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Classical Languages teaching for students with Special Educational Needs


The following articles have been written about teaching Classical Languages to students with Special Educational Needs.

Steven Hunt bears no responsibility for the content or advice given in them.

Students with special educational needs or disabilities

Adams, E. (2022). Language and landscape: using British Sign Language in Historic Storytelling. Presentation to the Manchester (UK) Classical Association. YouTube video. 50 mins.


Ancona, R. (1982). Latin and a dyslexic student. An experience in teaching. The Classical World, 76.1, 33-36.

Ashe, A. (1998). Latin for Special Needs Students: Meeting the Challenge of Students with Learning Disabilities. In Lafleur, R. (Ed.). Latin for the 21st Century. Glenview: Scott Foresman – Addison  Wesley, 237-250.

Ashmore, R., and Madden, J. D. 1990. Literacy via Latin. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 23 (1): 63–70.

Asterion {website] has a list of articles / advice for teaching Classics with students with neurodiversity

Astra, E. (n.d.) [Blog]. Emma Astra: AKA the Disabled PhD Student. Blog available here.

Block, L., Brinkerhoff, L., and Trueba, C. 1995. Options and accommodations in mathematics and foreign language for college students with learning disabilities. HEATH, 14 (2. 2): 1–5.

Burbank, D. (2024). A survey involving secondary students with dyslexia studying Latin or a modern foreign language. Journal of Classics Teaching 50 forthcoming.

Carroll, C. (2017). Hearing Impairment and the Latin Classroom Experience: A case study of a Year 10 student with a hearing impairment learning Latin. Journal of Classics Teaching, 35, 31-37.

Chanock, K. (2006). Help for a dyslexic learner from an unlikely source. The study of Ancient Greek. Literacy, 40.3, 164-170.

Deacy, S. (2023). What Would Hercules Do? Lessons for Autistic Children Using Classical Myth. Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego.


Deacy, S. (2009). Asperger Syndrome and Classical Mythology. CUCD Bulletin, 38.

Deacy, S.  Mythology and Autism (part of the ‘Our Mythical Childhood' project). Blog here.

Downey, D., Snyder, L. and Hill, N. (2000). College Students with Dyslexia: Persistent Linguistic Deficits and Foreign Language Learning. Dyslexia, 6.2, pp. 101-111.

Dutmer, E. (2022). Ut te exhorter ad bonam mentem ‘that I encourage you toward a sound mind’: How Nuanced Latin, Emotional Vocabulary and SEL Routines Can Help Every Latin Student Flourish. Teaching Classical Languages 12.2, pp. 48-80.

Fraser, C. B. (2024). [Blog} Be Aware or Beware? The Pitfalls of Autism Awareness Month. CUCD-EDI. 

Hill, B., Downey, D. M., Sheppard, M., and Williamson, V. 1995. Accommodating the needs of students with severe language learning difficulties in modified foreign language classes. In G. Crouse (ed.), Broadening the Frontiers of Foreign Language Education (Lincolnwood, Ill: National Textbook), 46–56.

Hill, B. (2006). Latin for Students with Severe Foreign Language Learning Difficulties. In Gruber-Miller, J. (Ed.) When Dead Tongues Speak, pp. 50-67. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Hill, B. (2009). Overwhelmed by words: students with dyslexia and Latin. Bulletin of the Council of University Classical Departments, 38: 6–9.

Hill, B. n.d. Latin for Students with Learning Disabilities. Classical Association of the Middle West and South. 

Hubbard, T. (2003). Special Needs in Classics. In Morwood, J. (Ed.) The Teaching of Classics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 51-60.

Iovino, R. (2020). Rethinking the teaching of Latin in the inclusive school. Journal of Latin Linguistics, 18, 1-2.

Latinteach. (2009). Who should study Latin? 

Laurence, R. (2010). Classics and its dyslexics, CUCD Bulletin 38.

Lawrence, C. (2014) The Aeneid for Dyslexics. Journal of Classics Teaching, 29, pp. 7-9.

Loud, A. (2011). Reading Dyslexia: An Empirical Study for Latin Teachers. CLASSICAL OUTLOOK 88.2, pp. 48-52.

