Positive Responses to
Specifi c Learning
De Montfort University Leicester, UK
A John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Publication
Positive Responses to
Specifi c Learning
De Montfort University Leicester, UK
A John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Publication
This edition fi rst published 2009
© 2009 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Neurodiversity in higher education : positive responses to specifi c learning differences /
edited by David Pollak.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-470-74159-7 (cloth) – ISBN 978-0-470-99753-6 (pbk.) 1. Learning
disabled--Education (Higher) 2. College students with disabilities. 3. Learning--Physiological
aspects. I. Pollak, David.
371.9’0474 – dc22
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Set in 10/13 pt Futura by SNP Best-set Typesetter Ltd., Hong Kong
Printed in Singapore by Utopia Press Pte Ltd
Notes on Contributors ix
2. Neurodiversity, Disability, Legislation and
Policy Development in the United Kingdom
3. The Psychological Assessment of Neurodiversity
7. Asperger Syndrome: Empathy Is a
8. Attention Defi cit (Hyperactivity)
Disorder – AD(H)D
9. Mental Well-Being
10. Assistive Technology
11. Teaching, Learning and Assessment: ‘It’s Not
Like You Think’
12. Conclusion: Constructing the Whole Picture and
Notes on Contributors
Mary Colley has a degree in Mediaeval History and a Postgraduate
Diploma in Librarianship. She found out that she had developmental
dyspraxia as well as AD(H)D and dyslexia in her mid - forties. She helped
set up the UK Dyspraxia Foundation Adult Support Group and also
achieved a Diploma in Specifi c Learning Diffi culties in 1997. Mary
coordinated the support group for about six years, running a helpline and
organizing workshops and conferences on adult dyspraxia. In 2000, her
book, Living with Dyspraxia – a Guide for Adults with Dyspraxia , was
published with much help from the rest of the group. She works to raise
awareness of dyspraxia by addressing a wide range of audiences, both in
person and in print. Lately, she has also spoken on neurodiversity and sits
on the steering or advisory groups of several national projects. Mary and
others became aware of how frequently specifi c learning differences
overlap, and in 2003 set up the charity DANDA – Developmental Adult
Neuro - Diversity Association. In 2006, Jessica Kingsley published the 4th
edition of her book on dyspraxia in adults, of which a total of 5,000
copies have been sold at the time of writing.
Ross Cooper is a principal lecturer at London South Bank University,
course director of the MA in adult dyslexia diagnosis and support, and
assistant director of LLU+, a national consultancy and professional
development centre for staff working in the areas of literacy, numeracy,
dyslexia, family learning and English for Speakers of Other Languages.
He has worked in special schools, as well as further and higher education,
and has a PhD in the sociology of education. Ross was an inclusive
learning quality facilitator for the Inclusive Learning Quality Initiative and
the learning and teaching coordinator for the widening participation
project at Southampton University. He continues to promote the benefi ts of
inclusive learning through consultancy, research, projects and workshops.
Ross is a member of PATOSS (the Professional Association of Teachers of
Students with Specifi c Learning Diffi culties) and SASC (the national
committee for standards in SpLD assessment, training and practice).
He, along with most of his family, is dyslexic.
E.A. Draffan trained as a speech and language therapist, before
specializing in the fi eld of assistive technologies. She has since worked
with disabled students in further and higher education, set up an Assistive
Technology Centre and developed a database of assistive technologies.
E.A. has contributed to the work of TechDis (an educational advisory
service working across the United Kingdom in the fi elds of accessibility
and inclusion) and many other institutions and groups. She is now a
Research Fellow at the University of Southampton.
Sharon Drew currently works as an independent consultant and trainer
within the educational sector. She is an occupational therapist and teacher
by background, with many years of experience working with adults and
young people with neuro - developmental disorders. She lectures widely to
professional and nonprofessional audiences across the United Kingdom
and has written a number of textbooks and articles.
David Grant is a chartered psychologist and writer who, since 1999, has
specialized in diagnosing students with specifi c learning differences. His
research record includes publications in Child Development and
Neuropsychologia . His recent publications include That ’ s the Way I Think:
Dyslexia and Dyspraxia Explained , and a commissioned handbook on
neurodiversity for members of the National Association of Disability
Practitioners. Before becoming a diagnostician, David spent over 30 years
working in higher education. His experiences range from being a laboratory
technician in a chemistry research laboratory to a lecturer in Psychology to
Associate Dean of Students (Special Needs). David was the fi rst non -
American to serve on the board of the College Consortium of International
Students. He has always enjoyed lecturing and new ways of working with
students. This is refl ected in his leading a Design and Media Management
course team to a National Partnership Prize for Innovations in Teaching.
