Welcome to the West Lothian ASN Blog.   ASN stands for Additional Support Needs.

Our aim is to provide you with helpful, up to date information and news from the West Lothian Additional Support Needs (ASN) Management Team, schools and any other potential sources of interest. I hope that this will be a means of improving communication between parents / guardians and the authority. We have also included links to external websites and internal policy documents where we think that these may be useful .

Dyslexia Scotland West Lothian Branch Open Meeting and AGM

The next Open Meeting of the Dyslexia Scotland West Lothian Branch will take place on Wednesday, 11th September 2013 in Pod 2 on the first floor of the Street Building, West Lothian College at 7pm.

The meeting will start with the AGM, which will give you a brief insight into the activities of the Branch for the last 12 months.

This will be followed by a talk by Shirley Illman, Principal Teacher, Dyslexia Support, West Lothian Literacy Services.  Shirley will talk about the excellent work she and her team at Literacy Services carry out in supporting teachers and dyslexic pupils throughout West Lothian.

After the talk, tea and coffee (and biscuits) will be available and there will be a chance to chat and have a look at the information table.

This would be a particularly good meeting for parents and carers of dyslexic pupils.

Should you wish any more information regarding this, please do not hesitate to email dswestlothian@gmail.com or by call Irene on 07944 353753.

Parentzone – Tell Education Scotland what you think about the Parentzone website

Parentzone is a website dedicated to providing parents or carers, with the most up-to-date information about their child’s education.  It provides practical advice and suggestions of ways that parents can be involved in their child’s learning, as well as essential information on features of Curriculum for Excellence.

If you are a parent of a child aged 3–18, Education Scotland would be grateful if you would complete a short survey to help ensure that Parentzone reflects the needs of all parents and carers.  The survey should take about 5–10 minutes to complete and all responses are confidential.

The survey will close on 31 August.

Dyslexia Scotland West Lothian Branch: The Big Picture – Rethinking Dyslexia

The next Open Meeting of the Dyslexia Scotland West Lothian Branch will take place at the Hub, Street Building, West Lothian College on 29 May at 7pm.  Read more here.

The highly acclaimed documentary “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia” will be shown.  This film follows James Redford’s dyslexic son, Dylan, through the ups and downs of his school years and his success in the first years of college. It also interviews experts and other dyslexic children and adults, including a surgeon, a lawyer and well-known names such Sir Richard Branson, who talk about living with dyslexia. The film lasts for about 50 minutes and is suitable for all ages from 8 onwards.

After the film, there will be refreshments and a chance to chat and have a look at the information table.

There is more information about the movie at http://thebigpicturemovie.com, including videos geared specifically at teachers and parents.

Should you wish any more information please email dswestlothian@gmail.com or call 07944 353753.  It would be helpful if you could email or call to let the group know you will attend.

Dyslexia Scotland West Lothian March Open Meeting

The West Lothian Branch of Dyslexia Scotland is a local volunteer led group, which offers information and support to adults and children with dyslexia and to their families, teachers, and other professionals.  The Branch is holding an Open Meeting on Wednesday 20 March 2013, between 7pm and 9pm at West Lothian College, Livingston.  A copy of their flyer is available by clicking here.

Continue reading ‘Dyslexia Scotland West Lothian March Open Meeting’

Dyslexia Scotland West Lothian Branch Open Meeting

The West Lothian Branch of Dyslexia Scotland are holding an Open Meeting on Wednesday, 30th January 2013, from 7pm to 9pm at the Hub, Street Building, West Lothian College, Almondvale Crescent, Livingston.

The organisation aims to raise awareness about dyslexia and to provide information and support to adults and children with dyslexia and to their teachers, parents, employers and anyone else with an interest. Meetings are informal and friendly and everyone is welcome. As well as enhancing the knowledge base, the meetings provide an opportunity to share experience and advice.

