The Nature of Cognition and Learning Difficulties
Pupils who experience difficulties in the areas of cognition and learning may have a slower rate of learning than other children. They may make satisfactory progress even though the attainment gap between them and other pupils of the same age grows.
This category includes children who demonstarte features of moderate, severe or profound learning difficulties or more specific difficulties such as dyspraxia or dyslexia.
Moderate Learning Difficulties
These pupils will have attainments significantly below expected levels in most areas of the curriculum. They may have greater difficulty than their peers in acquiring basic literacy and mathematical skills and understanding concepts. They may also have associated difficulties in delay in speech and language, coordination and motor development, low self esteem, low levels of concentration and immature social skills. In tests of both verbal and non-verbal reasoning, they will typically obtainscores below the wide average (usually below the standardised score of 85).
The school uses the definition of Dyslexia as defined by the Rose report, published in June 2006, and used by the Swindon Educational Psychology Service.
'Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.
The Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties with phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.
Dyslexia occurs across a range of intellectual abilities.
It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category and there are no clear cut off points.
Co-curring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor coordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not by themsekves markers of dyslexia.
A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by how well the individual responds to well rounded intervention.'
Rose,Jim, June 2009, 'Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties'
Research a range of dyslexia publications and you will come across a range of definitions. The following is a version the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) feel best describes dyslexia:
'It is likely to be present at birth and to be life long in its effects. It is characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, processing speed, and the aotomatic development of skills that may not match up to the individual's cognitive abilities.
It tends to be resistant to conventional teaching methods, but its effects can be mitigated by appropriately specific intervention, including application of information technology and supportive counselling.'
Lawn has achieved the Dyslexia Friendly Schools Award. Our staff are aware of the learning and social emotional difficulties associated with Dyslexia and plan their lessons with a sound element of differentiation to ensure access to the curriculum for all our pupils.
Dyspraxia is a problem of motor coordination. Children with Dyspraxia have poor motor skills that are not in line with their other abilities or in keeping with what would be expected for their age. The problems will interfere either with academic achievements (like handwriting and drawing) or with daily life activities (such as dressing and sport) or both. Dyspraxia is a specific learning difficulty which falls along a continuum ranging from mild through to severe. It occurs across a number of developmental areas including motor skills, visual perception and spatial ability.
Lawn provides a range of motor skill programmes starting in reception classess with the Pre-Spark activities then moving on to the Sparkler group in key stage 1, through to the Wake and Shake group in key stage 2.
Swindon schools, including Lawn, are able to access the services of the Paediatric Physiotherapist and the Occupational Therapist who will visit school to observe and assess children who have gross and fine motor difficulties. The service also offers a range of courses for teachers and teaching assistants to help them implement school based intervention programmes.