Bridging The Achievement Gap: ASC Dyslexia Cohorts

Students with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) or dyslexia often have a good platform for learning, but they often struggle in traditional educational settings and fail to meet their expected targets.

This one-day workshop focuses on the practical strategies learning providers can adopt to help maximise achievement and progress for students with ASC and dyslexia.

Increased awareness and diagnosis means that most staff will have young people on the “autism spectrum” within their student groups. Similarly, a significant number of their students will have some degree of dyslexia.

Whilst the key to improving outcomes for these groups of learners lies in the combined expertise of tutors, learning support practitioners, job coaches, college managers and principals, ultimately it is the learners’ readiness to learn and their early experiences in the college classroom that will lay the foundation for them to achieve at the same rate as their peers.

Using the learners’ experience as a base participants consider the challenges autistic and dyslexic students face, the environments and experiences that encourage them to engage and the strategies, techniques and approaches to help them progress and achieve better.

For Whom
The workshop will be of benefit to teachers, trainers, tutors and learning support assistants who looking for new thoughts and ideas on ways to support autistic and dyslexic students improve their learning and progress to a level that is similar to that of their peers.

It is suitable teachers, trainers, tutors and learning support assistants who already have an understanding of and experience in, teaching autistic and dyslexic students but are looking to expand want to expand their knowledge further.

Delegate Feedback

Elements of this workshop involve delegates accessing internet-based materials. Delegates will need to bring with them, or have provided for them, an internet-connected laptop, “ipad” or tablet.
1 device per 2-3 delegates usually works well.

Aims and Objectives
The aim of this workshop is to understand the difficulties from a learner’s perspective and explore practical strategies, advice and guidance for teachers to maximise participation and achievement.

By the end of the workshop participants will:

  • Understand that learners with ASC and dyslexia often need to learn how to learn and have a toolkit of strategies to facilitate this.
  • Know how to make the learning environment work for autistic learners and how to create dyslexia-friendly learning zones.
  • Try out and know how to select the best elements of a range of practical teaching and learning approaches for ASC and dyslexic learners.
  • Understand how to make technology work for ASC and dyslexic learners.
  • Have a toolkit of strategies to improve participation and progress.


1.0 Introduction

  • Issues and challenges
  • A holistic approach to learning: Being, Having, Doing


2.1 Learning to learn

  • The uneven profile of learners with autism
  • Untangling the ‘why’ – listening to learners with autism
  • Breaking down the barriers to learning
  • Motivation and confidence-building
  • Processing and organisational skills
  • Promoting decision-making and independent learning

2.2 The Learning Environment

  • A sensory audit of your learning spaces
  • Sensory management devices
  • Coping with lighting and background noise
  • Don’t try and fit a square peg in a round hold – practical ways to make the environment fit the learner
  • Making technology work for learners with autism

2.3 Practical approaches

  • Explore and try out a range of approaches and how to take the best elements and make them work for different groups of learners, including:
    • SCERTS
    • TEACHH
    • SPELL
    • Social Stories/Role play
    • Visual Walk-throughs
    • Visual Jigs
    • Systematic Instruction
    • Intensive Interaction

2.4 Improving Participation and progress

  • It’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it.
  • Instructional strategies that support successful outcomes.
  • Routine vs Flexibility
  • Effective support: Stepping in vs standing back
  • Managing Crises


3.1 Readiness to learn

  • The positive talents of people with dyslexia
  • Enabling dyslexic learners to learn well
  • Person-centred approaches – listening to learners with dyslexia
  • Hidden dyslexia – less common characteristics of dyslexia and their effect on learning
  • Breaking down the barriers – building self-esteem
  • Creating dyslexia-friendly learning zones

3.2 Practical approaches

  • Attention and concentration
  • Promoting active listening
  • Active teaching approaches
  • Practical exploration of a range of teaching and learning approaches and resources, including:
    • Visual and auditory approaches
    • Technology-based solutions, including the use of mobile technology
    • Assistive technology (text-speech-text software; voice recognition programs)
    • Memory improvement techniques
    • Note-taking strategies
    • Self-help strategies

3.3 Improving Participation and outcomes

  • Dyslexia and assessment
  • Exams and revision
  • Dyslexia and maths and English in study programmes
  • Study guides for dyslexic students BY dyslexic students