Dyslexia Awareness Week is an annual event aiming to not only raise awareness of the condition but also to showcase the amazing achievements of people with dyslexia. Did you know, for instance, that Richard Branson, Winston Churchill and Agatha Chrisitie are, or were, dyslexic? Did you also know that this hidden disability is believed to affect around 10% of the population, making it highly likely that at least three of the children, in every classroom, is experiencing one or more of the common characteristics of dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a neurological condition that occurs independently of intelligence. It is not a psychological disorder or a behavioural issue, although the frustration and stress of those affected can often manifest itself in ways that would suggest otherwise. Weakness in literacy is often the most visible symptom of dyslexia, but the condition has a much wider ranging impact on a person’s ability to learn. It affects the way information is processed, stored and retrieved due to its impact on memory, organisational skills and time sequencing.
Difficulty with reading, writing and organisation, together with problems processing visual and auditory stimuli, are not the only challenges a dyslexic student faces. Most will also suffer from some degree of sensory distraction, rendering them unable to screen out extraneous visual or auditory stimuli, and sensory overload, resulting in an inability to function in a busy environment.
A Learning Escape SEN classroom is specifically and sensitively designed to empower children with a wide range of SEN and disabilities. Via a controlled use of light, colour, sound and texture we are able to create a learning environment with optimal acoustics, visual contrast and levels of stimuli. The flexible, open-plan layout can be adapted to suit each school’s individual requirements and can cater for a variety of high or extra needs education.
As a stand-alone building, within the school grounds it retains strong links with the rest of the school, keeping the pupils taught in it integrated in wider social activity. It provides students with a high degree of personal comfort, security and belonging and significantly reduces stress. Stress is potentially extremely neurologically damaging as elevated levels of cortisol and adrenalin reduce higher and peripheral brain activity, essential for knowledge acquisition. Furthermore, freed from stress, a relaxed, calm and happy child can be at liberty to experience positive emotions. In turn, emotions play a vital role in memory creation and retention, a crucial element of the learning process. And once released from the constraints of frustration, the struggling dyslexic can be set on course to maximise their potential and maybe, one day, join the ranks of Churchill, Branson and Christie.