Dyslexia advocates celebrate a step forward on the path to inclusive schools
Media Release: Dyslexia advocates celebrate a step forward on the path to inclusive schools
23 October 2015
The organisers of Dyslexia Empowerment Week have extra cause to celebrate as the week draws to a close.
Today Minister James Merlino announced new requirements to support all teachers to build their capability to teach students with disabilities. SPELD Victoria welcomes this commitment to build the capacity of all teachers in Victoria to focus on improving teaching and learning strategies for students with disabilities as part of their ongoing professional development. You can read more about that on the VIT website.
This announcement coincides with Dyslexia Empowerment Week which concludes tomorrow. The Week is by the state's peak body for Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities, SPELD Victoria.
SPELD is represented on the VIT Special Needs Plan Review Panel which advised the VIT on the roll out of providing additional guidance and support to schools.
Clare Carmody Chief Executive Officer of SPELD (Specific Learning Difficulties) Victoria says "it is great to see an increased focus on inclusion, and a reinforcing of the existing standards."
"Every teacher, every class in the state of Victoria is likely to have a student with a disability. This is just a recognition that including all learners is an integral, irrefutable part of a teacher’s job description. Inclusion is nonnegotiable. As such, these professionals need to be given support to continuously extend their learning in this area. However, training alone is not the solution. Our professional teachers need to be heard and backed up when they identify the resources they need to support. Professional learning is just one piece of a much bigger puzzle."
"Engaging in learning is a shared responsibility, between students, families and their schools. Dyslexia Empowerment Week celebrates the important role that everyone plays in ensuring that students with Specific Learning Difficulties get the best chance to achieve their potential."
"Teachers and families have long been crying out for more support to identify and respond to the unique needs of students with dyslexia. Professional development in what works is important, so that kids can get timely, targeted reading intervention in early primary and support to learn in a way that suits them throughout their education."
About Dyslexia Empowerment Week
An estimated 3-5% of have a persistent neurologically based Specific Learning Disability (SLD), such as dyslexia. Dyslexia is not an intellectual disability – but children with dyslexia struggle to read and often feel as though they are failing each and every day.
Ensuring that all children are given the opportunity to learn to read is important, as is providing appropriate support and understanding to the one or more students in every Australian classroom with dyslexia. Organisations and volunteers across the Australian SLD community to have banded together create Dyslexia Empowerment Week (DEW), now in its third year. This year DEW is 18 – 24 October 2015 with over 25 events crowd sourced from schools and communities across the nation.
Review of the Program for Students with Disabilities
Families of students with learning disabilities it's time to be heard! The Governments review of the Program for Students with Disabilities
The Victorian Government is currently reviewing the Program for Students with a Disability (PSD). The terms of reference for the review include looking at support for students with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities (SLDs) through this $480m p/a funding pool.
SPELD Vic has been appointed to the Expert Advisory Panel for the review as well as a focus group panel. We've been consulting with families and working with our teachers and psychologists to make a case for a strengths and needs based, whole classroom approach to supporting the needs of all students. We firmly believe that supporting students with SLDs is great way to lift the performance of struggling students and raise the potential of all students.
More information on the review is available here.
Now it is your turn to share your story. It is really important the Government hear the direct experience of students with SLDs and their families as well as your great ideas about what a fair, efficient and effective system could look like.
There are two ways that you can have your say in the review:
- Tell your story directly to the review team via email
Share the challenges you or your child have faced and what could have helped overcome them. A couple of short paragraphs describing you and your child's experience as well as a few good ideas would be great.
Here are a few questions to consider when responding – but your response can address much more if you want to!
· What are some of the difficulties that you have faced in the schooling system and how do you think these could be addressed?
· Did you have any difficulties accessing the PSD program and was the support adequate?
· What support could help teachers and schools to better meet the needs of students with SLD's?
· How can we ensure that the funding is used appropriately for supporting student outcomes?
You can email the PSD review directly and we'd love it if you cc’s in Clare Carmody, our CEO. The link below includes a cc to Clare, but if you don't feel comfortable passing on your story please delete our email address. All submissions will be treated confidentially.
Click here to make a submission now
2. Online Survey
A second way the Government is seeking your input is by running a survey, hoping to hear from current and previous students, their families, principals, teachers and disability professionals that will ask for your ideas and suggestions on how the PSD can be improved and strengthened.
*The Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) Review survey has been extended to October 16- You can access the survey at:http://survey.confirmit.com/wix/p3075695326.aspx
CEO conversation tour Aug Sept 2015
Our new CEO Clare Carmody is heading on tour next month to meet with parents support groups around the state.
Clare will share:
An introduction to Specific Learning Difficulties and Disorders
SPELD's strategy, advocacy work and new services
She will seek:
Your thoughts on how SPELD can best serve parents in your local area
Willing parents to express their interest in becoming SPELD's local champions
Locations and Bookings:
SPELD Lunch for members and friends 12pm 16 August RSVP with dietary requirements firstname.lastname@example.org
Upper Plenty Primary 7pm, 19 August https://upperplentyspeld.eventbrite.com.au
Mt Martha Primary 7pm,25 August https://mountmarthaspeld.eventbrite.com.au
Diversitat Northern Community Hub, Geelong in partnership with Kids Like Us 4:30pm, 1 September http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/geelong-speld-and-klu-inform…
Slate Coal Mine Wonthaggi visiting the South Gipsland Dyslexia Support group screening of the Big Issue 6:30pm, 4 September https://www.facebook.com/events/1480253718955413/
St Josephs Primary School, Brunswick West 2:30pm, 8 September https://stjosephspeld.eventbrite.com.au
Ethic. Cafe, Street Woodend visiting DyslexiClever Support Group (Macedon Ranges) 9am, 11 September All welcome. Enquires to Marg: email@example.com |0409 550 238
Sunbury Heights Primary School visiting SOLD support group 7:15pm 11 September Enquire via S.O.L.D. http://www.sold.org.au/
SPELD in the paper about changes to VCAA
SPELD in the paper today
Today The Age featured the story of one of our members as it covers the challenges of VCAA special provisions…
“Charlie Frances has dyslexia and completed his VCE last year.
But the 19-year-old builder still gets annoyed thinking about how he had to lodge three time-consuming applications, over three years, to use a computer during his VCE exams and assessments. "I told them I hadn't lost my dyslexia."
"My handwriting wasn't legible. I'd hand something in that was the right amount of words that I was happy with, but no one could read it."
In an ironic twist, Mr Frances had to hand write an essay explaining why he needed support.
"They were literally telling me to write in 800 words or less why I can't write an essay in 800 words or less."
Charlie's story of the mountains of dyslexia unfriendly paperwork he had to do to apply for VCAA special provisions sounds funny, the way he tells it. But it's a sad story for the many students who can't even get an application in. Gladly VCAA is talking the serious issue that is failing hundreds of students that need to get the accommodations they get in class, equitably applied in exams.
Read the story: