SPELD NSW Interview Square Peg Round Whole - SPELD NSW

Supporting children and adults with specific learning difficulties


SPELD NSW Interview Square Peg Round Whole

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. 

Square Peg Round Whole

More about Square Peg Round Whole Podcast

The podcast discusses diversity and how to embrace neurodivergent kids at home, at school and in the workplace. Lou interviews guests with lived experience of neurodivergence, teachers, parents or academics. Topics include: ADHD, Autism, Tourette’s Syndrome, Dyslexia, Sensory Processing differences, inclusion, diversity, education experiences, employment. 
Interviews that may interest our supporters on the Square Peg Round Whole Podcast include:
Mona Delahooke
Mona and Lou discuss the fundamental messages of Mona’s book, Beyond Behaviours, they delve into COVID induced trauma, school “push out”, Mona’s thoughts on ODD, PDA, behaviour charts and behaviour management strategies and the importance of respecting the Sensory Systems and mind-shift away from compliance and towards connections and compassion for neurodivergent children.
Loren Swancutt
Loren Swancutt is a highly experienced inclusive educator and leader who is committed to advancing the realisation of inclusive education within the Australian context.
“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.”


Recent news

The Spotlight: Developing a Professional Learning model that works

School leaders, what is your professional learning plan this year? Having worked with many schools to support change in literacy practices, we wanted to share some of our learnings about how to make professional learning most effective to support you making changes in your school practice. We have some ideas that might just help 2024 be a winning professional learning year for you!


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