Students with dyslexia may benefit from classroom accommodations, which simply allow the student to display their academic strengths without lowering grade-level standards.
Accommodations should be individualized to fit the unique needs of the student as revealed in the formal dyslexia testing. These accommodations are discussed and approved by the educational team, parent, and testing specialist at the student's annual 504 or ARD meeting, then listed on their formal 504 Services Plan.
Accommodations should be regularly monitored by student, parent, teacher and dyslexia specialist, and can be removed or added to the Services Plan as needed at any time during the school year.
Typical accommodations for dyslexic students are shown below:
Break Instruction into Parts - Sometimes students with dyslexic tendencies become overwhelmed when given too many tasks or steps at one time. Ask the teacher(s) to break things down into manageable portions for your student.
Extra Time for Assignments/Written Work (as needed). Within reason, asking for a few extra days or until the end of the week to turn in some assignments can be appropriate. The drawback would be to ask for too much time, and the student then falls behind peers in completion of assignments.
Modified Spelling List (as needed) - if your child is struggling with spelling tests each week, ask if only the first 10-15 words can be graded with the remainder of the words on the weekly list counted as bonus points.
Seating Close to Instruction - if your child struggles with being independent or lacks confidence, it can be ideal to have him/her seated close to instruction.
Opportunity to Repeat Instructions/Directions from teacher – if the student has weak auditory memory (this is the child who has to have directions repeated to them frequently, or who will often ask you “what?” after an oral directive), then the teacher and student can determine a private signal that the student can use if they need the teacher to repeat the oral instructions to them.
Access to Audio Book Programs - Learning Ally (www.learningally.org), formally RFB&D (Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) is a program for children and adults that gives your student access to over 60,000 audio books. Annual membership for students in public and charter schools who have a certified print disability is paid for by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Individual memberships for other students is about $120/year. Membership allows you to download audio books directly to an i-device (iPhone, iPod, iPad), Android device, or Microsoft Windows-based computer. Textbooks, novels, chapter books, etc., are included in their audio access library. Many books are text and audio, others are audio only.
Whisper Phone- this is a tool that allows the student to whisper into the phone and have their voice amplified as they read independently, which can help with comprehension because the student hears the text as they read.
Buddy or Peer- it can be helpful to have a buddy or peer identified in the classroom that your child can count on if the teacher is busy and he needs help pronouncing a word, or needs to ask for guidance that a peer can assist him with.
Low tech/low cost: These are simple adjustments than do not require formal listing on the 504 Services Plan, including highlighters, index card/reading trackers to follow a line of text, and using markers to divide a page into manageable sections.