Harriet Reynolds is SENCo specialist for children who come into the Junior School with a diagnosis, or still in search of one, for Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and other specific learning needs.
“I work with children from Year 3, and many who come to us can’t read or write. This means they are disengaged from the process of learning and may also be frustrated.
Although her pupils difficulties are nothing to do with intelligence, Reynolds says they may still have a devastating effect on their own sense of worth. “Many have attended mainstream school but haven’t had the right support, so their self-esteem has plummeted.
Small class sizes, with one to one time and different teaching styles tailored around the child, are used to build confidence. Alongside a focus on practical and visual teaching styles, there is access to technology – from Dragon Dictate to special reader pens.
Reynolds says: “The huge transformation comes when children realise that they can express themselves, that they can learn. Then their confidence goes up, and confidence is such a huge part of learning.
She adds that there are minor adaptations that may make all the difference to a child’s learning. Understanding the problem is the vital step.
“I would encourage parents to get an early diagnosis. Once that has happened, teaching can be tailored accordingly. Children become pretty expert at using assistive technology remarkably quickly”