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Dyspraxia and learning

http://inclusive.tki.org.nz/guides/dyspraxia-and-learning/

Dyspraxia often affects a student’s motor skills, language, social interactions, and their ability to organise themselves. Most students with developmental dyspraxia will succeed when small adjustments are made to teaching and learning. Some students may need additional support in particular learning areas.

This guide focuses on areas for specific support and on whole-class strategies that benefit all students. Links to in-depth resources and specialist support services are included.

Categories

Specifically about
Dyspraxia
Also related to
Removing barriers to learning
Innovative learning environments

Information about dyspraxia

Dyspraxia affects each person in unique ways. Students may need support with a range of day-to-day tasks, or they may need support in specific areas.

Possible indicators of dyspraxia.

Source: Lexxic (UK)

Suggestions and resources

Developmental dyspraxia

Developmental dyspraxia, also known as developmental coordination disorder, is a neurologically-based impairment that may affect any or all areas of development – physical, intellectual, emotional, sensory, social, and language.

Students with dyspraxia may appear to be no different from their peers until they try to learn new skills or known ones are taken out of their usual context. Dyspraxia often occurs with, or as part of, other neurological conditions.

Areas where support is likely to be needed are learning, planning, speech and coordinating movements in sequence to achieve an objective. Students may also need support to process information and to communicate what they know and understand.

Developmental dyspraxia
Dyspraxia described (video)
What exactly is dyspraxia?

Robin Pauc, Director of the Tinsley House Clinic, explains dyspraxia.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Tinsley House Clinic (UK)

Dyspraxia described
Acquired dyspraxia (video)
Acquired dyspraxia: Dom’s story

Dyspraxia may be acquired (for instance, as a result of a head injury) and present in a similar way as developmental dyspraxia. Depending on previous learning, and age and stage of development, acquired dyspraxia may present in different ways.

No captions or transcript available

Source: NHS Choices (UK)

Acquired dyspraxia
Verbal dyspraxia (video)
Developmental verbal dyspraxia

For some children, their primary challenge is in planning, making, and coordinating the precise movements required for the development and consistent use of intelligible speech.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Sharma Edwards (Australia)

Verbal dyspraxia

Resources and downloads

Coordination

Detailed information about dyspraxia by The Dyspraxia Support Group of New Zealand.

Information about Dyspraxia

Information about dyspraxia by the University of Auckland.

Developmental verbal dyspraxia

A paper on developmental verbal dyspraxia by Pam Williams Dip. CST; M Sc; MRCSLT.

Symptoms and signs of dyspraxia (video)
Dyspraxia symptoms and signs

Professor Amanda Kirby describes symptoms and signs of dyspraxia.

No captions or transcript available

Source: DysTalk (UK)

Symptoms and signs of dyspraxia
Areas of support needed

Possible areas where students with dyspraxia may need support

Gross motor:

  • balance and posture
  • coordination of the two sides of the body, which affects activities such as jumping or skipping.

Fine motor coordination:

  • holding and manipulating small objects
  • handwriting, drawing
  • hand-eye coordination
  • eye movements – looking to the board and back to exercise book.

Self organisation:

  • time management
  • thinking and language processing
  • short-term memory
  • spatial skills
  • misunderstanding body language.

Adapted from Lexxic: Dyspraxia

Areas of support needed
Animated description of dyspraxia (video)
Dyspraxia and me

An animation explaining Abi Hocking’s experience of dyspraxia.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Fixers UK (UK)

Animated description of dyspraxia

Resources and downloads

Coordination

Detailed information about dyspraxia by The Dyspraxia Support Group of New Zealand.

Information about Dyspraxia

Information about dyspraxia by the University of Auckland.

A student's perspective (NZ) (video)
Netbooks – Allowing excellence in the classroom

A student with dyspraxia talks about how netbooks have helped his learning.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

A student's perspective (NZ)
Information about speech apraxia (video)
Talk tips for teachers: Childhood apraxia of speech

A visual presentation of the descriptors of speech apraxia. The video includes practical classroom tips for teachers.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Kim Singleton (US)

Information about speech apraxia
A parent discusses dyspraxia (video)
A parent discusses dyspraxia

James’ mother describes the indicators of James’ dyspraxia and strategies used to improve James’ movement and coordination.

No captions or transcript available

Source: NHS Choices (UK)

A parent discusses dyspraxia
Challenges and teaching approaches (image)
How dyspraxia can influence learning
Every situation and every student is different

How dyspraxia can influence learning summarises some of the challenges students with dyspraxia experience at school, and outlines teaching opportunities to support learning.

Developmental dyspraxia: A resource for educators examines how dyspraxia can influence learning and provides strategies teachers can use in the classroom.

 

Source: Ministry of Education

Challenges and teaching approaches

Resources and downloads

Dyspraxia

A catalogue of videos describing dyspraxia and ways to support people with dyspraxia from the UK website dysTalk. No captions or transcripts are available.

