Information for Teachers
Educators are aware that Specific Learning Difficulties are not intellectual impairments. Students with intellectual impairments are generally assessed as having reduced cognitive capacity, which has a global impact on learning and daily functioning. However students with Specific Learning Difficulties have significant difficulty in one academic area while coping well, or even excelling, in other areas of academic, sporting or artistic achievement.
SPELD Victoria is committed to educating teachers and the wider education sector on dyslexia and learning difficulties.
SPELD Victoria continues to work collaboratively with the Department of Education and Training (DET) to address dyslexia and learning difficulties for children and young people in Victorian government schools through provision of professional development and learning on dyslexia for teachers and parents and other initiatives. SPELD Victoria also liaises with the wider education sector.
SPELD Victoria services:
1. Professional Development and Learning for teachers in the area of dyslexia and learning difficulties is a high priority for SPELD Victoria. SPELD Victoria conducts professional development and learning on a regular basis for teachers, psychologists, social workers and other education and community sector professionals.
2. Intensive VIT accredited Teaching Training Courses are facilitated on a regular basis at SPELD Victoria as part of the Professional Development and Learning Schedule. It provides extensive information on dyslexia and will also equip participants who work in the classroom with practical strategies for children and young people with dyslexia and learning difficulties.
3. Diagnostic assessments are conducted by consultant psychologists at SPELD Victoria.
4. Consultancy on issues regarding children and young people with dyslexia in schools is available with consultant psychologists for school personnel with appropriate parent permission. This service is also available for parents.
5. General information on dyslexia and learning difficulties is available on the SPELD Victoria website. See contact us for details of where to direct your enquiries.
6. SPELD Victoria also seeks to increase awareness of current evidence-based national, international research and interventions to the education, health and community sectors and parents on dyslexia and learning difficulties.
7. Membership is available to teachers and schools which, while providing reduced fees for professional development and learning and other member incentives, also assists SPELD Victoria in its wider advocacy role to promote the awareness of dyslexia and improve accessibility of services for those with learning challenges. New membership categories now exist to make membership accessible to all teaching staff, schools and parents. Please see Membership Information on this website to find out more.
Children with dyslexia and learning difficulties are not usually diagnosed until they are in primary school. While there may have been indicators which point to children being at risk of dyslexia, it is when the child is within the classroom that concerns are often realised. It will then often be the teacher who, through testing and observation, has concerns for an individual child’s progress during the first years of schooling. The teacher can be proactive in working with the parent to develop a plan of action to assist the child. It is then essential that educators have an awareness and relevant information on dyslexia to inform their educational interventions.
The Department of Education and Training (DET) now features information and teacher resources on dyslexia on their website. Key understandings provide a context for the teacher resources. Educators should be aware that DET provides parent information on dyslexia. Educators may also refer parents to SPELD Victoria for assistance.
Dyslexia is generally described as a language–based difficulty of neurological origin that primarily affects the skills involved in the accurate and fluent reading of words. Characteristic features of dyslexia include immature phonological knowledge, verbal memory, and processing speeds. Dyslexia may affect a student’s reading comprehension, vocabulary development, writing and spelling. Additional co-occurring behaviours may include aspects of numeracy, concentration and motor coordination. Current research suggests that dyslexia may occur because of a genetic pre-disposition. It is a persistent, lifelong condition and affects students across the range of intellectual abilities.
Understanding Reading Difficulties
The term reading difficulties may be used to describe a variety of difficulties that affect the ability to learn to read; one of the most commonly described reading difficulties is dyslexia.
There are different types of reading difficulties including:
- difficulties in accurate and automatic word reading – students can comprehend spoken text but have difficulty comprehending its written form and decoding words
- difficulties in the language processes associated with listening comprehension – these students can read words accurately but have difficulty comprehending what they read
- difficulties in both accurate and automatic word reading and in the language processes associated with oral or spoken comprehension; these students are sometimes referred to as having a mixed reading difficulty
Reading difficulties are frequently linked with oral language difficulties including:
- difficulties in accurate and automatic word reading are linked with how well a student manipulates sound patterns in words
- difficulties in reading comprehension are linked with oral language processes such as limited vocabulary and syntactic knowledge
- difficulties in both word reading and comprehension are linked with phonological processing and oral language difficulties
More information and teacher resources are available on the DET website:
Please refer to SPELD Victoria’s website for other information and resources for educators on dyslexia.