Making Sense Programme: final report

Report detailing the work undertaken by the Making Sense Working Group to support the implementation of these recommendations through the Making Sense: Dyslexia and Inclusive Practice Programme 2014 to 2019.

Dyslexia and Scottish Education

Scotland’s education system is designed to be an inclusive one for all children and young people in Scottish schools, with or without additional support needs.

Scotland’s ‘needs led’ and rights based educational system places the learner at the centre and the provision of support is not dependent upon a formal label such as dyslexia, autism, physical disability or mental health. However, this does not mean that there is no requirement to appropriately identify dyslexia. Identifying dyslexia as early as possible will support future learning, teaching and wellbeing. It can be extremely important to individuals and their families that the term ‘dyslexia’ is used appropriately as it can support their understanding of what dyslexia means for them.

A Scottish working definition of dyslexia was developed in 2009 by the Scottish Government, Dyslexia Scotland, the Cross-Party Group on Dyslexia in the Scottish Parliament and a wide range of stakeholders. It is one of many definitions available and is recommended as helpful guidance by Education Scotland for local authorities, educational practitioners, children, parents/carers and others to provide a description of the range of indicators and characteristics of dyslexia.

Dyslexia exists in all cultures and across the range of abilities and socio-economic backgrounds.

Dyslexia is a hereditary, life-long, neurodevelopmental condition.

Unidentified, dyslexia is likely to result in low self-esteem, high stress, atypical behaviour, and low achievement.

Learners with dyslexia will benefit from early identification, appropriate intervention and targeted effective teaching, enabling them to become successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.

Scottish Working Definition of Dyslexia

Dyslexia can be described as a continuum of difficulties in learning to read, write and/or spell, which persist despite the provision of appropriate learning opportunities. These difficulties often do not reflect an individual's cognitive abilities and may not be typical of performance in other areas.

The impact of dyslexia as a barrier to learning varies in degree according to the learning and teaching environment, as there are often associated difficulties such as:

  • auditory and/or visual processing of language-based information
  • phonological awareness
  • oral language skills and reading fluency
  • short-term and working memory
  • sequencing and directionality
  • number skills
  • organisational ability

Motor skills and co-ordination may also be affected.

This short video on the Scottish Working Definition of Dyslexia gives some real-life examples from children and young people about what it means for them:

Here is a young person talking about their dyslexia identification on video:

National stakeholder support from leadership organisations

The Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) and the Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists (ASPEP) have confirmed that they will continue to work with Dyslexia Scotland to ensure that assessment and intervention for children and young people who may have dyslexia promote their progression in learning within the wider National Practice Model and Curriculum pathways.



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