Dr. Geraldine A. Price. Educational Consultant
My working life has been devoted to the cause of dyslexia, its impact upon the individual and how society can ensure equality for dyslexic people of all ages. After teaching for over 20 years as a Special Needs Co-ordinator in a large comprehensive school, I was appointed as the Headteacher of one of the first specialist dyslexia units attached to a mainstream school in Hampshire. I designed a new curriculum and policy for Hampshire Local Education Authority for dyslexic pupils. It is important to get it right for dyslexic learners and for teachers to adopt appropriate teaching methods to ensure success.
I joined the University of Southampton’s Education School and developed the first MSc. In Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) in the country. The courses were unique in that they involved research and practical skill development for practising teachers to obtain a dual accreditation to become specialist teachers and assessors. The course soon attracted many international students. I continue to act as a mentor to specialist teacher assessors to make sure that professional standards are maintained and to develop their skills.
Alongside this work, I was also the university’s Disability Officer and developed ground-breaking policy for the support of dyslexic and SpLD students in Higher Education. I set up an innovatory Dyslexia Support Service – the Learning Differences Centre. I worked closely with Faculties and Departments, providing training to help them to make their working and teaching environments dyslexia-friendly and to ensure that there was a named person for dyslexic students to approach. As an assessor and dyslexia tutor, I often had to act as an advocate for dyslexic students. I have been called upon to be an Expert Witness in the fields of Nursing and Law.
My own field of research is how to help the dyslexic writer. Writing is often the poor relation in the dyslexia world, and many focus upon weak reading skills with dyslexic people. To this end, I have developed many tried and tested techniques and practical strategies for helping dyslexics to express themselves and communicate effectively and efficiently on paper. My PhD. research explored how difficulties with short-term working memory have an impact on the writing process and how educationalists can teach techniques to by-pass these cognitive difficulties.
I have been a member of many government strategy committees: most notably an original
member of the DfES Working Party on SpLD assessment and identification in Higher Education; and a member of Sir Jim Rose’s committee which produced The Rose Report, examining teaching and support for dyslexic pupils in Primary Schools. It was with great satisfaction that the government adopted all the recommendations for teacher training contained in the Report. I have been a member of SASC – SpLD Assessment Standing committee. This provides regular guidance for professional standards for assessment; STEC – SpLD Tests Evaluation Committee. This gives recommendations for assessors about new assessment tests; a director of PATOSS (Professional Association of Teachers of Students with SpLD); and a member of the British Dyslexia Association’s (BDA) course accreditation committee.
I have given papers at many BDA and international dyslexia conferences. I enjoy speaking at local teachers’ meetings to share information and advice to make the life of the dyslexic learner better. My ‘effective study skills’ book has been translated into six languages and has been adapted to target teaching and support for nursing and health-care students, business and management students and science, engineering and technology students. All my publications are aimed at ensuring a better quality of life for the dyslexic individual.