Dyslexia Awareness Week

Activities around the School.

Celebrating #GoRedForDyslexia today, 9th October, by wearing red accessories was a great way to help raise awareness of neurodiversity.  But there were many more activities going on around the school this week which all helped us to understand neurodiversity!

Mrs Thackray, our Literacy Support Teacher, reports that St Augustine’s Priory marked Dyslexia Awareness Week with classes participating in activities related to inclusion and diversity. 

As she says, ‘These activities were effective tools to help remind girls that with our different brains (neurodiversity), we may need different kinds of help to achieve the same ends.’

There were three activities which were given to Form Teachers to share with their classes.   The first activity was an inclusion and empathy activity designed to point out that we should not judge someone by their performance on a test, because this does not tell us the whole story.

To complete this task each pupil had their own scissors, glue stick, pen or pencil, one small piece of red paper, one small piece of yellow paper and their homework planner.

The classes were split into groups and girls were told that they had a short cutting and sticking activity to do and the aim was to finish first! The group that finished first would win. Girls were asked whether they believed this to be fair. 

Then each group, except one, was given a ‘limitation’, for example they could only use one hand or they had to work with one eye closed or they had to use the hand they don’t normally write with.

Then the girls were given the following instructions:

​1)     Take the yellow paper and cut a circle out of it.

2)     Use the glue stick to glue the yellow circle onto the red paper.

3)     Use the pen/ pencil to write “I believe in inclusion” on the yellow circle.

​4)     Put the ‘badge’ they have created into the plastic wallet towards the back of their planner.

​The group with no limitations usually finishes first. Some girls complained that the activity was not fair because some groups had limitations which made the activity harder to complete. This experience then become an opportunity to open up a class discussion to explore and ask questions, such as:

​-     Can we confirm that the winning group is actually the best?

​-     How did they feel during the activity?

​-     Was it a fair playing field?

​-     Would giving the groups with limitations extra time have helped to level the playing field?

​-     How might someone feel who has these limitations?

​-     What can we learn from this activity?

​We all have limitations that make some things harder for us, we do not know what those who do are experiencing or how hard they are working to overcome their challenges. This was a wonderful opportunity to allow students to share some of the things they are good at and some of the things they struggle with.

In the second activity, Form Teachers from Lower I to Upper VI showed videos to their classes and discussed dyslexia and neurodiversity and concluded with some ’empathy’ activities about how they could support a friend with and neurodiversity who is struggling with a particular task.  In the third activity girls explored how to support neurodiversity in the classroom. 

These activities provoked discussion and an understanding of neurodiversity.  And the message?  We are all different and that is a gift!’