"Being dyslexia friendly is not about being a "special school". It's about being a school that has teachers who appreciate diversity and have the skills to teach every student in their classroom. It's about children who respect that we all learn differently. It's about a fair go and a level playing field so that every child has equal access to the curriculum."

— ADA Board

School-Related Information

Parent Action Plan

How To Get Started

👉 DVS Parent Action Plan 2018 

Document created by Heidi Gregory, Parent Advocate and co-founder of the Dyslexia Victoria Support group. Heidi is the parent of two teenage children with dyslexia and is well aware that with the right teaching approach and evidence-based support, children with literacy difficulties can not only learn to read but also overcome their challenges to become successful adults.

Parent Advocacy Pocket Guide

What to do when you suspect your child needs help for literacy difficulties

👉 Parent Advocacy a Pocket Guide 

Presentation by Heidi Gregory


Know Your Rights: Dyslexia and The Law

Dyslexia is recognised in Australia under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and under the Human Rights Commission.

Victorian Human Rights Commission

Held back: The experiences of students with disabilities in Victorian schools

Department of Education

The Dyslexia Working Party have produced a document “Helping People with Dyslexia: A National Agenda” which outlines key recommendations.

Helping people with dyslexia: a national agenda

  • Recognition of dyslexia as a disability under a nationally agreed definition
  • Mandatory teacher dyslexia education
  • Adoption of ‘dyslexia friendly’ practice in schools and workplaces including:
  • Free, systematic diagnosis
  • Non print options including targeted use of ICT
  • Effective resilience programs/environments for young people who have dyslexia

Reference: Dyslexia Working Party (2010)

Australian Government’s Response to “Helping People with Dyslexia: A National Agenda”

Inclusive education for all students with disabilities and additional needs

Dyslexia is included as a disability under the DDA 1992 section F as stated in the document. Disability Standards Education (2005)

Primary School

SPELD SA

Information about repeating a grade: commentary from SPELD SA regarding the pros and cons of repeating/consolidating a grade. Adapted from Overcoming Dyslexia for Dummies by Tracey Wood.

SPELD VIC

Individual Learning Plans / ILPs SPELD.VIC.fact_sheet_6_ILP

Secondary School

Victorian Curriculum & Assessment Authority (VCAA)

Special Examination Arrangements for VCE external assessments (updated December 2017)

VCAA has a PDF available for download

Specific Learning Disorders

“The VCAA has adopted the following operational definition of a Specific Learning Disorder for the purposes of granting Special Examination Arrangements:Specific Learning Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a biological origin. Students with this disorder possess specific cognitive processing deficits that cause difficulties with learning and using academic skills and manifest in persistent problems with one or more of the following:

    • Inaccurate or slow and effortful word reading
    • Understanding the meaning of what is read
    • Spelling
    • Written expression
    • Mastering number sense, number facts or calculations
    • Mathematical reasoning.”

More information: http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/vce/exams/specialprovision/specialexams.aspx#specific 

Classroom Guide for Secondary School

Guide written by Belinda DekkerFounder Dyslexia Sydney Support Group

DSF Literacy and Clinical Services (The Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation of WA)

Strategies and Accommodations for Students with Learning Disabilities at High School

Students with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) factsheet

University / TAFE

Accommodations for students at University and TAFE Information Sheet 

School-related FAQs

What are Decodable Books?

“Books with simplified spelling patterns, which beginning readers can tackle independently with success. Please choose a level at which your learner can independently read 95% of words, or 90% of words if they’re reading to you so you can help them with some words.” – Alison Clarke, Spelfabet

Read more: https://www.spelfabet.com.au/phonics-resources/07-decodable-books/

Further reading: informative blog post by John Kenny on Decodable Texts

Can you tell me more about Assistive Technology?

Start by watching this video: 5 myths about Assistive Tech

“Assistive technology (AT) refers to a device or software that makes it easier to complete everyday tasks. Common forms of assistive tech for kids with learning and attention issues, like dyslexia or dysgraphia, include text-to-speech or dictation. But is assistive technology “cheating”? Does it give some kids an unfair advantage by making it easier for them than for others? Hear from Jamie Martin, assistive technology consultant, on these and other common myths about assistive technology tools. Then learn more about assistive technology for kids with learning and attention issues at Understood.org.”

Dyslexia – SPELD Foundation (DSF): https://dsf.net.au/assistive-technology/

Dyslexia Yale: http://dyslexia.yale.edu/resources/tools-technology/

Jamie Martin: https://www.atdyslexia.com/resources/

Learning Difficulties Australiahttps://www.ldaustralia.org/342.html

Mike Tholfsen from Microsoft Edu: https://educationblog.microsoft.com/editors/mike-tholfsen-principal-product-manager-for-microsoft-education/

What is a Student Support Group?

A Student Support Group supports your child if they have a disability or additional needs. It is mandatory for all students in the Program for Students with Disabilities, and is strongly encouraged for any student with additional learning needs.

Source: DET website http://www.education.vic.gov.au

What are the responsibilities of the Student Support Group?

It is the responsibility of the Student Support Group to:

  • identify your child’s needs
  • determine any adjustments to be made to your child’s curriculum
  • plan an appropriate educational program for your child
  • develop an Individual Learning Plan
  • discuss the plan with your child’s teachers and give them support to deliver the learning plan
  • give to the principal concerning the additional educational needs of your child and the types of resources required to meet these needs
  • review and evaluate your child’s program once per term, and at other times if requested by any member of the group.

Source: DET website http://www.education.vic.gov.au

For more information, visit:

http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/parents/needs/Pages/supportgroup.aspx

What is an ILP?

An ILP is an Individual Learning Plan. (Also referred to as an IEP – Individualised Education Plan.) An ILP defines learning goals, how the school will help your child reach them, and the accommodations that will be made to assist. The ILP should be followed, reviewed and updated across the year and throughout your child’s schooling.

Understood.org defines an IEP as “A plan that details the support and services (such as speech therapy or multisensory reading instruction) a school will provide to meet the individual needs of a student with a disability who qualifies for special education.”

The Department for Education and Training’s Student Support Guidelines includes information about ILPs.

What should be in my child’s ILP?

This article from Understood.org outlines what should be in your IEP/ILP Folder.

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/ieps/how-to-organize-your-childs-iep-binder

Goals should be set for your child, then reviewed and adjusted. This article from Understood.org outlines a process for setting IEP goals.

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/ieps/annual-iep-goals-what-you-need-to-know

The Department for Education and Training offer these guidelines for Student Support.

How do I find a dyslexia-friendly school in Victoria?

At present there is no recognised rating for a dyslexia-friendly school. DVS recommends the following.

Research local schools thoroughly. The DVS Facebook page is an excellent place to ask opinions from other parents about their experiences with schools.

If you are looking towards high school, start your research early – Year 3 or 4.

Call and visit the school in person to gain a first impression. Attend both Open Day events as well as arranging a personal appointment with the school principal or in the case of secondary school, the Wellbeing Coordinator.

Use these questions as a basis.

  • How will you assist and support my child?
  • What evidence-based programs do you use?
  • What accommodations will the school provide to assist my child?
  • What additional support is available is the classroom?
  • Do you have an example of an ILP?
  • Who would attend a Student Support Group?
  • Can students get an exemption from LOTE? (For example, so that students can spend this time on valuable literacy learning.)
  • Will you allow a tutor to work with students during school time?

 

Disclaimer: Please note that Dyslexia Victoria Support (DVS) does not officially endorse, represent, sponsor, or have any legal connection to any of the resources listed. Many parents have found these resources to be very useful in their journey to learn more about dyslexia and how to better advocate for their children.