SRUC Part of Farming with Dyslexia Working Group

Published Thursday, 18th September 2014 in Study at SRUC news

Dyslexia, working group, Jo Aitken, NFUS

Jo Aitken from the Elmwood Campus of Scotland’s Rural College, is representing SRUC on the new Farming with Dyslexia Working Group, led by NFU Scotland and chaired by Union Vice President Rob Livesey.

Jo, a Learning Support Manager, has joined representatives from the Scottish Government’s Rural Payments Inspection Directorate, Forestry Commission Scotland, Dyslexia Scotland and four farming and crofting members of the Union who have dyslexia. The aim is to ensure that Scottish farming stakeholders recognise the real needs of those with dyslexia.

It is believed the condition is more prevalent within the farming sector than previously thought, certainly estimates suggest that 25% of the agricultural students attending SRUC have dyslexic tendencies. In her day to day role Jo understands the issues they face and the assistance required. It can often remain undiagnosed, causing problems for those trying to run a modern farming business with its need for communications, regulation and form filling.

NFU Scotland Vice President Rob Livesey commented:

“The contribution from the working group will be crucial to the success of this initiative. There is no one size fits all approach to helping those in Scottish farming with dyslexia.”

Jo Aitken believes the contribution she and SRUC can make is through experience in supporting students with dyslexia.

“With form filling one of the key problems for farmers we can advise on things like the design of forms, the font used and technology available to help people interpret information. The Scottish Government representatives on the working group are keen to learn more about that kind of thing.”

The first objective of the group is to raise awareness and build on the work already started. It will then be important to try to remove the stigma attached to dyslexia.

Photo Caption: L-R NFUS farming member David Austin; Jo Aitken of SRUC; Jane Edwards, NFUS farming member; Gregor Caldwell, Scottish Government’s Rural Payments Inspection Directorate; Brendan Callaghan, Forestry Commission Scotland; NFUS Vice President, Rob Livesey; NFUS farming members Sandy McCreath and Sandy Murray; Fiona Dickinson, Dyslexia Scotland; and NFUS Regional Manager Isla Flanagan.

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