Classroom Accommodations for Dyslexia
In addition to engaging in our signature training system (The Power Learning Tower), an effective treatment for dyslexia is accommodations and learning strategies that are individually tailored to the person’s needs. Although there are similarities in the signs and symptoms of dyslexia, each person will have their own unique issues, therefore treatment and accommodations must differ.
Academic accommodations for students with dyslexia are critical for short-term and long-term educational success. The right accommodations can not only allow the student to perform to his/her true academic potential, but also prevent the student from experiencing issues with self-esteem related to learning difficulties related to dyslexia.
Accommodations create a smooth and organized classroom experience that ultimately even benefits the class as a whole. Below are examples of beneficial and commonly used class accommodations for students with dyslexia.
Accessibility to Educational Material
Students with dyslexia are often provided with the teacher’s notes or other class material or material in audio format. This serves a useful function because the student does not have to hear and/or see the class material for the first time when the teacher presents it to the class. This potentially creates a situation where the student with dyslexia may become overwhelmed with information, thus creating difficulty. By accessing class material ahead of time (and in alternative formats), the student can prepare him/herself for the lesson and then truly benefit from when the teacher presents the material to the class.
Similar to accessing class material ahead of time, being provided with additional time on tests, assignments, and even homework, allows the student with dyslexia to focus on the material and not on other factors (e.g., a deadline) that may interfere with optimal performance. Since students with dyslexia have difficulty processing certain academic material, being provided with additional time will remove much stress on the student, allowing full focus on the actual content and the learning experience.
Alternative Response Format
Students with dyslexia are often permitted to provide verbal responses to test questions. This is yet another accommodation that evaluates the student’s true knowledge of the material without letting reading and writing skills to interfere or block the student’s ability to express what they know.
A common accommodation is allowing students with dyslexia to complete tests in a separate room. This serves several functions, such as allowing the student to use notes and other academic aids and materials without other students watching, as accommodations can sometimes cause students with dyslexia to feel shame or embarrassment in the presence of peers. In addition, a separate and private testing location can allow the student greater focus on the task.
Avoid Timed Tasks
Individuals with dyslexia should not be given time constraints for tasks involving reading. As a result of their difficulty, anything that involves reading (e.g., math word problems, multiple choice exams) will take the individual longer periods of time to complete. This is why individuals with dyslexia are permitted ample time (often double the time, or more, that is typically allotted for a task) to complete assignments or exams.
A common accommodation is allowing a student to use a laptop computer to type responses to assignments or during exams. This prevents fatigue while writing and allows the student to use a spell checker. The purpose is to assess the individual’s true knowledge and prevent issues with writing from disrupting the individual’s ability to express what they know.
Using a Scribe
Individuals with dyslexia are provided a scribe, which is a person who writes down answers for the individual during exams while the individual with dyslexia verbally dictates information. This allows the individual to focus on their knowledge of material without being burdened by handwriting, spelling, grammar, etc.
Individuals with dyslexia are often permitted to have exams and class assignments read to them rather than having to read instructions themselves. This prevents confusion of directions, which can greatly affect the child’s performance on the task and failure to truly assess the individual’s knowledge of material.