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Supporting Children with Medical
and Mental Health Needs at School


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Neurodiversity is an umbrella term used to describe the different ways a person’s brain processes information. It is estimated that around 1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodivergent. Dyslexia comes under this umbrella. 

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Features of dyslexia

  • Dyslexia tends to run in families, which suggests a genetic link.
  • Dyslexia is on of the most common specific learning disabilities (SpLD) affecting about 10% of the population. 
  • Dyslexia has a neurological basis and is independent of overall intelligence.
  • Impaired development of magnocellular systems may cause problems with identifying and sequencing letters and sounds
  • Dyslexia is a lifelong condition and can make learning difficult.
  • Dyslexia affects a child’s ability to process, remember and organise information.
  • Young children may struggle to learn to read, write and spell.
  • While students can have strong oral abilities they may find it difficult to record their learning in writing.
  • Students may struggle to get started with work and show difficulties with organisation and presentation.
  • Some children and young people may have low self-esteem and appear reticent to learn.

Managing dyslexia

  • It is important to understand that there is a specific reason for student’s difficulties with processing information.
  • Early identification and assessment is crucial.
  • The effects of dyslexia varies and no two people will have the same strengths or weaknesses.
  • To reduce anxiety and improve motivation personalise learning support and make adaptations according to a student’s needs.

Supporting students with dyslexia

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Early identification and assessment

  • Early identification of specific learning difficulties will reduce anxiety.
  • Support will vary according to a student’s assessment profile but may include use of aids such as coloured paper, coloured overlays, reading rulers or assistive technology.

Help with organisation

  • Target support to identify an individual student’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • A clear and predictable daily routine can help develop independence.
  • Print out homework tasks or give out homework at the start of the lesson and allow time for students to seek clarification.
  • Prompts to remember appropriate resources and help organising work and notes are helpful.

 Help in class

  • To reinforce the spelling rule follow a structure i.e. ight flight sight night.
  • Encourage and make time for proof reading work. This helps the student notice spellings mistakes and encourages them to self-correct.
  • Do not put a student on the spot to read aloud. Instead, give them time to prepare.
  • Before the lesson, explain what is going to be taught and then end with a summary.
  • It is important to find ways to reinforce learning through repetition and revisiting topics.
  • Copying large chunks of text from a board is a challenge. Print out notes or a cloze text with key words for insertion.

More information

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HOPE (Hospital Organisation of Pedagogues in Europe)