This month the guest speaker is Anna Doherty from Dyslexia Action. Dyslexia Action offers help and support to those affected by dyslexia and literacy difficulties. This includes a range of assessment and screening services, and consultancy services for schools, colleges, universities, employers and training providers. You can find more information about them at dyslexiaaction.org.uk.

There will be an informal session before Anna’s talk where you will have an opportunity to chat over a cup of tea or coffee and perhaps pick up some information from the resource table. Everyone is welcome.

Should you wish any further information, please email dswestlothian@gmail.com or call 07944 353753.

The Doran Review is published

The final report of the Doran Review – ‘The Right Help at the Right Time in the Right Place – the Strategic Review of Learning Provision for Children and Young People with Complex Additional Support Needs’ was published in November.  (Access the full report here.)

The report recognised that improvements in learning and care have been made through the development of new legislation, policy and practice (including Curriculum for Excellence, Additional Support for Learning, Getting it Right for Every Child and the proposed Children and Young People Bill) but that barriers to further progress still exist.

The main findings of the review are:

  • the good practice in existing services should be more widely shared
  • increased strategic commissioning of specialist services for those with complex additional support needs
  • strong partnership must be maintained to deliver reform of the sector between 2012 and 2017.

Enquire (The Scottish Advice Service for Additional Support for Learning) has a useful summary of the report and the Scottish Government’s response on their website.

The Scottish Government’s response can be accessed here.

Guided Access on the iPad

Guided Access is a new feature built into iOS 6 that makes it easier for users with vision, hearing, learning, and mobility disabilities to use their iOS devices such as iPads.  It can help users with autism remain on task and focused on the app that they are using.  It also allows users with involuntary movements an easier way of controlling the apps, as users can be ‘locked’ in an app, meaning that accidental gestures do not affect the iDevice.  Guided Access also allows a parent, carer or teacher to limit the iDevice to one app by disabling the home button, as well as restricting the touch input on certain areas of the screen.  This could also be useful for parents with younger children who want to prevent them from leaving a particular app or game.  ‘Therapy Box’ has produced a helpful guide on using this feature – click Guided Access on the iPad to download.

Reasonable Adjustments – new guidance on the duty to provide auxiliary aids & services for disabled pupils

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has published new guidance on the reasonable adjustments duty on auxiliary aids and services for disabled pupils.  This duty took effect from 1 September 2012 in the UK, although the new guidance applies only in Scotland.  The guidance is designed to help school leaders and education authorities comply with the reasonable adjustments duty, with a particular focus on the new auxiliary aids and services provision.  It is also intended to help disabled pupils and their parents understand the duty.

The practical examples included in the guidance illustrate what would be expected of schools responding to and anticipating the support needs of disabled pupils for whom schools have to make reasonable adjustments.  It includes practical case studies showing how the duty can be applied in contexts which will be familiar in educational settings.

OpenDyslexic Font

OpenDyslexic is a new open sourced font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia.  The typefaces includes regular, bold, italic and bolditalic styles and each letter has a unique shape and the bottoms have been thickened to give them extra ‘gravity’.  It is being updated continually and improved based on input from dyslexic users.  There are no restrictions on using OpenDyslexic other than attributionThe font can be downloaded at http://dyslexicfonts.com.

‘Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit’ launched

This revised and upgraded version of the former Assessing Dyslexia Toolkit provides a resource for all who are involved in the identification and support of learners who are exhibiting difficulties with literacy.  Teachers can use the Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit at varying levels depending on their existing knowledge of dyslexia and support for learning needs.  The toolkit guides users through the steps from initial identification of early signs of difficulty in literacy development putting in appropriate teaching and support, evaluating that support, and where appropriate, considering whether the term ‘dyslexia’ is appropriate.  Parents are also provided with an overview of their child’s dyslexia and tips and advice are provided on how to address dyslexia.  Information is also provided for the pupils themselves.  The toolkit can be accessed at www.addressingdyslexia.org or via the Dyslexia Scotland website at www.dyslexiascotland.org.

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