(About 40 SLANZA members met on a sunny winter morning to hear about the work of SPELD and how Librarians can help aid the experience of our students. Jeremy Drummond from SPELD spoke to us about the work they are doing with specific learning difficulty.
SPELD NZ is a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in assisting people with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities. It is hard to believe that this is yet another important organisation that receives no New Zealand Government funding, despite the tremendous work it does in providing support and advice. It has a library (for members) as well as a website, Facebook and YouTube presence.
Dyslexia was only recognised in New Zealand in 2007 and maybe this was partly to do with fighting the impression that this condition was merely “over-compensating Mums making up for under-achieving children.” Specific learning difficulty is a term preferred to Dyslexia because this includes a multitude of problems and everyone is different. Unless there is a family history of SLD in the family a firm diagnosis cannot be made until the ages of 7-8. This is because it is only at this age that all physical problems can be ironed out. Brain plasticity studies show that parts of the brain can be taught new roles or activities.
What can we do in the library to help those that suffer from some form of SLD?
Our final speaker was Jo Buchan from National Library who presented inspirational cases of finding the right book at the right time for individual students. It's all about connecting with students and developing a relationship so you can then help them.