Accommodations for Dyslexic Students

An accommodation is an alteration that gives a student the chance to successfully demonstrate what he/she knows. It does not guarantee success, but denying it guarantees failure. Fair does not mean treating everyone the same. Fair means providing what each student needs to have a chance to succeed in class.

Spelling Accommodations

Traditional ways of teaching spelling don’t work with dyslexic students. While we teach them spelling in a different way, we ask that you:

  • Do not grade spelling tests and do not let student spend hours practicing spelling.
  • Do not mark down for spelling errors in other written work.
  • Allow the students who have been instructed in its use to use the Franklin Spelling Ace.
  •  Never ask the student to use the dictionary to find out how to spell a word.
  • Do not trade papers to grade the test.

Reading Accommodations

Our students can more easily access grade level subjects through listening, but because they are below grade level in reading, they cannot learn through reading. While we teach reading a different way, we ask that you:

  • Provide textbooks and literature in audio version.
  • For SSR or DEAR, allow all students the option of listening to books.
  • Read to the student.

Accommodations to Reduce Anxiety and Public Humiliation

Our students are publicly humiliated on a daily basis for poor spelling, handwriting, and reading. It makes many of our students sick and anxious. As we teach them to read and spell, they gain confidence. While they are learning to read and spell with a different method we ask that you:

  • Establish a classroom environment where making a mistake is safe.
  • Never force participation in a spelling bee.
  • Never force the student to read out loud in front of others, unless he/she volunteers or has a chance to practice the passage ahead of time.
  • Never force student to write on the board where others can see spelling mistakes and terrible handwriting.
  • Never collect or distribute papers down the row where handwriting, spelling, and mistakes are made public.
  • Never allow other students to correct his assignments or grade his tests.

Accommodations for Dysgraphia

Some students have very slow, painful, non-automatic handwriting that takes so much thought that they can’t write and listen at the same time. Please provide this help in your classroom:

  • Eliminate copying and note taking. Invest in technology such as the LiveScribe Smart Pen.
  •  Provide notes from the teacher so the student can listen to lecture.
  •  Don’t count off for poor handwriting.
  •  Don’t make student copy problems from book or board.
  •  Allow student to dictate answers to teacher or aide, a recorder, or into PC using voice-recognition software.
  •  Encourage students to type assignments or to dictate to parents to scribe or type it. 

Homework Accommodations

Teachers are usually unaware of how many hours struggling students spend on homework.

Reasonable maximum homework time:

  • 30-45 minutes for kindergarten through 5th grade
  • 1 ½ hours for middle school students
  • 2 ½ hours for high school students

If it’s taking longer than that, you can:

  • Shorten homework assignments to fit these time frames. Parent can act as a time keeper.
  • Shorten classroom assignments if student is unable to complete them in class.
  •  Assign homework the same way every day and be sure to leave enough time for students to write it down.
  • Be sure parents have a way to double check what the homework assignment is.
  •  Provide an extra set of textbooks for home.
  •  Collect homework in a consistent manner.
  • If homework is not turned in, notify parents immediately. They may be able to find it. If so and they are able to get it to school, don’t count it as late.

Memory Accommodations

Dyslexic students have extreme difficulty with random memory.

  • Allow use of calculator or math tables.
  • Ask two-choice questions rather than open-ended questions.
  • Provide formulas and codes used for math, science, and English tests. In the workplace codes/formulas can be looked up as needed.

Test Accommodations

Unreliable memory and fear of not having enough time create tremendous anxiety.

  • Conduct short, oral review sessions.
  • Provide a sample test ahead of time.
  • Allow students to create one page of notes to bring into test and give guidance in how to create such a note page.
  • Oral testing
  • Quiet testing environment
  • Format accommodations (fill in the blank-give answer box; multiple choice)
  • Untimed testing
  • Have test read to student and scribe answers.