I have been that parent. I have been that teacher. I have looked after that school. I know how difficult is it to navigate the school when your child learns differently. I know how difficult it is to cater to learning differences in the classroom. These things are difficult, but they are not impossible. Change always begins with education.
My first degree is in linguistics and I qualified as a primary teacher to pass on a love of language to children. Like most teachers, I wasn’t trained to teach children who learn differently. Not long after moving to the UK, I was asked to work with a 6 year old girl with a ‘complex’ profile and so began my life’s work: helping children who learn differently to get the help they need.
I received a Masters degree in Special & Inclusive Education. I became a dyslexia specialist, a Specialist Teacher. I assessed many children and young people. I lectured. I trained teachers. I ran parent surgeries with a DfE grant. I ran workshops for families, SENCOs, teachers and TAs. I worked in the independent sector. I worked in the state sector. I taught children from 6-16. I looked after provision in one school, then a network of 24 schools, and this is what I learned:
Having a label, a diagnosis, isn’t enough
Children with learning differences need to be taught be really skilled teachers
Treating students who learn differently as a problem robs them of self confidence
Parents need education and support to know what they can reasonably expect from school