Embracing Dyslexia: What you can do to help

The path to child development is not always exactly linear, every child is different and that’s what makes working with children so fantastic! The 12th of September is World Disability Day and a chance for us to focus on understanding working with Dyslexia and other challenging neurological and SEN needs.

The equality act defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”, qualifying dyslexia, and similar learning disabilities within this category. The truth of the matter is, living with dyslexia is hard, particularly for children. However, it is time to change the narrative around dyslexia, although it can be a colossal factor in a child’s pathway to success, it is not the be all and end all and it can be managed and nurtured with the use of effective techniques.

It goes without saying that every teacher endeavours to create a collaborative learning environment that helps students learn effectively, however there is no one-size-fits-all approach and you will come across those that need a little more care and attention. Whether you’re a teacher, parent or even a school looking for more information, as specialists in SEN recruitment, the team at Initial Education have come up with their top strategies for learning success for students with dyslexia.



Encourage Inclusion


Whether working in an SEN specialist class, or within a mainstream school, promote a healthier and effective learning environment within the classroom, creating individual routines that work with each child, without specifically singling them out. Explore the world of multisensory learning to encourage students to learn in an alternative way. Not only does this assist learning, but it also engenders creativity, a crucial component to any child’s developing mind. Indeed, creativity is often a dyslexic child’s biggest strength as their minds are trained to explore the information presented to them and reinvent it.

Whilst basic literacy skills are a great base for early intelligence, don’t just focus your efforts and attention to those that take to it easily, instead widen your attention to highlighting the strengths of those that excel in other areas. Equally, when teaching reading and language skills, ensure that your students have their own specific targets and timelines, allowing them to learn at a pace that is best suited to them.

Keep it Simple

Whilst focusing on keeping your approach as inclusive as possible, take a look at how your classroom is presented and how accommodating it is to your SEN pupils. Remove excess stimuli and highlight important information to make it clear where individuals need to focus their attention. Having an inclusive classroom that doesn’t create unnecessary stress is the key to encouraging a cooperative and productive environment. Cut out the jargon and keep lessons and information clear cut in order for students to best take it in. If you’re struggling, there are some great resources, such as the Dyslexia Resource, that are there to help.

Furthermore, a dyslexic mind is always on the go, flitting from one piece of information to the next and this is heightened by excess stimuli. Slow lessons down and keep your communications concise to get the most out of your students.

Say it out loud

What do Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Walt Disney all have in common? Yes, they are some of the most successful entrepreneurs in history, but they all equally suffered form their own form of dyslexia, proving that the condition is not simply a measure of intelligence or success. Exceptional oral communication allowed these entrepreneurs to build their brands as they were able to create simple and powerful messages using a stripped back approach. Use this to your advantage and ask pupils to delegate tasks, meaning that they are surrounded by a supportive team to eliminate specific weaknesses. What’s more, this will enable students to build on their management skills, creating the next set of future leaders.

What might seem a debilitating condition is actually one of the most powerful tools for success if nurtured correctly, so adapt to a less linear approach to teaching and it will reap rewards. If you are an SEN specialist teacher or teaching assistant, we’d love to hear from you so please feel free to get in touch!

The Bookshelf Bucket List: The 5 essential classroom reads

National ‘read a book’ day falls on 6th September this year, conveniently the Monday most schools in England return. What better way to kick start the start of the new school year than with a good book to get stuck in to? Whether reading independently or together as a group, the team at Initial Education have pulled together our must-read list of classics. Guaranteed to capture the imagination of primary students of any age.


With a spectacular focus on nonsensical wordplay, the BFG is a tale filled with adventures that children dream of. Acting not only as a fantastic tale of ‘gobblefunk’, the story has many underlying lessons, from the obvious that its okay to be different to the more complex derision of the ‘gobblefunk’ language.

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

Enter the land of talking beasts, witches and centaurs through the wardrobe in the ‘spare room’ and inspire children with the sense of hope and determination felt by Narnians.

Swallows and Amazons

Evoke feelings of childhood adventure and take your students on a series of summer adventures with the Walker family with Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons. The family set sail and embark on a summer filled with unbelievable discoveries and battles designed to inspire a new love of reading amongst children.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Perhaps one of Roald Dahl’s most well-known full adaptions, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is indeed even better to read. Brilliant for highlighting the development of materialistic attitudes, this tale is fantastic for reminding children to stay grounded whilst allowing the to explore the futuristic realms of the factory.

George’s Marvellous Medicine

Roald Dahl, the author behind a plethora of childhood classics, is back again with a story guaranteed to capture any child’s attention. The story follows a young George Kranky as he attempts to lift his grandmother’s mood with a delightful concoction of paint, floor polish and anti-freeze to name but a few ingredients. If you’re looking to get your students engaged after a long summer off, this story is your ticket, igniting children’s imaginations from the outset.

Also, some great ideas for costumes for World Book Day which falls in late April 2022!