Categories
Conference Events Media News

2019 DSF Conference Keynote Addresses Available Online

AUSPELD was a proud supporter of the DSF Language, Literacy and Learning Conference which took place in April this year. The filmed keynote presentations from the conference are now available to interested parties for a limited period. Online access is ideal for people who were unable to attend the conference in person as well as for delegates seeking to review these incredible presentations. The films may also be viewed with colleagues at staff or team meetings.

The cost to access these high quality and informative films for a six month period is:

 

Conference Delegates $95.00
Non-Delegates $145.00

 

For more information please visit the DSF 2019 Conference Keynotes page

Professor Stanislas Dehaene delivers his keynote address

 

Categories
Literacy Media Research

An Overview of Structured Synthetic Phonics Program Sequences

The Summer 2018 edition of the DSF Bulletin featured the following article on Structured Synthetic Phonics Program (SSPP) sequences. It details each the phonics sequence of a number of SSPPs, from single letter phoneme-grapheme relationships and digraphs through to the introduction of the alternative spellings in the extended code.

Find this and other articles on the AUSPELD Articles page.

Categories
Advocacy Literacy Media News

Congratulations to Jackie French; Senior Australian of the Year for 2015

jackie-frenchAUSPELD extends congratulations and accolades to Jackie French for her well-deserved award of Senior Australian of the Year on Australia Day. Jackie has been a long term supporter of many of the State and Territory SPELDs and has already done so much to encourage and support Australian children and adults with learning difficulties. She is an inspiration to so many, and, as a person who has experienced first-hand the challenges of attending school with dyslexia, is able to speak from the heart about the importance of providing effective support and encouragement to all students.

{gspeech}We look forward to working with Jackie in 2015!{/gspeech}

Categories
Advocacy Media News

Petition Submitted: Dyslexia to be recognised as a disability by the Australian Federal Government

After months of hard work by people across the nation collecting signatures for the SPELD (SA) Dyslexia Petition (Posted August, 2012) Christopher Pyne, Shadow Minister for Education, tabled the Dyslexia Petition with a total of 9,288 signatures to the Parliament on Wednesday (5th June, 2013).

Categories
Advocacy Media News

Review of the Disability Standards for Education

Update:
The final report on the Review of the Disability Standards for Education was released, on the 1st of August by the Hon Jacinta Collins Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations. The Report makes 14 recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the Standards, a copy can be dowloaded by clicking the following link – Final Report on the Review of the Disability Standards for Education.
The report provides valuable information on what needs to happen to support students with disability in education, the Australian Government has responded to the final report with the following – Australian Government Response to the Review.

Original Post…

Earlier this year, the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett, invited submissions for the Review of the Disability Standards for Education (the Standards). The most recent version of the Standards came into effect in August 2005 and, as with previous versions, was designed to clarify the rights of students with disabilities to access and participate in education and training on the same basis as students without disabilities. It was also intended that the Standards would give education providers clear guidance on how to meet their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act (1992).

A major focus of the review was to ascertain to what extent the Standards were understood by education providers and to establish whether students, and their families, were aware of their rights. The Standards are intended to give students with disability, including learning disabilities, the same access to educational programs, as other students. All students, including those with a developmental learning disability, should enjoy the benefits of education and training in a supportive environment which values and encourages participation by all students. Education providers have a positive obligation to make changes to reasonably accommodate the needs of a student with disability. Mandy Nayton, current President of AUSPELD (the Australian Federation of SPELD Associations), provided the following submission for the review process.

Please click here to view the submission.

Categories
Events Media Other

Neil MacKay – ‘Improving Outcomes for Struggling Students’ workshop resources

Workshop 1

powerpoint slides

handout

Workshop 2

powerpoint slides

handout

assistive technology handout

Categories
Advocacy Media News Other

Tony Piccolo MP Indicates Government’s Support to Help Children with Specific Learning Difficulties

SPELD (SA) along with the Dyslexia Action Group – Barossa, Gawler and Surrounds have gained some much needed recognition in parliament through Member for Light, Tony Piccolo. Below is a speech made by Tony Piccolo MP to the South Australian parliament on the 28th of March 2012.

