Dyslexia Accommodations

Dr. Sally Shaywitz says, “Dyslexia robs a person of time; accommodations return it.” Because students with dyslexia sometimes read slowly, and sometimes need to reread multiple times to comprehend, they tend to work through assigned reading much more slowly than peers. Students are often exhausted when they are finished, even if they get through the work.

Students can’t do all the work they are assigned at the pace their brain operates. Schools and workplaces provide accommodations so that students can complete the needed tasks without being limited by their dyslexia.

Accommodations are essential to help level the playing field for students who struggle with reading or writing. Dyslexic students are just as smart and have just as much to offer as their classmates. Sometimes they struggle to get new information, or to share what they know, if reading and writing are the only methods offered.

It’s not a “worse” or “easier” way of doing the work, just different.

When considering an accommodation, the team must consider whether the student knows how to use the accommodation. This is particularly important if new assistive technology is being recommended. The IEP should include training on appropriate use of any technology in IEP accommodations.

To learn more about dyslexia and the IEP process, check out our Introduction to Dyslexia resources.

What accommodations do middle schoolers with dyslexia need?

Accommodations should always be individualized to the student’s needs. They may include tools like audio books, extra time on tests, and ungraded spelling. They may be different ways to:

1. Present material – audiobooks, digital copies of text that can be read by a device, include diagrams/graphics/visual models, reduced visual clutter on the page. This may also include copies of class notes, either from the teacher (or at upper levels, a peer).

2. Demonstrate knowledge – use speech-to-text for written work, create non-written products (video, models, drawings, speeches, songs), be graded without penalty for misspelling, etc. One of my favorite response accommodations is, “Allow student to verbally expand written answers.” For example, if the student writes an incomplete answer, the teacher can say, “Can you tell me more about this?”

3. Other – Students can have many other types of accommodation needs, either in addition to dyslexia, or on their own. Accommodations can be related to:

-time: extended time on tests or assignments, transition time warnings

-place: taking tests in a small group setting, sitting near the point of instruction

-communication: teacher check-ins, non-verbal cues, written copy of assignments instead of student planner)

Accommodations are only part of the picture. If your child is struggling with reading, spelling, or writing, contact us today for a free tutoring consultation. Let’s explore how online tutoring can help your child thrive after a dyslexia diagnosis!