Specific Learning Difficulties: What Teachers Need to Know

Students with Specific Learning Difficulties can be amongst the most interesting , challenging and exciting people to teach.’ In a typical class it is likely that there will be at least one or two pupils with SpLDs so the challenge for every teacher is to help these pupils to fulfil their potential and to leave school with positive self-esteem and achievements that support future aspirations .

Di Hudson’s new book, ‘Specific Learning Difficulties: What Teachers Need to Know‘ does what it says on the tin. It provides an up-to-date, accessible and insightful introduction to understanding and supporting pupils with SpLDs in mainstream classrooms. Although Di Hudson has modestly described the book as geared towards the Newly Qualified Teacher, far more experienced teachers may find its wealth of practical ideas and strategies to be a helpful source of reference and inspiration. This has become all the more relevant in light of the new SEND Code of Practice with its increased focus on effective differentiation.

The book is not designed to be read from cover to cover, but to be dipped into selectively. The first section considers the brain and learning, the second has a number of chapters dedicated to each of the common learning disabilities, and the final section deals with organisational skills and exams. Much of the book deals with the classroom realities for pupils with SpLDs giving attention to their strengths as well as seeking to create positive solutions for weaknesses. It is also written in bullet points to support the busy teacher. There is guidance, for example, on lesson structure, classroom seating, reading, spelling, giving notes in class, setting homework and marking. It covers the use of computers and assistive learning. This is a simple and effective guide written by a specialist teacher who is keen to pass on her wealth of experience to other teachers, and would make a useful addition to any staffroom library.

 

Olivera Raraty, Senior Deputy

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