Mr PICCOLO (Light) (16:09):

Today, I would like to bring to the house’s attention a public meeting
which took place last week in my electorate. The public meeting was organised by the Dyslexia
Action Group, Barossa, Gawler and surrounds. At the outset I would like to acknowledge the
wonderful work undertaken by Dr Sandra Marshall and Ophie Renner. Ophie was the Gawler Citizen
of the Year this year and also the South Australian Citizen of the Year. These two people, with a small
group of volunteers, have been very active in bringing the issue of dyslexia to the attention of the
local community and also ensuring that particular children with dyslexia are given a fair go in the
education system.
I had the honourand the privilege to be asked to chairthe forum, both last week and an
earlier forum late last year. The forum was attended by a number of parents, teachers and other
community members and both forums have had capacity crowds, so there are a lot of children in our
community, and obviously families who are concerned about their children’s development because
they have the disability of dyslexia.
The forum, apart from myself who actually chaired the session, was also attended by the local
mayor, mayor Brian Sambell, who spoke about some of the positive outcomes for young people in
addressing the issue of dyslexia. Ms Angela Weeks, the Clinical Director of Specific Learning
Difficulties of South Australia (SPELD), gave a presentation on the importance of goal setting for
students with dyslexia and also provided some explicit strategies that teachers could implement to
support those students. Ms Sandy Russo, a teacher at SPELD, presented information about assistive
learning technologies that were available to assist students with dyslexia to access and participate
successfully at school and also in the home environment. She talked about the use of MP3 players,
digital recording devices, computers, software, etc., which actually help students learn.
The local Barossa regional director for education, Kathryn Bruggemann, talked about the need
for teachers to have an understanding of dyslexia and the impact of the condition on their selfesteem
and learning outcomes for young people diagnosed with dyslexia. She spoke from personal
experience. She has a child who actually suffers from dyslexia, so she has quite a passion to address
this issue. Julie Aschberger, who works in the department, talked about some new initiatives that
the department was introducing to roll out a greater awareness of dyslexia in the classroom and also
how teachers can actually support students and how they can just change their teaching style, which
not only helps students with dyslexia but the mainstream class as well because those styles are
adaptable for both.
lngrid Alderton, again another person from the department, spoke about dyslexia-friendly
school packs, which is a UK initiative to support students with dyslexia in the classroom. The point
was made that education is actually managed differently in the UK, where local authorities have a lot
more say. Therefore, there is actually a different approach to students with disabilities. Mr Dave
Pisoni, the opposition spokesperson, also attended the meeting. He provided, if you like, a Liberal
Party’s opinion on where education is in this state, and I will let him talk about that more. I do not
need to use my time to discuss it here.
At the end of the meeting, as chair of the session, I was asked to have a discussion with the .
people present and talk about what sort of things they wanted at future meetings. The people who
attended indicated they wanted more information about other learning difficulties, ways of
supporting students with dyslexia and special provisions particularly around the SACE program to
ensure that their children have the best opportunities through not only education but also training.
There were suggestions about some smaller specific interest groups being formed to explore and
address issues and to build the knowledge of attendees. There were a number of parents who would
like to know what they can do to support their child in the home.
There was a really positive mood in the forum; in other words, a focus on what we can do to
help our young children, particularly with early intervention, how to support them and how to help
them maintain their self-esteem so they do not actually lose interest in their education, which has
been a problem in the past. Kids who have not coped with the mainstream program have actually
opted out, which is unfortunate because, obviously, those children would have had a lot of potential
which has not been realised.
The students also talked about how we actually help with transition because, in private
schools, children often have one teacher and, in secondary education, they might have multiple
teachers. A whole range of issues was raised but it was a very well-attended forum. I also indicate
the government’s support to help these children.

Categories
Advocacy Literacy Media News

Education Disability Standards Review Underway

MEDIA RELEASE –  15 February, 2011

The Gillard Labor Government is taking action to help remove barriers to educational achievement, with a review of Disability Standards for Education.

Minister for School Education Peter Garrett said recent figures show the numbers of funded school students with disability increased by more than 20 per cent in the four years from 2005 to 2009.

“Today I’m releasing a discussion paper inviting submissions to the Review, in a move to help ensure a more inclusive Australian society which enables people with disability to achieve their full potential,” Mr Garrett said.

“The Disability Standards for Education have been in place for five years and it’s time we looked at their effectiveness in giving those with disability every opportunity to succeed in the education system.

“School students with disability have steadily increased as a percentage of the total school population. In 2009 there were over 164,000 students with disabilities in Australian schools that received support by education authorities.

“It is central to Federal Labor’s belief that all students, regardless of their personal or social situations, have access to the very best education we can provide so that they can pursue their life’s aspirations to the fullest.

“This discussion paper will help us determine how effective the Disability Standards for Education are in practice and whether they need to be amended.

“I encourage people with an interest in improving the education and training experience for people with disability to make a submission to the Review.”

Senator McLucas welcomed the review of the standards.

“People with disability deserve the same opportunities as other Australians in their local community,” Ms McLucas said.

“The Disability Standards for Education help to ensure that people with disability enjoy the benefits of education and training.”

The Standards are designed to assist people with disability to access and participate in education and training opportunities and help eliminate discrimination in education and training.

The Standards also clarify the rights of students and the obligations of education providers, pre-school, school and tertiary, under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

The Australian Government is also conducting a broader Review of Funding for Schooling, which is examining all funding to all schools including funding allocations to ensure students with disability can access a quality education.

Information on the review, including the discussion paper, is available at www.deewr.gov.au/DSEReview .

As part of the review process, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations will conduct face-to-face consultations with stakeholders in each capital city.

In addition, the department will engage in a series of broader consultations with schools-focused disability organisations on education issues affecting school students with disability.

THE HON PETER GARRETT MP

Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth

SENATOR THE HON JAN MCLUCAS

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers

 

Minister Garrett’s Media Contact: Cameron Scott 0448 346 942

Senator McLucas’ Media Contact: Belinda Featherstone 0408 743 457

DEEWR Media: media@deewr.gov.au

Non-media queries: 1300 363 079

Categories
Advocacy Media News

Opportunity to Improve Support for Students with Learning Disabilities

In a recent media release The Hon Peter Garrett, Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth announced the formation of a working group to provide early advice on assistance for students with a disability. Minister Garrett is specifically interested in identifying strategies that could assist school students with special needs both in the classroom and at school generally. He indicated the working group will identify effective, priority approaches to improve the educational experience of students with disabilities.

At this early stage there is no specific mention of dyslexia, dysgraphia, or any particular disability type, within the working group’s terms of reference. It is, however, viewed as an important opportunity to raise the significant issue of students with dyslexia, and other learning disabilities, in schools and the current level of disadvantage they experience. In order to ensure that this issue is raised and considered by the working party, please send a submission (no matter how brief) to schoolsfundingreview@deewr.gov.au or write to:

The Secretariat
Review of Funding for Schooling
Location C16MT4
GPO Box 9880
CANBERRA ACT 2601

The closing date for submissions to the Review has been extended to Thursday 21 April 2011.

Alternatively, please send your comments, thoughts and suggestions to support@dsf.net.au and we will include your comments with our submission.

More information on the review of schools funding is available at
http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/Programs/Pages/FundingReview.aspx).

Categories
Advocacy Media News

Cynical Exploitation of Special Needs Children

Baroness Mary Warnock laid the foundations for special needs education thirty years ago. Here she reveals how her seminal report has been betrayed by schools who have exploited children to meet their own financial ends.

Thirty years is a long time in politics. It is high time that a Committee of Inquiry, or even a Royal Commission, were set up to recommend a fresh start on Special Educational Needs. This was the recommendation of the All-Party Commons Select Committee under Barry Sheerman in 2007 and it should be followed up now. This week’s damning Ofsted report is enough by itself to justify starting again.

When, as chairwoman of the Committee of Inquiry in 1978, I published what became known as the Warnock Report, things were totally different. It was only a few years since severely mentally disabled children had been deemed educable at all, and the concept of a continuum of educational needs, from the most severe and permanent to the relatively minor and remediable, was new. The educational cuts of the Eighties were a mere cloud on the horizon. We were still, just about, in the era when things could be recommended on the grounds of their educational merit, without too much calculation of costs.

So though the committee knew that its recommendations would not be cheap, it never thought that, as the Ofsted report appears to show, children’s supposed special needs would be exaggerated and exploited in order to attract more money for schools; still less in order to allow schools to slither out of their responsibility to ensure that as many children as possible achieved a respectable standard of literacy and numeracy, and a reliable understanding of how they ought to behave.

It was the idea of the continuum of needs that gave rise to the belief that the committee had recommended that all children, whatever their disabilities, should be educated in mainstream schools. What the committee actually recommended was that the large number of children with moderate learning diffculties already in mainstream schools should be identified, and their needs provided for where they were. We also thought that this would enable more children to be taught in mainstream rather than special schools because provision for their needs would now be better, and would become part of the recognised mainstream provision.

But the commmittee as a whole never proposed that all children should be taught under the same roof or that special schools should be abolished. This was, and remains, an extremist position.

