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WED: Dyslexia ToolKit (Stephen Gardiner)

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Stephen Gardiner
8 January 2017

Specific Learning Difference/Difficulties (SpLD) relates to a characteristic individuals have with a particular facet of learning.  The most common SpLD is that of dyslexia.

Dyslexia affects one in 10 people (Pennington, 1990), this equates to more than 6.3 million people in the UK (Census, 2011) and is recognised as a disability under the Equality Act 2010.  Dyslexia is a perplexing blend of difficulties and strengths and is diverse in severity within individuals.  People who generally have dyslexia will tend to have unique capabilities as well as a classic array of complications. 

Reid (2009), states that a person with SpLD and especially those with dyslexia are normally right-brained scholars who carry ocular behaviours of learning and therefore any open resource should take this into consideration.

A person with a SpLD does not anticipate intellectual development.  However the journey to attainment is customarily increasingly harder and requires more complex and definable skill sets.  The threats and opportunities available in an academic situation, both for the lecturer and learner is apprehension of the definitive effects. These characteristics have in examining a diverse approach to expedite optimal study. 

The project will focus on both implementation and inclusion.  Focusing more on inclusion.  The small element of implementation is that the project will target on is that of how to employ the Dyslexia toolkit within resource material and the potential impact on long-term conclusions (Durlak, 2011).  The artefact will be presented as a multimedia presentation.

Dunlosky (2013) acclaims that diverse learning actions can potentially have disagreeable conclusions of attaining information.  He goes further to state that repeated reviewing of study material has insufficient impact on learning.  Many people with SpLD will initially think the only way to attain the information is to keep re-reading text or highlight information.  However, by engaging in different approaches to learning and how the resources are produced can have a decisive action on fulfillment of learning.

This presentation will focus on research completed by the major dyslexia associations, JISC and of my own personal experience.  It is anticipated that it will highlight some of the obstacles students encounter when faced with open resources.

It is envisaged that the conference presentation will be used by those who develop resources for their learners and to generate discussion.  By doing this it is hoped that the toolkit will be used and to engage with their students further and to motivate and enthuse an inclusive learning environment.

The presentation is planned to attract individuals who desire to improve their open resources for students with SpLD, as well for those would have the desire to learn and extend their knowledge of how to bring inclusivity more into their resources and their online and open learning environment.  

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Stephen Gardiner
10:41pm 8 January 2017

Youtube video -


Jude Toasland
12:45pm 28 January 2017

This is a topic that has such a wide application. Although I don't work in a formal education setting I will follow the development of this toolkit with interest as it is an area that I need to address more effectively in my own training developments.

Mary Howell
8:42pm 28 January 2017

This continues to interest me as your project developes.  Do you think open resources are particularly difficult for people with dyslexia to access?   Are the people who prepare online resources, particularly lacking in skills?   

I was particularly interested in the comment you made about the need to interact with resources, rather than re-reading or highlighting.  Do you have suggestions in your Toolkit for increasing this interaction?  The reason I ask is that I work with secondary school teachers and many of them are not  good at promoting that interaction.

I look forward to seeing your presentation.  

Danny Ball
8:20pm 30 January 2017

Hi Steve,

I am very interested in your project and this links quite closely to my own project. Will your toolkit just offer advice/guidelines on how to make resources more accessible to those with Dyslexia or will this cover a wider spectrum of disabilites? In addition, will you also be including free available tools that educators can use either to improve accessibility and/or tools that might be useful for Dyslexic students to help them overcome particular difficulties?


Stephen Gardiner
10:21am 1 February 2017

Hi Jude

Thank you for your comments, I myself do not work in a educational institution but for a private training company in Health Care.  The conference is hoping to give you ideas of how to present online resources so those students with SpLD are able to access the information further.

Stephen Gardiner
10:25am 1 February 2017

HI Mary

thank you for your comments.  With regards to your question about open resources, the simple answer is yes, from my own personal experience some of the fonts, colours etc used in presenting material is unreadable or is not compatable with Assistive technology.  I will be covering this in my conference.  I think people who prepare resources have some knowledge but do not understand all that is required are they are guide by the platform they are using.

Yes i will be covering interaction.

Stephen Gardiner
10:27am 1 February 2017

Hi Danny

thank you for your comments.  Yes also interested in yours two I think we will link very well together.  I am focusing more on dyslexia however some of suggestions/recommendations can be applied to all.  Free tool for educators are limited, but I am covering some of them available.

jan turner
6:04pm 1 February 2017

Hi Steve, Very interested to read about your project.  It's some time since I read through the research on dyslexia but I seem to remember there has been a dispute over some years as to whether it really exists or is to wide an area to carry a single name.  How did those thoughts influence your approach and have you found that assumption challenging your own attempt to produce a toolkit?

Danny Ball
7:35pm 1 February 2017

Thanks for your reply Steve, I'm genuinely interested in the recommendations you make and hope I can learn from these when creating my own resources. 

Stephen Gardiner
9:59pm 1 February 2017

Hi Jan

I would be interested in you thoughts how you feel that does dyslexia really exist.  As a person who has dyslexia and only diagnosed in the last 6 months i would be interested in your thoughts.  I can inform you from personal experience it does exist.  I went through a series of tests and investigations.  A 3 hour grammar, comprehensive, memory, visual, cognitive testing.  Then a 2 hour session with a cognitive behavioual psychologist and then final a 2 hour session with a study needs assessor.  

As you will see from my comments above you can see why I have wanted to produce a toolkit, as for years I have struggled with course material and resources either presented to my in paper format or online and not being able to read them and rely on assistive technology that sometimes does not work as the online resources have not been formatted in a particular way.

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