School in Hampshire to inspire dyslexic students worldwide to learn more independently with ICT

Top Quote Dyslexia Awareness Week (1st - 7th November): Hidden Dyslexia. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) October 30, 2010 - Stanbridge Earls School in Romsey, Hampshire, is pioneering a world-class project to test the effectiveness of assistive technology in helping students with specific learning difficulties (SpLD), such as dyslexia, to learn more independently. The research project, entitled: 'Assistive Technology for Independent Learning', is partnered by Kellogg College, Oxford University, and is expected to result in a model that can be used to set standards and share best practice in schools worldwide.

    This year's Dyslexia Awareness Week centres on the theme of 'hidden dyslexia.' Known as the hidden disability, dyslexia is a very serious learning neurological disorder which affects a person's reading, writing and spelling skills. Assistive technology can help those with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia to learn more independently by increasing the ease with which a task can be performed.

    Requests from parents to help students learn more independently led Stanbridge Earls School to open a state-of-the-art sixth form boarding house, equipped with the latest specialist facilities and a dedicated assistive technology study room, which will be the hub of the research. Stanbridge Earls is an independent co-educational boarding school with an international reputation for helping students with SpLDs including dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and mild Aspergers syndrome.

    Text-to-speech software, such as Read&Write GOLD from Texthelp Systems (, has been introduced to sixth form students at the school to help improve their independent reading and writing skills. The software includes talking spell-checkers, word predictors and screen readers, enabling students to hear their own work being read back. Rather than simply reading over their own work, students actually hear the words as they are highlighted. This can often assist with identifying errors more efficiently, for example, inappropriate words, words missed out or incorrect spelling. A superior spell checker, devised to help identify dyslexic spellings, also picks up more errors and provides more options than the well known Word spell checker.

    The school hopes to roll out the technology to the rest of the school within the next five years and chart a roadmap for other schools to follow.

    Peter Trythall, Headmaster at Stanbridge Earls School in Romsey, commented: "As the forerunners of this exciting project, we hope to inspire other schools to revolutionise the way students with learning difficulties are taught. Assistive technology such as Read&Write GOLD is transforming our students' ability to consistently produce high quality written work, whereas they may have previously struggled to construct a single paragraph. During Dyslexia Awareness Week we want to emphasise the importance of regular testing and reviewing students' progress to identify hidden learning disabilities, whilst recognising the vital role that assistive technology can have in supporting them."

    Margaret Malpas, British Dyslexia Assocation (BDA) Chair, said: "Assistive technology has transformed the lives of many dyslexic people over the last ten years. One of its hidden advantages and principle success factors is that it can increase the individual's self-esteem. We wish all the pupils of Stanbridge Earls success in coping with their hidden challenges and making best use of their more visible strengths."

    Mark McCusker, CEO, Texthelp Systems, concluded: "Stanbridge Earls is setting an excellent example to other schools by extending opportunities for learning through technology. All students must be equipped with the literacy skills they need to continue their education, succeed in the workplace and everyday life. We are dedicated to supporting teaching and learning with cost-effective enhanced solutions that are continually developed according to valuable feedback from schools. We also believe it is imperative to provide pupils with access to assistive technology both in school and at home to encourage independent learning."

    For further information about Texthelp, please contact Elaine Emerson, Texthelp Systems, on Tel: 028 9442 8105, Email: e.emerson ( @ ) texthelp dot com or visit:

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