How dyspraxia can influence learning

A summary of the challenges students with dyspraxia experience at school, with an outline of teaching opportunities to support learning. A Ministry of Education publication.

Developmental dyspraxia: A resource for educators

This Ministry of Education booklet examines how dyspraxia can influence learning and provides strategies teachers can use in the classroom.

Back to top

Identifying needs and strengths, and accessing support

Get to know the student and take an evidence-based approach to identifying where they need support. Work in partnership with the student, their whānau, and those with expertise and experience.

A student with dyspraxia talks about how netbooks have helped his learning.

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Closed captioning available in player

Suggestions and resources

Sample learner profile (image)
Learner profile
Who am I?

A learner profile can be created in any format including:

  • a document with photos
  • a slide presentation with a series of pictures
  • a video
  • a blog.

Source: Ministry of Education (NZ)

Sample learner profile
Benefits of learner profiles

It’s useful to develop a profile of all of your students, and to use this as the basis of a class profile.

A learner profile tells teachers about students. It sits alongside assessment data. It helps school staff to build relationships with students and to understand things from a student perspective. This can inform planning, classroom layout, timetabling, and supports to enable students to participate and contribute.

Developing a learner profile means your students can:

  • express who they are
  • address assumptions
  • express their aspirations and passions
  • have a say in what goes on for them.

Senior students may prefer to just have a conversation. Take time to get the student’s views of what will support their learning.

Benefits of learner profiles
What to include in a learner profile

The purpose of a learner profile can be agreed by the student, their whānau, and the teacher.

Depending on its purpose, a useful profile (whether an official document or simply inquiry on your part) can include:

  1. important people

  2. cultural connections and experiences

  3. languages spoken

  4. things the student is good at

  5. memorable life experiences

  6. how they like to unwind and relax

  7. likes and interests

  8. dislikes and things they avoid

  9. how they like to learn and what helps

  10. things that make it hard for them to learn

  11. what they do when they need help.

What to include in a learner profile
Surveying students

In the video Student Profiles, Canadian secondary teacher, Naryn Searcy describes how she asks students about how they learn most effectively. She also asks students what is important to them beyond school.

She uses this information in her planning:

"I personally do a survey at the beginning of every class every semester, just everything from personal background to their history in the subject area to things they like to do outside of school, usually put a whole bunch of activities down there that we would potentially do in the class and ask them to rank it, you know what would you enjoy doing, what would you not like doing.

So just to get an idea of who is in the classroom to begin with and what they would benefit, or what they want to see in the class, what would work for them."

Source: UDL supporting diversity in BC schools (Canada)

Surveying students

Resources and downloads

Rachel's learner profile (NZ high school)

An example of a secondary student’s learner profile.

Laiza’s transition

An example of a primary school student’s learner profile, developed by the adults around her.

Stephen’s letter

Stephen introduces himself to his teachers before starting at Garin College in Nelson.

Developing learner profiles

This document provides general support and guidance when developing a learner profile. It includes prompts and questions, along side purpose and benefits for students.

About me

This learner profile template is a companion to "Developing learner profiles". It is an interactive PDF with questions for students to answer.

Most effective when used together

A parent discusses dyspraxia (video)
Childhood dyspraxia: James’ story

James’ mother describes the indicators of James’ dyspraxia and strategies used to improve James’ movement and coordination.

No captions or transcript available

Source: NHS Choices (UK)

A parent discusses dyspraxia
Suggestions for working with whānau

Suggestions for working with parents and whānau

  1. Communicate and share information in a meaningful way, demonstrating understanding and support for parents’ concerns.

  2. Value family members’ knowledge about their child and assessments they have had done outside school.

  3. Involve parents and whānau in determining strategies to support student learning and well-being.

  4. Work with programmes or materials parents and whānau are using at home to maximise consistency and support for the student.

  5. Develop systems for passing on information about a student’s needs, progress and next steps from one teacher to the next.

  6. Share information about out-of-school programmes that may help to boost the student’s self-esteem (for example, classes or groups for music, art, hobbies or sport).

Suggestions for working with whānau
Questions to ask parents

Connect with the family to understand the strengths and needs of students.

Practical elements:

  • the language/s spoken at home
  • medications and allergies
  • equipment used at home
  • what they do at home to support learning.

Student’s likes and dislikes:

  • likes, interests, what they’re good at, need help with, can do independently
  • dislikes, what can upset them, how they express this, calming skills
  • favourites (TV programmes, hobbies, books, songs, sports).

The people in the student’s life:

  • parent and whānau hopes and priorities
  • important people in the student’s life
  • best methods and times to communicate with the family
  • professionals working with the family
  • questions they have and support they would like from the school.
Questions to ask parents
Talk with parents and caregivers (NZ) (video)
Continuity

Find out what approaches and strategies have worked well for students in their previous school and work well at home.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Talk with parents and caregivers (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Using hobbies to develop self-esteem

Professor Amanda Kirby describes how to help your child develop self esteem through hobbies in this video. No transcript or closed captions available.

Succeeding at school: Accommodations for students with coordination difficulties

Possible accommodations that can be made in the classroom to support students with developmental coordination disorder.

Family/whānau file

A booklet published by the Ministry of Education to help parents of students with additional needs to brief their child’s school.

The role of the occupational therapist (video)
The role of the occupational therapist

Professor Amanda Kirby describes the role of the occupational therapist.

No captions or transcript available

Source: dystalk (UK)

The role of the occupational therapist
Working as a team

Suggestions for an effective partnership with the learning support coordinator and RTLB

  1. Share your concerns, questions and ideas.

  2. Take an inquiry approach: discuss assessment approaches, evaluate assessment data together, and consider possible strategies and approaches.

  3. Meet together with the student and whānau and take a team approach to planning and providing support.

  4. Find out about other staff members who have experience of teaching students with dyspraxia or a personal experience of dyspraxia, who might be happy to advise you.

  5. Ask about recommended resources and online communities.

Working as a team
Collaborating using e-portfolios (NZ) (video)
Using e-portfolios to collaborate

John Robinson, HoD Learning Support, reflects on the impact of using digital technologies to more effectively share information about students among staff.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Collaborating using e-portfolios (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Developmental apraxia of speech and developmental verbal dyspraxia: The mystery of the minimally and/or non-verbacl child

An explanation of the terms and suggestions to help the younger child to communicate.

New Zealand organisations

New Zealand resources and organisations that provide support for people with dyspraxia and advice for teachers and families:

New Zealand organisations
Resources about dyspraxia

Useful online resources about dyspraxia for teachers

CanChild – Centre for childhood disability research provide practical advice for teachers and schools, including:

NB: In this resource dyspraxia is referred to as Developmental Coordination Disorder or DCD.

Resources about dyspraxia

Resources and downloads

Information for parents and caregivers of children with special education needs: Support organisations and useful contacts

A list of national organisations that support students with additional needs and their families, compiled by the Ministry of Education.

Dyspraxia

A catalogue of videos describing dyspraxia and ways to support people with dyspraxia from the UK website dysTalk. No captions or transcripts are available.

Back to top

Supporting key areas of learning and wellbeing: motor skills, personal organisation, social interaction, and positive behaviour

Identify the strengths of students with dyspraxia and create a positive environment where they can thrive.

Plan with the student’s experiences and needs in mind. Regularly review the effectiveness of what you are doing.

It [the laptop] becomes another limb, basically to that child. The impact on Tyler has been huge. He is full of confidence, full of self esteem. He loves to go to school ‘cause he knows that, that new limb of his goes everywhere with him basically. That’s how he sees it and yeah it’s opening up a whole new world of possibilities for him too, in his learning and for his future really.

Source: Parent of son with dyspraxia

Suggestions and resources

Improving balance (image)
Student on a climbing frame
Extend opportunities for physical activity

Increase opportunities for indoor and outdoor physical activities throughout the school day.

Source: Ministry of Education

Improving balance
Supporting handwriting (video)
Minimising barriers

Avoid asking students to copy from the board.

Provide lined paper and easy-to-grip pencils.

Encourage the student to use a tablet to take a photo of handwriting to access at their table.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Dream Box (US)

Supporting handwriting
Supporting coordination (video)
Activities for home and school

Professor Amanda Kirby provides advice about activities to support coordination.

Where possible integrate these into classroom routines.

No captions or transcript available

Source: dysalk (UK)

Supporting coordination

Resources and downloads

Handwriting and dyspraxia

Strategies and tips to support students with dyspraxia. A publication by Lois Addy, Senior Lecturer, School of Professional Health Studies, University of Leeds.

Tips for teachers (from I.L.S.A. Conference)

Strategies to develop motor skills, spatial awareness, language, social communication, organisation and curriculum learning.

Time management apps (video)
Using visual timers

Offer students digital visual timers such as Time Timer to help them keep track of time and increase focus and attention.

 

 

No captions or transcript available

Source: Time Timer

Time management apps
Organising ideas (image)
Student creating a popplet on an ipad
Mapping tools

Model how mind maps can be used to break down a task and organise ideas.

Source: Ministry of Education

Organising ideas
Using visual strategies

Use visual strategies to support independence

  1. Label key areas of the classroom and resources with visual and text labels.

  2. Use charts, visual calendars, colour-coded schedules, visible timers and visual cues to increase students’ ability to predict regular activities, transitions between environments and activities and changes in discussion topics.

