Students who are diagnosed with dyspraxia will experience difficulties with their fine or gross motor skills and/or co-ordination.
Considerations need to be made for both the physical and educational aspects of dyspraxia including the learning of new skills and in turn, the social/emotional impacts of these difficulties.
The specific support needs of individual students with a diagnosis of dyspraxia will be set out in their Support Plan.
Differing degrees of all or some of the following difficulties are likely:
- Absorbing information; including difficulty with reading comprehension, as well as, spoken instruction.
- Co-ordinating and synchronising information from different sources
- Creative structure and ability to extract key points
- Planning and organising thought and activity
- Managing time and prioritising tasks
- Adapting to new or unpredictable situations/managing changes to routines
- Working under timed conditions
- Expressing themselves clearly
- Judging distance, speed and time.
If you are teaching a student who experiences dyspraxia it is important to assist their learning by:
- Ensuring reading lists and lecture notes are available in advance via UDo- with directed reading pointing students to specific parts/chapters.
- Including time for all students to read any information given out in class
- Breaking down processes into small, logical steps.
- Considering alternatives to writing, for example use of a voice recorder, scribe or note-taker.
- Avoiding text in block capitals. Ensuring that information is accessible by the font/size and presentation of text; Use of a sans serif font for example Arial and a minimum of 12 point.
- Being aware individuals may need additional time for practical tasks and Assessed Extended Deadlines (AEDs) for the submission of individual assignments.
- Ensuring guidelines for assignments are unambiguously written and clearly present.
- Adapting to and recognising different learning styles.
It should be noted that for some individuals their difficulties may impact on other aspects of their life. This may affect the student’s confidence, motivation and wellbeing. Their support will, therefore, be continuous and may change to reflect any additional need.
It is, therefore, important for lecturers/tutors to:
- Get to know the student and their particular needs; be prepared to meet with the student early on to discuss this.
- Be sensitive to the needs of the student without drawing attention to them.
- Involve the student in a multi-sensory approach to learning so that they feel less self-conscious in areas they find difficult.
Lecturers and tutors will need to take into consideration all aspects of the course and how these may need to be adapted or discussed with the individual. This includes placements, field trips, lab work etc.
We appreciate that self-consciously changing teaching methods/strategies can be extremely difficult, we would, therefore advise lecturers to meet with their students to not only discuss the students need but also how the student can support their lecturer in ensuring their teaching is accessible. It is always a good idea to open the channels of communication so both student and lecturer feel comfortable to discuss when things aren’t working and how this can be amended.
For further information or if you have any questions or concerns please contact the Student Wellbeing team via firstname.lastname@example.org or ext: 3000.
Where can I find out more?
www.rcn.org.uk – Toolkit for Nursing staff.