Alan Hurst , formerly Professor in the Department of Education, University
of Central Lancashire, is a trustee of Skill: National Bureau for Students
with Disabilities and chairs its Higher Education Working Party. He has
published books and articles, and has been invited to lecture and lead
workshops on disability in higher education in many countries. He was
awarded an honorary doctorate by the Open University in June 2005 for
his contribution to developing policy and provision for disabled students.
His most recent publication is a handbook for mainstream staff developers
x Notes on Contributors
Notes on Contributors xi
on supporting disabled students. Having retired from the University, he is
currently working with many organizations and institutions in both the
United Kingdom and abroad on developing high - quality inclusive policies
and provision. He is a member of the group established by the Higher
Education Funding Council for England to review its policies on disabled
students since 1997, and of the group set up by the UK Quality Assurance
Agency to devise an updated version of its Code of Practice.
Kitty McCrea held the post of Head of Counselling and Personal Support
at De Montfort University, Leicester from 2001 to 2007 where she was
responsible for student counselling, mental health and learning diversity
support. She is a Senior Accredited Member of the British Association for
Counselling and Psychotherapy and a UKCP Registered Psychotherapist.
Kitty previously had a 17 - year career in teaching and management
spanning the secondary, further, adult and higher education sectors. She
is now practising as a cognitive - behavioural therapist and supervisor in
private practice in Devon and continues to have a particular interest in
the use of CORE Outcome Measures to evaluate the effectiveness of
counselling. She is Chair of the CORE User Network Steering Group and is
CORE User Network Development Consultant for CORE IMS, a company
that supplies training, software support, and data analysis and
benchmarking services to users of the CORE system.
Nicola Martin is Principal Lecturer in Inclusive Practice at Sheffi eld
Hallam University and takes a lead role in the Autism Centre. She is the
author of ‘ REAL services to assist university students who have Asperger
syndrome’, which was published by the National Association of Disability
Practitioners (NADP) in May 2008. The work is based on a research
project which looked into ways of making university a better place for
students who have AS and is also informed by Nicola ’ s doctoral research.
Nicola is very committed to ensuring that neurodiversity is embraced as a
positive aspect of society. She has personal experience of the highs and
lows of dyspraxia, and over 25 years ’ professional experience of working
with disabled students in a range of settings. As Chair of NADP and editor
of the Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education , Nicola
is also committed to ensuring that practitioners are informed by the student
voice, and that practice is infl uenced by emancipatory research. She has
recently compiled a toolkit to assist colleges and universities to self - assess
and action plan for improving provision for students who have AS.
David Pollak is Principal Lecturer in Learning Support at De Montfort
University and a National Teaching Fellow (learning support). He was
xii Notes on Contributors
professionally focused on dyslexia for 30 years, in all sectors of education.
Working in higher education since 1995, he has recently been acting to
raise awareness of neurodiversity. At De Montfort University, he has
organized a series of conferences and public lectures on dyslexia and
neurodiversity, and frequently speaks at such events in the United Kingdom
and on mainland Europe. David ’ s book based on his doctoral thesis,
Dyslexia, the Self and Higher Education: Learning Life Histories of Students
Identifi ed as Dyslexic , is published by Trentham Books. He set up the
BRAIN.HE project: ‘ Best Resources for Achievement and Intervention re
Neurodiversity in Higher Education ’ . He is a member of the Disability
Equality Partnership ‘ think tank ’ for national disability organizations and the
editorial board of the NADP Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and
Higher Education .
Heather Symonds is Senior Lecturer (Dyslexia Co - ordinator/Adviser) at
London College of Communication, University of the Arts and has been
teaching for 26 years. Her diverse audiences have included vocational
students, undergraduates from social sciences, humanities and creative arts,
which informs her delivery on full - time postgraduate teacher - training
programmes. Her curriculum experience includes History, Sociology,
Cultural Studies and Communication Skills. Grounded in practice and
supported by her work as a Development Offi cer and as a team member
of many higher education validation teams, Heather has a professional and
pragmatic approach to teaching, learning and assessment. She has
developed resources for accommodated assessment for students with
dyslexia, supporting and enabling students to undertake oral assessments in
lieu of a written dissertation. Heather held a Teaching and Learning
Fellowship and has presented her viva voce research in the United
Kingdom, Europe, the United States and Australia. She is a PATOSS
registered assessor and is currently undertaking doctoral research.
Clare Trott is a Mathematics Support Tutor within the Mathematics
Education Centre at Loughborough University. The Mathematics Education
Centre is a designated Centre for Excellence for Teaching and Learning.
She specializes in the provision of one - to - one mathematics support for
students with dyscalculia and dyslexia. Students are from a range of the
University ’ s departments, but all experience diffi culties in the mathematical
or statistical aspects of their course as a result of their neurodiversity. The
teaching involves developing specifi c techniques and materials for
mathematics. Clare ’ s current research interests focus on mathematics and
neurodiversity in higher education, particularly dyscalculia and the