Dyslexia Guidelines for Staff - Keele University .DISABILITY AND DYSLEXIA SUPPORT Dyslexia Guidelines

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    Dyslexia Guidelines for Staff

    Advice and Guidance for Staff involved in Teaching, Learning and Support of Students

    with Dyslexia

    Maureen Cook

  • Maureen Cook, December 2011

    Page | 2


    1. Executive Summary 4

    2. Introduction 5-6

    3. Legislation 7

    Statutory obligations 7

    Legal Definitions of Disability 8

    Direct Discrimination 8

    Indirect Discrimination 8

    Reasonable Adjustments 9-10

    Case Study 11

    Individual/Vicarious Liability 12

    4. The impact of Dyslexia on learning 13-14

    Typical Features of Dyslexia 15

    5. Adjustments to Teaching and Learning 16

    Reasonable/anticipatory adjustments 16-18

    7. Assessments 20

  • Maureen Cook, December 2011

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    Marking Guidelines/Sticker System 20

    Competence Standards 22

    Alternative Assessments 23

    Exams/Class Tests 23

    Course Work 23

    Multiple Choice Questions 24

    Oral Presentations 24

    Extensions 25

    Feedback 25

    8. Electronic Submission of Work 25

    9. PhD Students 25

    10. Field Trips and Off Site Activities 26-28

    Barriers to offsite activity 27

    11. Acknowledgements, Resources and References 29

  • Maureen Cook, December 2011

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    Dyslexia Guidelines

    1. Executive Summary

    This paper is designed to provide a resource for all staff who are involved in teaching

    and learning for students with Dyslexia. It is not intended to be a policy document

    and all of the areas covered will remain open to debate with academic staff and


    The paper is designed in such a way that staff can access easily any specific advice

    they are looking for, rather than having to read the whole document.

    The historical context of the Equality Act is provided to enable staff to understand the

    ongoing development of disability legislation from 1995 to the present day, and to

    clarify why Disability and Dyslexia Support requests such adjustments to teaching,

    learning and assessment methods.

    The resource provides staff with advice and guidance on the kinds of reasonable and

    anticipatory adjustments students with Dyslexia require and how those entitlements

    are supported by the Equality Act 2010. It also includes reference to some best

    practice used for clinical placements in Nursing and Midwifery and advice for

    meeting the needs of students with Dyslexia on field trips and other off site activities.

    Case studies and guidance tips are provided to help staff identify best practice in

    inclusive learning and disability-related adjustments to teaching, learning and

    assessment practices.

    Guidance is also given on how to avoid potentially discriminatory actions where the

    university or individual staff could be held accountable.

    There are specific sections on legislation, teaching and learning, assessments and

    feedback and field trips/placements.

    A list of references, resources and useful websites is provided on page 27.

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    2. Introduction

    This booklet has been produced at the request of academic staff and the guidelines

    are based on good practice recommendations from external specialist organisations

    and the National Association of Disability Practitioners (NADP).It is recognised that

    specific guidance relating to support for Dyslexic students is required for colleagues

    at Keele University. The proportion of Dyslexic students has grown year on year over

    the past decade and as such has presented colleagues within HE with the challenge

    of ensuring that relevant, appropriate and effective support is put in place for this

    group of students. The increase in Dyslexic students has been seen at Keele. Of

    Keele students who have disclosed a disability or SpLD (Specific Learning difficulty)

    and who are entitled to specialist support, adjustments to the teaching and learning

    process and to exam arrangements and other modes of assessment, over 80% have

    been diagnosed as Dyslexic.

    Since the inception of the Special Educational Needs Act 2001 which was followed

    by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 the numbers of students accessing higher

    education with a disclosed diagnosis of Dyslexia, or having a screening when they

    enrol on a programme of learning, has increased. There are many reasons for

    growth in the number of students with Dyslexia studying in higher education. For

    example the introduction of Disabled Student Allowance and the Widening

    Participation agenda have been influential and led to universities across the UK to

    change or modify their practices. The inception of the DDA 2005 ensured that higher

    education institutions had to promote positive images of disability and actively seek

    to encourage disabled people to participate in learning. As a result, the promotion of

    disclosure and seeking specialist support as a positive step for all disabled students

    is a key policy development for all universities.

    Growth is also partly due to students with a diagnosis becoming more aware of their

    ability to learn, but differently, and having had encouragement to build on their


    In order to meet the needs of these students, the majority of universities now have a

    policy or guidelines to support academic staff in the delivery of teaching, learning

    and assessment of students with Dyslexia.

    The booklet is intended to provide staff with an understanding of their statutory

    obligations under the Equality Act, and advice on some of the barriers students with

    Dyslexia face in the teaching and learning environment, and how staff can modify

    their processes and practice to meet those individual needs and foster a positive and

    inclusive learning experience. Case studies are provided for quick and easy

  • Maureen Cook, December 2011

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    reference, as well as tips for modifying practice in the delivery of teaching and

    learning and assessment.

  • Maureen Cook, December 2011

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    3. Legislation

    Statutory Obligations

    Provisions in the Disability Discrimination Act relating to higher education have been

    significantly amended since it was introduced in 1995. In particular, the Special

    Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001, the Disability Discrimination Act 2005,

    and the Disability Discrimination Act (Amendment) fundamentally changed the

    application of the DDA 1995 to make it unlawful to discriminate against disabled

    pupils and students in schools, colleges and HEIs. The SENDA 2001 and the

    Disability Discrimination Act (Amendment) 2005 were repealed by the Equality Act

    2010 and strengthened the requirement that HEIs ensure that no disabled student is

    disadvantaged because of a disability. The Equality Act consolidates existing law in

    to a single legal framework, and while many of the concepts remain the same as in

    previous disability equality legislation, there are some areas that were not previously




    All staff now have a legal obligation to:

    The Equality Act is the only legislation where a university is permitted to take

    positive action so as to overcome barriers to access for disabled students

    even if that means favouring them over non disabled students.

    *Please note that the term substantial disadvantage has been changed with

    the Equality Act to disadvantage. This means that adjustments are required

    if the disadvantage is not minor or trivial. Disadvantage is not defined in the

    Act but a rule of thumb is that a reasonable person would consider that

    eliminate direct discrimination and indirect discrimination

    eliminate new areas of discrimination introduced in discrimination by

    association and perception

    foster positive relations between disabled and non disabled people

    encourage disabled students to participate in public life

    take reasonable steps to avoid disadvantage where a provision,

    criteria or practice puts disabled students at a substantial

    disadvantage (this of course involves teaching delivery

    administration and access to practical work contexts )

    provide an auxiliary aid where without one a student would be put at a

    substantial disadvantage.


  • Maureen Cook, December 2011

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    disadvantage had occurred. This can take many forms, such as a denial of

    adjustments and or support, choice or an opportunity to progress, or a

    rejection or exclusion from a course because assessment of abilities has not

    been undertaken after reasonable adjustments have been put in.

    It needs to be stressed that programmes leading to professional registration

    mat not be required to m