Martin, A. (2020). [Blog]: Dyslexia behind the scenes: why choose Latin for GCSE?

Morris, A. (2021). [Blog]: A Brief Guide to Disability Terminology and Theory in Ancient World Studies. SCS Blog.

Nesbitt, E. (1979). Classics and multicultural education. Hesperiam 2, pp. 78-95.

Parker, A. (2013). Teacher, Pupil and Parental Perspectives Surrounding the Study of Latin for Pupils Identified with Dyslexia. Journal of Classics Teaching, 27, 6-15.

Patterson, A. (2020). Learning Latin With Dyslexia. in medias res.

Patterson, A. (2022). Learning Ancient Greek With Dyslexia. in media res

Patterson, A. (2022). Latin for Student with Dyslexia. Teaching Classical Languages, 12.2, pp. 6-26.

Sawyer, B. (2016). Latin for All Identities. Journal of Classics Teaching, 33, pp. 35-39.

Shahabudin, K. and Turner, J. (2009). Enabling success for dyslexic students in Classics. CUCD Bulletin, 38.

Singleton, C. (2009). Asperger syndrome and Classical Mythology. CUCD Bulletin, 38.

Sparks, R., Ganschow, L, Fluharty, K, and Little, S. (1995). An Exploratory Study on the Effects of Latin on the Native Language Skills and Foreign Language Aptitude of Students with and without Learning Disabilities. The Classical Journal, 91.2, pp.165-184.

Sparks, R. L., Ganschow, L., Kenneweg, S., and Miller, K. (1991). Use of an Orton–Gillingham approach to teach a foreign language to dyslexic/learning disabled students: explicit teaching of phonology in a second language. Annals of Dyslexia, 41: 96–117. | Abstract: Kitchell’s summary: ‘Explains a multisensory, structured language approach that adheres to the direct and explicit teaching of phonology. It emphasizes simultaneous writing and pronunciation so that students can “see,” “hear,” and “do” the language.’

Stakenas, D. (2013). Teaching Latin I to High School Students with Moderate Cognitive Impairment and Autism. The Classical Outlook, 90, 1, pp.4-7.

Thomson, M. (2013). Supporting Dyslexic Pupils in the Secondary Curriculum: Dyslexia and the Classics (Latin, Classical Greek, Classical Studies). Dyslexia Scotland. 


Deacy also wrote a guide to embedding equality and diversity in Classics in HE for HEA Scotland a few years back – it includes a short section on dyslexia.

The guide is part of a project Embedding Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum, which includes details and links to other guides.


Differentiation / adaptive teaching

Coe, B. & Hunt, S. (2022). Adaptive Teaching for GCSE and A Level Classical Literature. Journal of Classics Teaching, 46.

Downes, C., McDonnell, C. and Hunt, S. (2012). All Can, Most Can, Some Can. Some Practical Ideas for Using Differentiation Strategies in the Classics Classroom. Journal of Classics Teaching, 26, pp. 25-28

Hunt, S (2009). Differentiation and Classics. Journal of Classics Teaching, 17, pp. 3-4.

Hunt, S. (2016). Starting to Teach Latin. London: Bloomsbury

Hunt, S. (2022). Teaching Latin: Theories, Contexts, Practices. London: Bloomsbury.

Students with Visual Impairment

Large print versions of frequently-used Latin / Classics textbooks are available for students with visual impairments.

Thanks to Lottie, who writes:

"Our school has just signed up for the RNIB Bookshare. It’s free for schools. Accounts can be made for students with visual impairments and learning difficulties so that they can get a variety of education books online and are able to download them in a variety of different accessible formats. The CLC is available on there. Our SENCO has only just found out about this resource so over the next few weeks I’ll experiment with what works.

The CLC, Taylor’s Essential Latin GCSE. Latin Stories, GCSE Class Civ Myth & Religion textbook and A Level Greek Theatre/Imperial Image are available. Schools can also request books if they aren’t currently available. I don’t know how many of the formats are available for each book but this is an amazing resource for making Classics more accessible for students who have additional needs. I’m sure there’s a few more Classics teachers out there who would find this very useful."

Disability History Resources: Ancient History (3000BC-500CE)

Website of the Bodleian Library, containing links and resources for disability in the ancient world. 

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