Australian Dyslexia Association Inc - Solutions for Those that Learn Differently

Dyslexia in Australia


Dyslexia In Australia: 

Dyslexia is estimated to affect some 10% of the Australian population.In Australia the term SLD (Specific/Significant Learning Difficulty/Disabilty) or LD (Learning Difficulty) are used interchangeably and as an umbrella term for a variety of difficulties which may or may not be dyslexia.

Understanding Dyslexia: 
Dyslexia is best understood as a persistent difficulty with reading and spelling.                                                                                                                                    
Early Identification & Early Intervention: 

Dyslexia is phonologically based.Children identified "at risk" should receive evidence based multisensory approaches in early intervention for reading & spelling and teachers must be able to identify,plan and tailor the needs of individual students.

Learning Differently: " I can learn I just learn differently"
Dyslexia is resistant to traditional teaching and regular tutoring.Individuals with dyslexia have average to superior intelligence and can learn they just learn differently and therefore need to be taught differently.Dyslexia can be seen as a language based learning difference.
Teaching Differently: "A teacher must be equipped to teach more than one way"

Students with dyslexia need the same educational opportunties as other students.Classroom, support teachers and tutors can be trained in effective teaching practices which will not only help the student with dyslexia learn but all students can benefit by direct, explicit and systematic multisensory instruction. Understanding and meeting the needs of dyslexia and related reading difficulties demands thorough teaching methodologies in reading and spelling.An understanding of the development and acquisition of reading and spelling is required and many teachers would benefit from specialised language training.

Improved Teacher Training in Reading & Spelling Instruction:
Figures form the National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy (NITL),Australia, indicate that half the 34 Bachelor of Education teacher training courses in Australia devoted less than 5% of their four-year curriculum to teaching reading.How many teachers have received training in the core elements set down by the NRP 2003 and NITL for effective literacy instruction?

Click: relevant page of the NITL report on teachers in Australia

The ADA supports the need to identify children in schools with a dyslexic profile who are either left identified,not failing enough for support or who are supported under the education system's umbrella term SLD.The ADA supports the need to identify dyslexic profiled students in schools so that best evidence based educational practices can be implemented. The ADA suggests that children not identified with dyslexia who are also included under the Specific learning difficulty (SLD) umbrella receive best teaching approaches based upon their particular learning profile. 

"The field of ‘learning difficulties’ still remains as a field of unclear definitions, disparate classification and some confusion in relation to which students are being discussed under the umbrella term and what equitable provision might entail for this group of students." Reference 3

Dyslexia and the Law in Australia: 
Dyslexia is recognised in Australian under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and under the Human Rights Commission. The issue with schools is that dyslexia needs to be recognised under the special needs section in every Education Act in Australia for additional funding as is the case with NSW.
The Australian Working Party have produced an excellent document "Helping People with Dyslexia: A National Agenda" which outlines key recommendations.
The ADA supports this worthwhile document and the governments written response to the working party clearly states that dyslexia is a recognised disability in Australia. The ADA will be bringing visitors and members to this site up to date with information on the National Disabiities Model (Schools) for funding disabilities under the DDA (1992) including dyslexia.
Read: "Helping People with Dyslexia: A National Agenda" Australia
Read: Government's Response to "Helping People with Dyslexia: A National Agenda" Australia
Dyslexia is included as a disability under the DDA 1992 section f as stated in the Government's document.
Disability Standards Education (2005):

http://education.gov.au/disability-standards-education

"Findings from Canada state that 80-90% of children in learning support have dyslexia"

"Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading,writing and spelling difficulties"

ADA have adopted and adapted the International Dyslexia Association's defintion of dyslexia:
DEFINITION OF DYSLEXIA

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability ("difference" ADA adapted) that is neurological in origin. It is characterised by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

 

References:
1.Canadian Dyslexia Association
2.TSRH
3.Effective Teaching and Learning Practices for Students with Learning Difficulties in Queensland .DEEWR
4.NITL
5.Australian Government