Dyslexics “not helped by overlays”

Interesting article in the New Scientist that calls into question our current approach to Dyslexia. The whole “Visual Stress” approach that means students have been recommended to use use colour overlays, print out on coloured paper and use software interventions that change the colour tint on the screen are being called into question.

It would appear, like a lot of other learning difficulties, dyslexics need more support to learn to read, using teaching techniques that would work with anyone else learning to read. The implication in my mind is that support in developing coping strategies and just more lessons is more effective than a technological intervention.

Anecdotally, students have commented that they find overlays helpful, but I have never seen them whip one out in a session to read. This led me to wonder if it was more of a psychological crutch. I personally found a paralinguistic approach to handouts was more useful.

Interestingly, this comes at a time when the government are planning to change the Disabled Students Allowance (the support payment to support students with learning difficulties in HE) to phase out 1:1 specialist support and other human interactions in favour of technological solutions. We need an evidence based approach at all levels of education, and it is clear more research is needed in this area.

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About Alan Hardcastle

Media Lecturer with an interest in Pedagogy and Politics.

Posted on May 25, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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