Advocacy to support students with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia

Response to petition requesting the recognition of dyslexia as a disability and for the provision of teaching aids and support

The petition was presented in the House of Representatives in Canberra on 5 June 2013 and a response was presented in the House on 26 May 2014.

SPELD SA would also like to acknowledge the petition organised by Dyslexia Support Groups affiliated with the Australian Dyslexia Association, that was presented to parliament on 12th December 2013 that was also considered in the response.

Christopher Pyne, MP, Minister for Education, wrote a response to Dr Dennis Jensen, MP, Chair Standing Committee on Petitions letter regarding both petitions mentioned above;

Christopher Pyne, MP states that The Australian Government is committed to improving school and education outcomes under the Students First approach, which will include those with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia.

One of the Australian Government initiatives driven by Christopher Pyne, to insure the inclusion of students with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, will be a round table on students with dyslexia in 2014.

A policy roundtable on students with dyslexia will be held on 13 June 2014, in which SPELD SA will be represented by Sandy Russo.

The 6 responses to dyslexia support group suggestions:

1. Greater recognition and awareness of dyslexia in the education system.
The Australian Government recognises dyslexia in the education system. The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability uses a broader definition of disability which includes 'learning differently', which includes students with dyslexia. The focus of the data collection is on the level of educational adjustment provided regardless of a student's disability type or diagnosis.

2. Appropriate pre-service training and professional development for teachers in evidence based teaching, teaching for differentiation and multisensory instruction.

The Government has established a Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group to advise on how teacher education programmes could be improved to better prepare new school teachers with the right mix of academic and practical classroom skills. The More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative is also providing professional development opportunities for both preservice and practicing school teachers in evidenced-based teaching and differentiation.

3. Early identification and effective early literacy intervention for children identified 'at risk' of reading difficulties.
To assist with the early identification of 'at risk' students, the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) is a population based measure of how children have developed by the time they start school. Teachers complete a checklist for children in their first year of full-time school, including school based language and communication skills. Further information is at
Additionally, a range of measures of student performance are used across Australia. These measures allow teachers to report progress and identify areas of need.

4. Ensure that students with dyslexia receive sufficient disability loading to provide appropriate learning support and reasonable adjustments.

The Government is working with states and territories to identify the level of adjustment for students with disability, including students with dyslexia.

5. The provision of specialist dyslexia teachers at the third level of intervention.

State and territory governments have responsibility for the day to day delivery of school education in Australia. Education authorities are best placed to determine the provision of specialist dyslexia teachers for students who require more intense, explicit and inpidualised instruction (which is sometimes known as the third level of intervention).

6. Implementation of the National Dyslexia Working Party recommendations.

The report of the National Dyslexia Working Party was presented to the previous Government. The report and the Australian Government response are listed below:

The Petition

The response

SPELD SA Dyslexia Petition

Christopher Pyne, Shadow Minister for Education, tabled the Dyslexia Petition in a speech to Federal Parliament on June 5th, 2013. Click here for a copy of the speech

Dyslexia Advocacy

1. SA Ombudsman

Street Address: Level 5 East Wing 50 Grenfell Street Adelaide SA 5000
Postal Address: PO Box 3651 Rundle Mall SA 5000
Telephone: 08 8226 8699
Toll free: 1800 182 150 (outside metro SA only)
Facsimile: 08 8226 8602
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2. Fair Work Ombudsman (discrimination in the workplace)

Phone: 13 13 94

3. Dignity for Disability Party: Kelly Vincent

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mobile: 0431 704 074 Rick Neagle (President)
Facebook: (Our Facebook community has nearly 6000 members and is an easy way to stay in touch with what we're up to, and our latest news. It is updated regularly, sometimes several times each day)
Media: 0419 252 254 Anna Tree (Media and Research Advisor)
Parliament: to contact our representative in the South Australian parliament, the Hon Kelly Vincent MLC, please call her office on 8237 9543 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

4. AUSPELD (The Australian Federation of SPELD Asociations)



Address: 298 Portrush Road Kensington SA 5068
Phone: 08 8431 1655

6. Dyslexia SA

Dyslexia Action Group - Barossa, Gawler and Surrounds

Tony Piccolo recently gave an address in parliament in which he outlined the proceedings of the public forum organised by Dyslexia Action Group - Barossa, Gawler and Surrounds. Follow the link below to read his speech and accompanying letter.

Letter from Tony Piccolo MP Member for Light

A ‘Not To Be Missed’ Opportunity for Change

During 2008 the Hon Bill Shorten, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, met with representatives from dyslexia interest groups who expressed concern that dyslexia is not recognized as a specific disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and that the education and employment systems do not recognize or support people with dyslexia.

Following these meetings the Parliamentary Secretary requested the FaHCSIA convene a roundtable Forum to discuss these issues.

This Dyslexia Stakeholder Forum was held at Parliament House, Canberra on 16 June 2009. The Forum consisted of 24 people, who are scientists in the areas of reading or learning disabilities, technologists, people with dyslexia, clinicians and practitioners, or representatives from DEEWR and FaHCSIA. It was decided that a representative Working Party of 8 Forum members should be formed, charged with the task of writing a report proposing a national agenda for action to assist people with dyslexia. AUSPELD was represented on the Working Party by two members of the executive, Angela Weeks, President and Mandy Nayton, Treasurer.

The Working Party consulted widely and in particular benefited from comments on a draft report that were received from the following authorities (all of whom have expressed very strong support for the recommendations we have made):

  • AUSPELD (The Australian Federation of Specific Learning Difficulty Associations)
  • LDA (Learning Difficulties Australia)
  • ALDA (The Australian Learning Disability Association)
  • Speech Pathology Australia
  • The DDOLL (Developmental Disorders of Language and Literacy) network, which was established with funding from the Australian Research Council.
  • Sir James Rose, author of the Rose Report on Dyslexia commissioned by the UK Government.

I am delighted to share this report with you and invite you to contact the Hon Bill Shorten directly with your comments. I think this is a ‘not to be missed’ opportunity for the Dyslexia Community to petition for change and have their voices heard. I shall keep you posted through the website of our progress.

Angela Weeks

Click here to read the report: Helping people with dyslexia: a national action agenda

SPELD SA is generously supported by

thyne reid foundation Education Logo CMYK H Large australian executor trustees

SPELD SA would like to acknowledge the support of the Douglas Whiting Trust in the development of this website.

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