Providing Learning Support for Students with Hidden Disabilities and Dyslexia Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities

Introduction and Context

The purpose and organisation of this guide

As indicated above, this guide focuses on meeting the field course needs of students with dyslexia or other "hidden" disabilities. Its main aim is to identify the issues fieldwork may pose for such students and to outline ways in which these difficulties might be overcome or minimised. It recognises that every student is unique and that the guidance offered here takes the form of general statements of good practice. It is not, therefore, a book of rigid rules and does not seek to override the judgement of individual staff dealing with individual students.

The guide is written with two main kinds of readers in mind. The first is, of course, academics involved in the design and delivery of fieldwork. Although it is targeted at geographers and colleagues in cognate disciplines such as earth and environmental science, academics in other field disciplines such as ecology and architecture might also find the ideas of interest. The second intended audience is HE specialists in disabilities. Part of their task is to assess students' needs and to advise both students and staff. Few disability specialists will have extensive fieldwork experience and so this guide will offer insights into the kind of work which is undertaken during field courses, the problems which can arise and the solutions which may be appropriate.

The remainder of this volume falls into six short chapters. The first provides a brief review of the nature of dyslexia and other hidden disabilities so as to identify the kinds of concerns and obstacles they may cause. The second focuses on meeting the fieldwork needs of students with dyslexia. The third covers the same agenda for a variety of other hidden disabilities; given the range covered each one is dealt with only in outline. The volume closes with some brief student cameos (the 'student voice') and with some wider implications and proposals.

Page updated 14 December 2001

GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock