Dyslexia is a difficulty in the acquisition of reading and writing that affects 10% of the population across Europe, irrespective of language. Without appropriate intervention and support, dyslexic pupils fail to develop the literacy skills necessary to access the curriculum in all subjects and to achieve academic success.
Until recently, the support of the multilingual dyslexic individual has been considered problematic due
to the diversity of individual linguistic backgrounds and the apparent complexity of the identification process. However, a shift in the education paradigm, from an attempt to label the child as dyslexic to
one of supporting the difficulties irrespective of the underlying issues, has opened the potential to providing appropriate intervention and support regardless of labels.
A booklet on dyslexia for Polish parents living in the UK was produced during the project.
It is available for download here.
There are various definitions of dyslexia. In some countries dyslexia refers to difficulties in reading and writing whereas others use the term only for reading difficulties. However, it is generally agreed that dyslexia is related to literacy acquisition but has many associated difficulties beyond literacy. We intend to clarify the issues of dyslexia and language learning, and describe how they vary in different cultures, languages and contexts, and show that there is no typical dyslexic. Every individual has to be understood with respect to their strengths and weaknesses, abilities and disabilities. Dyslexia is not an excuse for low ability, nor the product of poor teaching, but a real problem that affects the learning of many individuals.
Dyslexia can affect literacy acquisition in an individual’s first and subsequent languages. Awareness of these problems is relevant for both teachers of the language of schooling and foreign language teachers. The purpose of this project is to provide teachers with tools and strategies to help students cope with these problems.
Individuals with Bulgarian origin constitute 84.8% of the population, individuals with Turkish origin 8.8% of the population and individuals with Gipsy origin 4.9% of the population (for at least 25-30% of them Turkish is mother tongue). Read more
Total number of all pupils and students in the Czech Republic was 2 086 163, foreigners accounted for 2.9% of them. The biggest group are pupils coming from Vietnam, Ukraine and Slovakia. Read more
In the school year 2010/2011 there were 710 263 students with non-Italian citizenship. Compare to the previous school year, there was an increase of 5,4%. The most highly represented foreign nationality is Romanian. Read more
In the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, children learn at school 3 additional languages: French, German and English. In School Year 2009‐2010 the percentage of immigrant students in primary schools, considering their mother tongue, was about 21%. Read more
Approximately 85% of the population in Turkey reports Turkish as the native language, followed by Kurdish (12%), Arabic (1%) and Zaza (1%). Read more
There are more than a million children between 5-18 years old in UK schools who speak in excess of 360 languages between them. Read more
Wales is a country where English is the main language but close to 25% of the population also speak the indigenous language, Welsh. Read more
Researchers often define as 'bilingual' those people who are able to communicate in two languages, and as 'multilingual' those who are able to communicate in three or more languages. In this project the terms 'bilingual' and 'multilingual' will be used interchangeably to refer to all those who can communicate with a good level of competence in more than one language.
All Dyslang course participants are invited to send us their examples of good practice.
What methods and approaches have you found effective when working with dyslexic multilingual learners? What supporting tools have you found useful in your teaching practice? We would like to publish your examples here so we can develop an online community of good practice.
We request you to send your contributions to the relevant project partner:JillF@bdadyslexia.org.uk
Click here to find discussions about language learning, information about other dyslexia-related projects and opportunities for practising languages.
Participants’ comments about course
“This course has enabled me to gain a teaching post as a learning support teacher in a bilingual international school, and consequently I am moving to France”. (Amanda)
“The course has inspired me to see my teaching in a different context and definitely has had an impact in all aspects of my lesson planning, delivery and differentiation”. (Gina)
“I’ve started to apply all the knowledge in every day lessons and I feel more reliable to support parents and students. I will now train my departmental staff with more accuracy and recommendations”. (Fabrice)
Project title: Dyslexia and Additional Academic Language Learning (DYSLANG)
Proposal number: 518969-LLP-1-2011-1-UK-KA2-KA2MP
Applicant organization: British Dyslexia Association
The aim of this project is to develop a guide and e-learning course for teachers and parents to support the multilingual dyslexic individual in learning an additional curriculum language. That is, for example, in the UK a child may have Welsh as their first language, use English in the classroom, but also have to learn French. In terms of the Call for Proposals, it addresses:
FET Colleges First National Conference, Johannesburg, South Africa (27/10/2013)
South Africa is a nation with 11 national languages. The concept of dyslexia is new to them, and the Further Education and Training Conference was a good opportunity to share ideas and concepts. Details of the Dyslang resources were given to college and campus heads, as well as to others who expressed an interest in the subject.
Welsh Assembly Dyslexia Networking Event, Cardiff, UK (17/10/2013)
The Welsh Government will be hosting a Dyslexia Networking Event on 17 October at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. The event is aimed at organisations and practitioners that work with children with Dyslexia. The event is designed to be an opportunity to network, share experiences and knowledge amongst practitioners and organisations who provide support and/or materials. Speakers include Professor Amanda Kirby, a leading expert on Dyslexia and Emma Williams, Head of Support for Learners at the Welsh Government. There will be an opportunity for networking and to view resources and software tools used to support children with Dyslexia.
Sept 25 - PATOSS Bath Spa University (25/9/2013)
The Avon local group of the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (PATOSS) invited to Dee McCarney to give a presentation on Multilingualism in the Classroom. This was a follow up from the workshop day in Caerleon which was attended by the Avon PATOSS secretary. The presentation contained general information on the diversity of multilingualism across Europe and then introduced the pedagogical approach of translanguaging which generated a lot of interest and discussion among the approximately 18 teachers present. Printed material on Dyslang was distributed as well as some language activities and useful links for more information on the topics of multilingualism and translanguaging.
EDA Conference networking, Vaxjo, Sweden (21/09/2013)
The European Dyslexia Association conference, held every three years, brought together individuals from across Europe and beyond to share research and practice. It provided an opportunity for information about the Dyslang project to be received by colleagues not only from partner countries, but also others.