Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) Study Skills Teacher
As a specialist study skills teacher with nearly 30 years of teaching practice, I am well equipped with the knowledge, skills, experience of supporting neurodivergent clients whilst they undertake their undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD programmes of study. I have supported students that are dyslexic and/or with co-occurring conditions which may include ADHD, ASC or OCD, depression and anxiety, firstly within adult and community education, work based employment and apprenticeship programmes, and now offer this support to higher education students, to enable them to meet their academic study and employment aspirations. I support clients to develop their own craft and signature style of writing, undertake analysis of their writing, provide a report within a critical analysis framework, which covers areas of writing dynamics including – punctuation and syntax, vocabulary, structure, meta-framework, style of writing, to help them learn more about their writing processes, including editing and proofreading techniques for improved recognition of own errors in writing.
Writing starts with ideas before text production and is a dynamic process of constant revision until satisfied with the overall result. It is not a skill but a craft!
Dyslexic adult learners struggle to create ideas for writing because of cognitive deficits associated with phonological awareness, working memory and verbal speed when trying to process information. This creates barriers when attempting to extract information from reading material to generate their own thoughts. It is necessary to access knowledge stored in long-term memory (pre-processed semantic material), to be able to articulate and generate idea creation for the writing process. This presents challenges for learners when they try to recall information. The process of idea creation is exasperated by cognitive overload
Significant barriers are faced by dyslexic learners when undertaking text production. Text production requires a wide range of skills and knowledge for example use of vocabulary and words, a voice/academic register, punctuation and grammar to be able to craft writing. Recoding is required to help consolidate and learn more about the field of writing. Moreover, text production requires further skills in writing structure, revision and proofreading. These combined tasks create challenges for dyslexic learners because of the increased demand on working memory – to be able to hold and process information simultaneously. Adult dyslexic learners struggle with using punctuation, constructing sentences, word order, paragraphs, spelling, creating a sense of purpose and style in their writing. Each area of text production can be a barrier to the writing process because it creates fatigue in dyslexic learners, due to increased cognitive overload when trying to access stored information in long-term memory and process new in-coming information
Some of the support strategies available under DSA remit are as follows:
- Academic Language
- Academic voice, register and terminology
- Concentration and Focus
- Memory challenges
- Critical Thinking Techniques
- Critical Writing
- Decoding Information (the assignment brief)
- Theory to Practice
- Mechanics of Writing (Grammar, Punctuation)
- IT and AT Skills
- Learning Styles
- Note Taking Strategies
- Numeracy and Statistics
- Reading Comprehension
- Proofreading Techniques
- Editing Techniques
- Academic Referencing Convention/s
- Research Skills
- Writing Structure
- Workload and Planning
DSA Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) Study Skills = £52 per hour
‘…I simply would not have been able to complete the thesis without Lesley’s support. By the end I was really close to a mental breakdown. The strain of putting thoughts down into a written format of this length and then all the going over for comprehension and readability was greater than I had envisaged. Lesley kept supporting me to unpick my written tangles and make sense whilst remaining confident in my ability despite my increasing feeling I could not complete.
What’s more she was so good at making sure she did not intervene in the theory or argument and retained a distance…’PhD client (2024).