dys blocks

My Addictionary Word of the Day for Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 is:

(noun)  fognosis: a medical opinion that is unclear as to the likely course and outcome of a disease
Example: The Doctor’s fognosis left me without any clear hope of recovery.
Submitted by: UnkleKev

How clearly this illustrates the difficulties of the terminology surrounding assessing and making provision for learners with dyslexia.

I’ve probably written this elsewhere so bear with me: if we use the word diagnosis, then we imply a medical condition and consequently some sort of ‘cure’.

If, on the other hand, we say we are identifying whether a learner has a specific dyslexic/learning dificulty then we are firmly in the realm of education not medicine. This is more woolly than some would like but reflects better the real variations in personality, strengths, and problem areas that exist in every child we teach. As the HMIE document states:

Dyslexia is now seen widely as part of a continuum of needs that relate to approaches to developing language and literacy skills…. 

Curriculum for Excellence provides the opportunity to develop a new emphasis on the acquisition of literacy skills, in a thinking and problem solving approach to inclusion and success for all. Such an approach strengthens the role of teachers’ knowledge and professional development to ensure better outcomes for all learners.

It is right that teachers are empowered to make decisions about a child’s learning needs, as long as they take into account the knowledge that others (the children themselves, parents, other professionals, academics) have. After all, they are the ones who are in touch with the children on a daily basis.