  3. Break tasks into chunks using simple graphic organisers and flow charts.

  4. Use coloured threads or symbols marked on clothing to distinguish front and back.

  5. Discuss with parents the possibility of writing "R" and "L" inside shoes to indicate right and left.

Using visual strategies
Supporting independent dressing

Use visual strategies and flexible time frames to support confidence and independence

During swimming or physical education classes, students with dyspraxia may need to begin changing sooner than others to be ready alongside their peers. Consider inviting parents to develop markers or identifiers with their child to aid independence such as: 

  • coloured threads or symbols marked on clothing to distinguish front and back
  • "R" and "L" inside shoes to indicate right and left.
Supporting independent dressing

Resources and downloads

Graphic organizers

A collation of free graphic organisers from the Universal Design for Learning toolkit. These include hardcopy, App organisers, Chrome extensions, and computer options.

Graphic Organizers

Advice about how to support students in the effective use of a variety of graphic organisers on the Resources for Teachers website.

Succeeding at school: Accommodations for students with coordination difficulties

Possible accommodations that can be made in the classroom to support students with developmental coordination disorder.

Supporting social skills (video)
Helping children with social skills and communications

Professor Amanda Kirby describes how to help children with social and communication skills.

No captions or transcript available

Source: dystalk (UK)

Supporting social skills
Supporting transitions

Plan ahead for students changing schools, moving on to secondary school or leaving school

  1. Ask the student about their concerns and their ideas about the best ways to support their transition.

  2. Talk to the learning support coordinator at the new school to find out about the learning environments they will be moving to.

  3. Give the student the opportunity to spend time in their new school, meeting their teachers and other students and visiting the classrooms where they will work.

  4. If the student would find it helpful, work with the new school to introduce them to a buddy to support the transition.

  5. Support students to practise the skills needed for job interviews.

Supporting transitions

Resources and downloads

Social stories creator and library for preschool, autism, and special needs

A free app for creating and sharing educational social stories and visual schedules. Download for iPhone and iPad.

Functional behavioural assessment (image)
Functional Behavioural Assessment
Why students behave the way they do

All behaviours communicate something. Respond to the function (the why) of the behaviour, rather than to the behaviour itself.

Source: Adapted from the Practical Functional Behavioral Assessment Training Manual for School-Based Personnel (US)

Functional behavioural assessment
Classroom supports
  1. Build positive interaction – remove or minimise things that can cause distress.

  2. Create opportunities for students to take the lead using their strengths and interests.

  3. Help students to develop a strong sense of identity and be knowledgeable about their specific learning needs and abilities.

  4. Consistently teach and reinforce classroom and playground rules.

  5. Take opportunities to give specific positive feedback about attempted tasks that meet achievement goals.

  6. Consider short term contracts to achieve learning goals and task expectations. Negotiate these with the student.

  7. Give choice within set alternatives, starting with one out of two possible choices.

  8. Develop cues individually with the student that will signal such things as when they need to refocus or take a break from a task or situation.

  9. Teach organisation and time management skills.

  10. Teach coping skills.

  11. Teach alternative and appropriate ways to achieve goals, relating to others and ways to have fun.

Classroom supports
Anticipating difficult times

Minimise confusion, tiredness, and frustration for students with dyspraxia

As students engage in new learning and face challenges in communication or coordination, establish clear classroom routines and systems of support including:

  1. a clearly-displayed daily timetable

  2. clear and consistent instructions and approaches to work

  3. supports such as a netbook or laptop to enable students to overcome their particular physical needs

  4. ways of managing situations that may cause your student to react (such as changing the time, location or duration of an activity)

  5. promoting self management strategies, such as taking a break

  6. providing frequent specific positive feedback when your student makes good choices.

Anticipating difficult times

Resources and downloads

ClassDojo

An online tool to support positive and on-task behaviour in the classroom.

Social stories creator and library for preschool, autism, and special needs

A free app for creating and sharing educational social stories and visual schedules. Download for iPhone and iPad.

Encourage positive behaviours

Section from the Positive Behaviour for Learning website on the Ministry of Education’s TKI portal that provides strategies for encouraging positive behaviour in the individual, the classroom and school-wide.

Practical functional behavioral assessment manual for school-based personnel: Participants guidebook

This manual, released by Technical Assistance Centre on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, provides a step-by-step guide to understanding Functional Behavioral Assessment.

Back to top

Using whole-class strategies to support students with dyspraxia in years 1–6

Take a look at your classroom, including your teaching strategies, assessment processes, materials, and the ways you construct learning tasks. Consider how it feels and works for your students who have dyspraxia.

 

"For supporting writing what I like to do is to give them [students] some variety with presenting. Tyler loves to do voice recordings, then he gets to add his expression to his writing so we can really hear him speaking to us, which is a really great tool for him to use."

Source: Jody Garland, teacher Parkvale Primary School

Suggestions and resources

Problem-solving at Stonefields School (NZ) (video)
Supporting collaboration and resilience

Support students to develop strategies for “getting out of the pit” when they get stuck in their learning.

View transcript

Source: Chris Bradbeer (NZ)

Problem-solving at Stonefields School (NZ)
Suggestions for building confidence
  1. Use your knowledge of students’ cultures, interests and strengths to create opportunities for them to take the lead.

  2. Foster tuakana-teina relationships and create a class culture where students support each other.

  3. Make sure stories of success get back to the students’ parents and whānau.

  4. Act quickly on any concerns about a student’s well-being.

  5. Recognise avoidance strategies and provide support and encouragement.

  6. Give ongoing prompts and positive feedback and provide students with strategies to help them when they get stuck.

Suggestions for building confidence
Building intrinsic motivation (video)
Helping children to build confidence

Professor Kirby describes how to help students build confidence by giving specific feedback and build intrinsic motivation by supporting students to set their own goals and identify steps to achieving them.

No captions or transcript available

Source: dystalk (UK)

Building intrinsic motivation

Resources and downloads

ClassDojo

An online tool to support positive and on-task behaviour in the classroom.

Vary approaches (image)
A list of ways to show what you know
Be creative in presenting information to students

Model and practise creative ways to present information that supports engagement and understanding.

Source: For the teachers blog

Vary approaches
Ideas for presenting content

 

Consider the most effective ways to present information to support understanding. 

  1. Keep online environments visually clean and uncluttered with straight forward navigation.

  2. Take a multisensory approach – use real experiences, physical activities and manipulables to support understanding.

  3. Provide multiple visual and physical examples of information, using infographics, real objects, images, video and interactives on devices.

  4. Support text with visuals and audio.

  5. Present digital rather than printed text so that students can personalise it by choosing fonts, font size, screen brightness and digital tools such as glossaries.

  6. Use blogs, wikis, and online tools such as Moodle to bring together different versions of content in one place (for example, a YouTube video, a graphic and some text).

Ideas for presenting content
Utilising text-to-speech tools (video)
Introduce students to alternative ways of accessing text

In this video tutorial, US educator and UDL consultant, Kit Hard explains how to use text-to-speech to access digital text across the curriculum.

View transcript

Source: Kit Hard (US)

Utilising text-to-speech tools
Supporting understanding (NZ) (video)
Taking a UDL approach

Provide students with multiple opportunities to engage with new idea.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Supporting understanding (NZ)
Finding videos with closed captions

How to find YouTube videos with closed captions using a laptop or desktop computer

  1. Search for YouTube and open the home page.

  2. Type search subject (for example “frogs”) into YouTube search bar and press return key.

  3. On left of screen, click the tab called “Filters” and a menu box will open.

  4. Select “subtitles/CC” under the Features list.

  5. Select a video from the selection of filtered videos presented by YouTube.

  6. Watch the selected video with the closed captions turned on to check for accuracy before sharing with students.

  7. Share closed captioned video with students.

Finding videos with closed captions

Resources and downloads

Representation

In this video on the UDL: Supporting diversity in BC schools website, Canadian teachers share some of the ways they prepare learning materials to address diverse student needs in their classrooms. No captions or transcript available.

Dyspraxia – Classroom guidelines

A series of classroom strategies to support specific dyspraxic learning needs.

Dyspraxia – Classroom guidelines info pack

Scroll down the Time Management Guide for College Students page on Dyspraxia Association of Ireland's website to find the resource, Classroom guidelines for teachers of students with dyspraxia – available in either PDF or PowerPoint format.

Everyone's In: An inclusive planning tool

This planning tool has been developed for teachers by the Ministry of Education. It is designed to assist with developing a classroom curriculum that works for all students, from the outset.

Environments to support thinking (NZ) (video)
Options at St Mary’s School, Mosgiel

Flexible learning environments enable students to adjust and adapt them to meet their needs.

Innovation in reducing distractions can lead to unique solutions.

View transcript

Source: EDtalks (NZ)

Environments to support thinking (NZ)
Supporting organisation with visuals

Suggestions for supporting student’s organisation

  1. Label key areas of the classroom and resources with visual and text labels.

  2. Use charts, visual calendars, colour-coded schedules, visible timers and visual cues to increase the predictability of regular activities, transitions between environments and activities, and changes in discussion topics.

  3. Make graphic organisers and flow charts available to support breaking tasks into chunks, and thinking and planning in all curriculum areas.

Supporting organisation with visuals
Supporting task completion

Create an environment where students can complete tasks

Give students with dyspraxia the time they need to succeed. Consider reducing the quantity rather than the complexity of the learning.

  1. Provide instruction in short segments (for example, teach → student activity → teach → student activity).

  2. Provide students with a checklist with tasks broken into smaller segments. Highlight key parts of the task.

  3. Before beginning a task, have students explain their understanding of what they are doing (they can do this with a buddy).

  4. Give positive feedback to students who start promptly.

  5. Check on student progress frequently.

  6. Ensure that all materials and resources are accessible.

  7. Help students to develop an action plan outlining the key steps required to complete difficult tasks.

Supporting task completion
Using mind maps (image)
A mind map
Supporting understanding

Model the use of colour, symbols, and images alongside text when using mind maps.

Encourage students to use mind maps to support thinking and organise ideas.

Source: Barrett Discovery

Using mind maps
Supporting processing
  1. Highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas and relationships using visuals, mind maps, 3-D manipulatives, outlines, flow charts and real objects.

  2. Give students multiple opportunities to engage with new ideas.

  3. Provide extra time for students to think and process before responding in a discussion.

  4. Use mind maps to brainstorm ideas and make connections.

  5. Provide opportunities for students to use their whole bodies to make connections and build understanding, e.g. drawing large chalk circles on the ground or using hoops for venn diagrams.

Supporting processing

Resources and downloads

Graphic organizers

A collation of free graphic organisers from the Universal Design for Learning toolkit. These include hardcopy, App organisers, Chrome extensions, and computer options.

Classroom guidelines for schools and teachers

Classroom strategies to manage dyspraxic challenges. This resource was created by the Dyspraxia Foundation (UK).

Graphic Organizers

Advice about how to support students in the effective use of a variety of graphic organisers on the Resources for Teachers website.

Everyone's In: An inclusive planning tool

This planning tool has been developed for teachers by the Ministry of Education. It is designed to assist with developing a classroom curriculum that works for all students, from the outset.

Removing barriers to writing (NZ) (video)
Using netbooks to assist writing

Using a netbook gives Tyler the freedom to write creatively rather than being inhibited by the speed of his handwriting or his ability to form letters.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Removing barriers to writing (NZ)
Personalising learning checklist

Optimise the environment for personalised learning. Identify and minimise potential barriers to students successfully demonstrating their understanding.

  1. Create opportunities where students can personalise learning tasks and build on their knowledge, experience and strengths.

  2. Develop success criteria with the students and present it supported by visuals.

  3. Structure collaborative activities so that each student knows what they are expected to do.

  4. Create opportunities for students to gain confidence in a range of media so that they can select the most appropriate to express and share their learning.

  5. Make learning support tools available to all students (text-to-speech, graphic organisers, planning tools, storyboards and so on).

  6. Assess understanding and presentation separately.

  7. Discuss with students how to support them to demonstrate their understanding in assessments. 

Personalising learning checklist
Using digital collaborative tools (image)
Google Doc with student comments
Flexible collaboration

Offer students tools such as Google Docs that easily support 24/7 collaboration and timely feedback.

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Using digital collaborative tools
Ways to show what you know (image)
A list of ways to show what you know
Encourage and value creativity

Provide students with a range of options and supports to enable them to confidently and creatively express their thinking.

Source: For the teachers blog

Ways to show what you know
Supporting success in assessments

Discuss with students what support they need to demonstrate their understanding in assessments.

Consider:

  1. possible barriers hidden in the physical environment, for example: unfamiliar layout of room, lighting, temperature

  2. possible barriers hidden in the resources and materials, for example: cluttered presentation, hard-to-read diagrams, unclear layout, hard-copies only

  3. approaches to managing time allocations such as calendar tools and visual timers

  4. approaches to managing anxiety

  5. approaches to maintaining concentration

  6. negotiating breaks

  7. use of digital technologies such as text-to-speech and predictive text

  8. pre-teaching specific assessment/exam skills, such as how to approach multiple choice questions.

Supporting success in assessments

Resources and downloads

Assistive Technology (AT) guide

Use this guide to identify more specialised devices that may support your students and how and when to use them.

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Using whole-class strategies to support students with dyspraxia in years 7–13

Take a reflective look at your learning environment, including your teaching strategies, assessment processes, materials, and the way in which you construct learning. Imagine how it feels for your students with dyspraxia.

For the adolescent with DCD [developmental co-ordination disorder or dyspraxia] to flourish, he needs to develop a clear understanding of his strengths. At the same time the school needs to offer a variety of routes for the adolescent to be able to reach his goal.

Amanda Kirby, The adolescent with developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), p 91

Suggestions and resources

The experience of being dyspraxic (video)
Dyspraxia and me – another one!

Gabriel Neil talks about his experiences as a person with dyspraxia.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Gabriel Neil (UK)

The experience of being dyspraxic
Suggestions for building confidence
  1. Ask students how they learn and like to learn.

  2. Use students’ interests and strengths as basis for teaching.

  3. Recognise and eliminate situations that students may find difficult or embarrassing because of their physical or cognitive differences.

  4. Foster tuakana-teina relationships and create a class culture where students support each other.

  5. Feedback success to students’ parents and whānau.

  6. Pick up quickly on any concerns about a student’s well-being.

  7. Recognise avoidance strategies and provide support and encouragement.

  8. Give students extra time to complete work.

  9. Make learning supports, such as text-to-speech and word prediction, available to all students.

  10. Enable students to show their strengths and contribute their ideas in collaborative work, without the challenge of lengthy writing tasks.

  11. Give ongoing prompts and positive feedback, and provide the student with strategies to help them when they get stuck.

Suggestions for building confidence
Being dyspraxic (video)
Living with dyspraxia

A visual presentation of the experience of being dyspraxic.

No captions or transcript available

Source: India Carmody (UK)

Being dyspraxic
Quiet spaces (image)
Students working in a quiet space
Providing quiet spaces for thinking and working

Provide opportunities for students to access best spaces for thinking, for example, a quiet space or a buddy to think with, or to wear headphones and listen to music or block out noise.

Source: EDtalks

Quiet spaces

Resources and downloads

Secondary school age

The Dyspraxia Foundation website provides a description of dyspraxia supported by tips and strategies to ensure students are encouraged and supported to participate in learning with others, experiencing success.

Using a range of media (video)
Provide a clear layout

An example of an alternative way to present information.

The video has simple images with a concise verbal explanation, supported by closed captions. 

This TEDEd page with surrounding content has an easy-to-read predictable layout with clear title, short focused text, and easy to access supporting material.

 

Closed captioning available in player

Source: TED-Ed (US)

Using a range of media
Ideas for presenting content

Consider the most effective ways to present information to support understanding

Without overwhelming students with too many options, support students with dyspraxia and choose the best options for them.

  1. Take a multisensory approach – use real experiences, physical activities, manipulables, photos, graphics and video alongside text or spoken content.

  2. Present digital rather than printed text so that students can personalise it, and use tools such as text-to speech.

  3. Use blogs, wikis, and online tools such as Moodle to bring together different versions of content in one place (for example, a YouTube video, a graphic and some text).

  4. Create digital rather than only hard copy content and information. This enables students to personalise how they access. They can listen to it, add digital sticky notes or sync it to online calendars and organise it in ways that work for them.

  5. Turn on the closed captions on videos.

  6. Avoid using handouts or workbooks that can’t be adjusted.

  7. Make instructions, demonstrations or key content rewindable and accessible 24/7.

Ideas for presenting content
Utilising text-to-speech tools (video)
Introduce students to alternative ways of accessing text

In this video tutorial, US educator and UDL consultant, Kit Hard explains how to use text-to-speech to access digital text across the curriculum.

View transcript

Source: Kit Hard (US)

Utilising text-to-speech tools
Vary approaches (image)
A list of ways to show what you know
Be creative in presenting information to students

Model and practise creative ways to present information that support engagement and understanding.

Source: For the teachers blog

Vary approaches
Finding videos with closed captions

How to find YouTube videos with closed captions using a laptop or desktop computer

  1. Search for YouTube and open the home page.

  2. Type search subject (for example “frogs”) into YouTube search bar and press return key.

  3. On left of screen, click the tab called “Filters” and a menu box will open.

  4. Select “subtitles/CC” under the Features list.

  5. Select a video from the selection of filtered videos presented by YouTube.

  6. Watch the selected video with the closed captions turned on to check for accuracy before sharing with students.

  7. Share closed captioned video with students.

Finding videos with closed captions

Resources and downloads

Popular movies help children improve literacy

A study by the University of Canterbury (NZ) showed that using captions not only significantly improved literacy levels, particularly among Māori and Pasifika students, but also reduced students’ truancy through engagement.

The MindShift guide to digital games and learning

A guide to support educators using digital games for learning. From the page access the guide a downloadable PDF or the blog posts by Jordan Shapiro that it is based on.

Succeeding at school: Accommodations for students with coordination difficulties

Possible accommodations that can be made in the classroom to support students with developmental coordination disorder.

Everyone's In: An inclusive planning tool

This planning tool has been developed for teachers by the Ministry of Education. It is designed to assist with developing a classroom curriculum that works for all students, from the outset.

Ideas for supporting concentration

Provide options to support concentration and short-term memory

  1. Monitor and moderate the classroom for visual and auditory distractions.

  2. Present information in a range of ways over an extended period of time (for example, a week) to help students to retain information, build their understanding and stay stimulated and focused.

  3. Discuss with students the effectiveness of the classroom and make modifications and remove barriers where needed.

  4. Make effective use of visual prompts and cues to support understanding and navigation in online environments.

  5. Make hyperlinks to background knowledge or previous learning to increase connections.

  6. Encourage students to adapt the environment to meet their needs by, for example, wearing headphones, moving to a quiet working environment or taking a walk to support their thinking.

Ideas for supporting concentration
Supporting organisation with visuals

Suggestions for supporting students’ planning and organising

  1. Use charts, visual calendars, colour-coded schedules, visible timers and cues to increase the predictability of regular activities and transitions.

  2. Encourage students to use their mobile devices to schedule alerts and reminders for regular and novel events and task deadlines.