We worked on the assumption (the figures being provided by the then Department of Education and never challenged) that about two per cent of school-age children had severe learning or other difficulties that affected their education. But that as many as 18 per cent more than these had educational needs that went beyond the “normal”. It was these children (briefly known as “Warnock Children”, rather to the dismay of my own five) who had hitherto been much neglected and who were supposed to have their needs met in mainstream schools by the provision of extra help and extra monitoring of their progress.

It was for these children that mainstream schools would be given extra money, for specialist teachers or for classroom assistants, for adaptation of school buildings or even for the setting up of units or withdrawal classrooms on the campus, for use by the mildly autistic, or what used to be called the “maladjusted”. We had been warned not to discuss the needs of the dyslexic, dyslexia being at that time widely regarded as a condition invented by the middle classes as a cover for the stupidity of some of their children.

Nor, unbeliveably, were we permitted to point to social deprivation as the cause of many special educational needs, though the link between deprivation and the development of language was as obvious then as it is today, and indeed the number of children eligible for free school meals was then, as now, taken as a rough indication of how many children in a school would have special educational needs.

This link between deprivation and educational failure or special needs struck me then as of the greatest possible importance. And in this respect things have not changed. We were not allowed to mention the link because the myth still persisted that social services and the teaching profession were two completely different sources of provision, dealing in completely separate things, or meeting totally different needs.

And though we on the committee continually urged the two services to work in partnership (what in Blair-speak became “joined-up thinking”) we failed, as did the Blair government, to make any difference to this insane dichotomy. If you believe, as I do, that education is the only way out of the under-class, then you cannot help believing in the link. But this also has a profound effect on the duty of teachers to engage their pupils in the educational process, and to inspire them with educational ambition.

By this I do not mean that they should encourage them all (or even half of them) to go to university, but that they should instil in them a desire to do things well, and understand them better and discuss them articulately. When pupils are thus excited by what they learn, not bored, they behave better, and can indeed be taught to do so. Linguistic poverty is a prime cause of boredom and of disruption and violence in the classroom.

Teachers have a huge responsibility for developing the language of their pupils, both spoken and written. I do not believe that teacher-training puts enough emphasis on this, nor on the connection between linguistic poverty and behaviour. Teachers have to tackle both together, and must be ready themselves to articulate the limits they will impose on rudeness, violence and disregard for the feeling and interests of others. If teachers are not explicitly to introduce, by precept and example, the basic rules of civilised, morally good behaviour, then they should quickly leave the profession.

But of course a teacher who teaches in this way, though she recognises that she will have far more difficulty with some children than with others, is fundamentally optimistic. She believes that most children can become engaged in and excited by the process of learning, can want to succeed, can like their teachers enough to want to please them, can therefore improve their performance, even if by halting steps and slow.

There will be some children who face obstacles too great for the ordinary teacher to remove, but these will be relatively few. For them, specialist help is required, either in the short or the long term. (For instance, only specially trained teachers can help severely dyslexic people, children or adults; without special training, a teacher may do more harm than good, but when she has had it, she may achieve wonders.)

Therefore it is absolutely necessary for the non-specialist teacher to be able to identify those children who genuinely need specialist help. Perhaps the greatest obligation of teacher-training is to make such identification central, a matter of routine but constant vigilance and good judgment.

But this is a far cry from the present trend, if the Ofsted report is to be believed. A good teacher believes in her ability to engage the imagination and therefore the co-operation of her pupils, however unpromising they may seem. A good teacher and a good school flourish on hope. A bad teacher gives up at the first setback and runs to the school Senco (special educational needs coordinator) asking for help. And now she is positively encouraged by management to do so, for the sake of a cash injection, and so that her pupils need not be counted among those whose examination results will be made public.

This is institutional pessimism, an institutional announcement that the pupils for whom extra is sought are, deep down, beyond hope and so little worthy of respect that they may be used merely as a means to an end.

The concept of special needs and its related statement (the supposed guarantee to a parent that her child will get the help he needs) must urgently be overhauled. It may have been inevitable from the beginning that these ideas would live on to be abused. At least from the 1981 Special Educational Needs Act, which made clear that no extra funds would be available for its implementation, we should have foreseen the future. However that may be, the Ofsted report suggests such a cynical reversal of the benign intentions of the original committee and the subsequent legislation that it cannot simply be overlooked. A fresh start must be made.

By Baroness Mary Warnock

17 September 2010

www.telegraph.co.uk