts, concerns and aspirations. Their insightfulness and understanding is the greatest tool for change. Each student with dyslexia is unique, whilst they share some commonalities it will be different for each student. Knowing each individual student’s needs helps us to put together a bespoke package of support. It’s important we celebrate their individuality and strengths; acknowledging too the extra effort that they have to put into their studies.
Wednesday 3rd October
In student support, we’re definitely swimming against the current this week … in a week where we are being asked as staff to cut back on email traffic and consider leaving our digital at home Friday let’s try something different.
No Pens Day
OK, so Friday is a technology-free day, what if we had a No Pens Day, well that’s what the British Dyslexia Association are recommending for today. Check out this APPS WHEEL and your ACCESSIBILITY features on your phone, laptop or tablet – there’s something for everyone.
Today’s Secret Student Blog (Diploma Student)
Imagine seeing letters jump around. Imagine you have the answer in your head but when you come to speak it, it physically can’t come out. Imagine not being able to read or reading age 7 books when you’re in your final year of high school and it takes a good two hours to get through thirty pages. Imagine this was your norm. You were told you were clearly stupid, thick, useless. You got called lazy or people would say “ you just need to read more”. Imagine knowing something is wrong with you but getting told no, you’re fine and then imagine there is nothing wrong with you – you’re just stupid, think, useless and lazy.
I spent sixteen years of my life like this, until this time last year when I went to my advisor, telling her that what was on the presentation related to me so much. I then got passed through to Learning support and after multiple conversations, on the 9th of February 2018 told by a specialist I, in fact, do have a specific learning difficulty which is Dyslexia.
Has this changed the way I work? No, there is no magic medicine that randomly makes it disappear. Yes, there are ways to help it not affect me so much, for example, I have an overlay coloured green, so strange how well that can help. I use my laptop in lessons and in exams, I use this special pen that reads the question out for me in exams, and the most important one is 25% extra time in exams. But it doesn’t go away, I still work so hard. I say the 25% extra time is the most important one as that time could change your grade from a D to a C.
What I forgot to mention earlier is that I was new to the SIS last year. Previously I went to England and took GCSEs where I accomplished 5 GCSEs grade c or above two of these being English and one being for math. I am so proud of what I got, not knowing I had a specific learning difficulty. I stupidly asked the specialist that came in and diagnosed me, if I was diagnosed earlier would I have had better results, and he said yes, most likely. This was on my mind for days after until someone told me this just shows how hard you worked, you should be so proud. I am!
Do not be scared or shy and don’t hide behind it, be better than it.
Dyslexia will be there forever but it will not stop me from being who I am. Dyslexia has let me find out how amazing I am. So to all of my ‘dyslexic friends’ out there, don’t be afraid. My story just shows people, who think there is a problem or an issue go and ask for help or advice. It’s better to know than not, trust me on that!
I really don’t like the ‘lazy’ word; you have to ask yourself why is someone lazy. Maybe they are exhausted from having to concentrate so much harder than their peers, they need a break. Maybe they just don’t know how to organise their thoughts, so they give up. Maybe with a little understanding, a listening ear we can unpick why they avoid those tasks that others throw themselves into so easily. Next time you hear someone referred to as ‘lazy’ ask yourself … why are they?
Student Support Team
DYSLEXIA AWARENESS DAY
I am indebted to the students for sharing their feelings, thoughts and experiences of their dyslexia. What is important to recognise is that each of these students is immensely talented; how many of us can stand on stage and recite lengthy monologues, sing, dance, perform their own musical works, write a book! Dyslexia CAN be a true gift! Dyslexia is part of them but does not define them.
Whether Einstein said this or not, you have to love its sentiment …
Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
SIS provides a platform for students to excel in their area of strength, whether that’s academic, the arts or sport.
Student Support Team
Secret Student Blog
Dyslexia to Me
I didn’t know the term dyslexia existed until 3-4 years ago. It does take me longer to understand and get the information in my brain than others. As I am writing this now I am struggling to think of what I could share about my dyslexic journey. I definitely work hard and try not to let my dyslexia get in the way. Of course English is not my first language and it doesn’t help that I do have dyslexia. Spelling and making sentences making sense is a struggle day after day. I am slow at getting information, as I said before, but I try not to get too stressed but lately I have as a D1 student. Last year in M5 I wrote a book filled with mini stories about Mental Health like Anxiety and Depression that is close to my heart and I find interesting. I had lots of help from the support team who helped me achieve my grades, goals and my project. I thank everyone who has been with me and my journey through school.
Welcome to our final day of blogs …
Secret Student Blog
Teachers expect you not to make any spelling mistakes, but it is really hard.
Friends tease about it. It is easier to use the computer to do the tests. I don’t like reading out loud in class because if I make a mistake people are going to think I’m dumb. Some people mistake being dyslexic with being stupid.
By raising awareness and educating people about dyslexia the stigmas attached can be dismissed.
Technology, what does it mean to our students with dyslexia?
One of the greatest gifts that technology has given us is accessibility, whether that’s to access a wealth of knowledge via the world wide web, communicate with loved ones living far and wide or to explore the globe for new and exciting places to visit.
For our students with dyslexia, technology means being able to read without losing their place or stumbling over difficult words, giving meaning to the words on the page. It’s being able to express themselves eloquently using their extensive vocabulary without fear of spelling the word incorrectly. It’s about being able to plan their work without having to rewrite their work a million times. Some will say it’s a lifesaver. So today as we switch off that technology, leave our laptops at home just take a moment to think how many times would you have used cut & paste, spell check, voice activation, screen reader, and the numerous apps that provides accessibility to our learners.
Secret Student Blog
Being dyslexic is not fun! Most people don’t understand what dyslexia is about. It is really annoying and frustrating to see how long it takes me to do simple things, like reading in class.
For my experience, I have found some teachers who have been really nice and helpful, understanding what it was really like. I think if I didn’t have dyslexia my self-esteem would be much better because I wouldn’t be afraid of being asked to read out loud in class.
I give our heartfelt thanks to our students who have shared their feelings about dyslexia and what it truly means to them. Their hard work, determination and perseverance is evident daily, what is fantastic is seeing their achievements and rewards for this hard work; exceeding grade predictions, exceeding expectations year on year. Providing a nurturing, safe environment where our students can take risks without fear of failure is essential if our students are to reach their full potential.
Thank you for reading our blog this week
The Student Support Team