  3. Highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas and relationships using visuals, mind maps, 3-D manipulatives, outlines, flow charts and real objects.

  4. Offer students a variety of graphic organisers and flow charts to support planning in all curriculum areas.

  5. Break tasks and lengthy assignments into small manageable parts. Schedule workflow using Trello to organise what needs to be done and when.

  6. Provide options so that students can submit work online.

Supporting organisation with visuals
Using visual timers (video)
Managing time

Encourage students to use visual timers apps such as Time Timer to focus attention or to pre-empt a transition.

A visual timer on an tablet also makes a useful classroom clock.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Time Timer (US)

Using visual timers
Supporting processing
  1. Highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas and relationships using visuals, mind maps, 3-D manipulatives, outlines, flow charts and real objects.

  2. Give students multiple opportunities to engage with new ideas and concepts.

  3. Provide extra time for students to think and process before needing to respond in a discussion.

  4. Use mind maps to brainstorm ideas and make connections.

  5. Support group and class discussions with visual annotations to prompt later recall of key ideas.

  6. Offer students a variety of graphic organisers and flow charts to support thinking in all curriculum areas.

Supporting processing
Supporting thinking
  1. Highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas and relationships using visuals, mind maps, 3-D manipulatives, outlines, flow charts and real objects.

  2. Give students multiple opportunities to engage with new ideas and concepts.

  3. Provide extra time for students to think and process before needing to respond in a discussion.

  4. Use mind maps to brainstorm ideas and make connections.

  5. Support group and class discussions with visual annotations to prompt later recall of key ideas.

  6. Offer students a variety of graphic organisers and flow charts to support thinking in all curriculum areas.

Supporting thinking

Resources and downloads

Free technology toolkit for UDL in all classrooms

A collection of free tools and resources, aligned to Universal Design for Learning approach, that support students in their learning.

SET Connections – Executive function resources (Apps/Tools)

Apps to support executive function.

Everyone's In: An inclusive planning tool

This planning tool has been developed for teachers by the Ministry of Education. It is designed to assist with developing a classroom curriculum that works for all students, from the outset.

Benefits of text-to-speech (video)
Text-to-speech – an on-ramp to literacy across the curriculum

Students describe how having access to text-to-speech has improved their achievement.

No captions or transcript available

Source: National Center on AIM (US)

Benefits of text-to-speech
Personalising learning checklist

Optimise the environment for personalised learning. Identify and minimise potential barriers to students successfully demonstrating their understanding.

  1. Create opportunities where students can personalise learning tasks and build on their knowledge, experience, and strengths.

  2. Develop success criteria with the students and present it supported by visuals.

  3. Encourage and value independent and collaborative work in different formats, such as mind maps, videos, photos, podcasts, and diagrams.

  4. Provide opportunities for students to gain confidence using a range of media so they can select the most appropriate to express their learning.

  5. Structure collaborative activities so that each student knows what they are expected to do.

  6. Make learning support tools available to all students (text-to-speech, graphic organisers, planning tools, storyboards and so on).

  7. Use collaborative, peer mentoring and cooperative, learning models.

  8. Assess understanding and presentation separately.

  9. Discuss the best environment for students to work in during exams and assessments.

  10. Provide support in assessments, for example a reader-writer or assistive technologies.

Personalising learning checklist
Ways to show what you know (image)
A list of ways to show what you know
Encourage and value creativity

Provide students with a range of options and supports to enable them to confidently and creatively express their thinking.

Source: For the teachers blog

Ways to show what you know
Supporting success in assessments

Discuss with students what support they need to demonstrate their understanding in assessments.

Consider:

  1. possible barriers hidden in the physical environment, for example: unfamiliar layout of room, lighting, temperature

  2. possible barriers hidden in the resources and materials, for example: cluttered presentation, hard-to-read diagrams, unclear layout, hard-copies only

  3. approaches to managing time allocations such as calendar tools and visual timers

  4. approaches to managing anxiety

  5. approaches to maintaining concentration

  6. negotiating breaks

  7. use of digital technologies such as text-to-speech and predictive text

  8. pre-teaching specific assessment/exam skills, such as how to approach multiple choice questions

  9. identify whether SAC application needs to be made for NCEA.

Supporting success in assessments
Read & Write for Google (video)
Read & Write for Google - Everything You Need to Know

This video shows all the features of Read & Write for Google, specifically using it for Google Docs.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Educator Dave

Read & Write for Google

Resources and downloads

Universal Design for Learning iPad strategies: Text-to-speech

A video introducing text-to-speech to access digital text. Developed by US educator Kit Hard.

MyStudyBar

This is a free floating toolbar for Windows desktops and netbooks that provides a suite of portable open-source applications to support learning.

Free technology toolkit for UDL in all classrooms

A collection of free tools and resources, aligned to Universal Design for Learning approach, that support students in their learning.

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Building a world-leading education system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century.