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

How to Support Students with Dyslexia

Support during the fieldtrip

Possible solutions to difficulties that can occur during a fieldtrip
Difficulties Solutions
1. Written language
  • Writing and spelling unfamiliar words - blocks thinking process
  • Exposing weakness in spelling to peers when undertaking group work
  • Writing at speed
  • No time for personal field observations and 'sense of place' when struggling to record information
  • Verbalising experience from field notes which are an incomplete record
  • Taking legible full notes in the field: therefore longer time required for writing up detailed field note-books afterwards
  • Handouts
  • Key words and names on a sheet prior to visit
  • Need to negotiate on necessity of a field note book being kept in the field.
  • Negotiate specialisation of role (e.g. leadership or co-ordinating role) to maximise strengths and minimise weaknesses
  • Laptop computer for writing up notes
  • Use of dictaphone to capture the moment/place/experience
  • Amanuensis
  • Access to specialist software (Text-help or Inspiration on a laptop to assist speed of sorting, planning and proof reading) (see Appendix 1)
  • Work with peers in evening to share information and thinking
  • Electronic thesaurus for use at base to improve quality of field notes
  • Allow students time to improve notes
  • Use of 'Alpha Smart' for word processor (see Appendix 1)
2. Numerical data
  • Recording accurate data
  • Making sense of graphs (tracking difficulties)
  • Making accurate calculations
  • Recording sheets/forms
  • Shared tasks with peers
  • Talking calculator (see Appendix 1)
  • Text to voice software such as Text-help on laptop
3. Multi-tasking
  • Listening, recording, observing and creatively and critically thinking causes overload, fatigue and anxiety and reduces performance
  • Be clear about the principal tasks in hand
  • Paired/shared responsibilities
  • See bullets for 1 above
  • Reduce amount of information processing required
4. Listening to lectures
  • Speed of delivery
  • Difficulty retaining, processing and recording
  • Alert guest lecturers, who may not be professional presenters, to the need for short delivery and sensible pace
  • See points 1 and 3 above
5. Distractability in the field
  • Background noise
  • Visual stimuli
  • Transport disturbance
  • Difficulties concentrating/listening when faced with the above
  • Staff need to be cognisant of problem
  • Select quieter locations
  • Separate observation, listening and recording tasks
  • Make clear to students the relative significance and level of priority of the points made
  • De-briefing and feedback session in the evening
6. Visual perception
  • Use of coloured paper for handouts and fieldwork note-books
  • Use blue marker on white board for seminar/lecture instead of black
  • Student wears coloured visor or coloured lenses
7. Group work/peer assessment
  • Reluctance to reveal weaker areas e.g. spelling, handwriting, inaccurate calculations
  • Not wanting to be treated differently
  • Verbal skills
  • Reading notes at speed
  • Give students with dyslexia opportunity to show possible strengths in other areas e.g. holistic creative ideas, leadership, good visuo-spatial strengths, lateral thinking skills
  • Alternative assessment

Page updated 14 December 2001

GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock