This month Executive Officer Georgina Perry is interviewed on the Square Peg Round Whole Podcast with presenter Lou Kuchel. Lou is a passionate advocate for neurodiverse students and first met George through advocacy work at meetings with the Department of Education.
Lou and George talk about “the human right to read, write and numerate.” They discuss language and diagnosis of learning disorders, advocacy, reasonable adjustments at school and assistive technologies. George defines the language that can be used to describe learning disorders Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia.
“Literacy is a human right. Every child has the right to learn to read, to write and to be numerate, that is what SPELD NSW is all about,” said George.
The duo delves into diagnosis, school experiences and teachers’ approaches. George explains some key messages for parents and teachers, where to get help and how to access resources. George dispels myths associated with learning disorders, and there are many. When students go to school and have difficulty it can be completely unexpected for families and it’s important to seek help early.
“It’s so important that schools and teachers understand about the specific learning disorders because teachers are such an important group of people in helping identify these difficulties.
One of the things that we do at SPELD is offer a lot of teacher professional learning and we always find teachers are very keen to learn more about specific learning disorders because they are not really given enough information at university to understand about the impact in the classroom and the prevalence in the classroom.”
Take away messages for parents and the community
“The messages that we are constantly talking about are the fact that it is really important to identify difficulties with literacy and numeracy early because the earlier intervention can be provided the better.
We are also talking about the benefits of explicit and systematic instruction, so for literacy we are talking about explicit systematic synthetic phonics instruction.
And we are also frequently talking about the importance of ensuring that intervention for literacy and numeracy difficulties provided to students of all ages.”
It is very important for families to make sure that the interventions they choose are evidence based. You don’t want to waste your childs time on interventions that are not going to help them. It can frustate them more and give them a greater negative self concept. The mental health implications of not develoing literacy and numeracy skills can be significant.”
Positive change is happening
Positive change is happening and SPELD NSW notes the positive changes taking place to support students in New South Wales beginning with the year one phonics check.
“We are optimistic with tools such as the phonics check and the change that NESA is making to the syllabus in NSW to make it include more phonics and be much more explicit. But at the moment we do have a group of kids that it’s not until year 3 or 4 that we realise they are struggling with literacy.”
Share with your networks for an informative easy listening chat all about specific learning disorders.
More about Square Peg Round Whole Podcast
“I highly recommend Lou’s podcast. As a parent of a neurodiverse child, Square Peg Round Whole really resonates with me. I listen to each one, and I find both comfort and guidance in these conversations.”