On Wednesday 25th September, the launch of Science Stars, one of St George’s flagship widening participation programmes, took place at the university.
Professor Derek Macallan, Professor of Infectious Diseases, discusses HIV.
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Disabled students and those with specific learning difficulties (SpLDs) are entitled to support at university to ensure they’re able to access their course and achieve their full potential. The disability team are responsible for recommending reasonable adjustments in all areas of teaching and learning including placement.
It is not always easy to identify a student with specific learning difficulties or dyslexia, but there are some common features which may alert you to this possibility. It is usually necessary to observe a student’s learning over time to see a pattern of difficulties. However, you may notice the following:
a significant and noticeable discrepancy between verbal and written performance
persistent problems with sentence structure, punctuation and organization of written work – not due to educational background
persistent or severe problems with spelling, even with simple or common words
a tendency to consistently lose their place in reading, or in a diagram
difficulty getting ideas on to paper
poor or illegible handwriting
an inability to identify or correct their errors in written work
a tendency to forget things quickly and a weak working memory.
If at any point you are concerned that a student may have dyslexia/SpLD then please refer them to the disability service. We can run a screening for SpLD and if necessary will then refer them for a full diagnostic assessment. If the screening is negative the student will be signposted to more appropriate learning support to help them with their particular difficulties.
If you would like to discuss any of the above prior to making a referral please do contact the disability adviser who will be happy to help.
Any student who has accessed the disability service and is eligible for reasonable adjustments will have a Summary of Support Needs. This document is usually kept confidential, however, if it contains information that you will need to know in order to make your teaching sessions available then the course administrator or disability coordinator is responsible for passing this information to you.
Alternatively, the student themselves may give you a copy. Ideally your lectures and teaching sessions should be as inclusive as possible but there may be students who have individual reasonable adjustments, such as a deaf student who needs to lip read or a student who may need to leave the room regularly for toilet breaks which you may need to be aware of.
Making your teaching sessions more inclusive benefits all students, not just those who are disabled or who have SpLDs and reduces the need to make individual adjustments for students.
Some simple yet effective approaches are listed below.
Making lecture notes and other material available at least 48 hours in advance. This allows students to prepare for lectures, read around the subject and contextualise what they are going to hear. This can make the process of note taking much easier.
Allowing recording using Panopto: all students find access to recordings of lectures invaluable when it comes to revision. For many disabled students these recording are even more important as it takes away the need to concentrate on taking notes during the lecture and allows them to listen to what is being said more carefully. For students with health conditions which affect their attendance, accessing recordings makes it much easier to keep up with work.
Using a style guide when producing powerpoints, handouts or other visual information. The British Dyslexia Association has a useful guide.
Arranging for video content to be captioned.
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