The Importance of Classroom Accommodations for Students with Dyslexia
Children with Dyslexia can struggle to read and comprehend written text. Since reading is an indispensable part of classroom learning, they may underperform and fall behind in school. Accommodations for students with dyslexia can ensure that they get a fair shot at academic success just like their peers do.
Children with dyslexia can also struggle with writing, spelling, and comprehension, in addition to their reading challenges. It may be unreasonable to expect them to do well on standardized tests, and get good grades without adequate support. Classroom accommodations can reduce their stress and give them equal opportunity to achieve excellence in schools.
Here are some of the accommodations that can help children with Dyslexia:
Textbooks, handouts and other instructional materials are full of text and can intimidate a dyslexic student. As a crucial part of the learning process, it is essential that students are supported to feel comfortable with the materials. Some of the steps that can be taken include –
Simplifying written directions :
Large chunks of text can be overwhelming for some students with dyslexia. Teachers can format the text by underlining or highlighting important parts of the text. If they notice a child struggling to comprehend directions, they can also clarify or rewrite the instructions as required.
Reading instructions out loud as an alternative, or to supplement written instructions. Students with dyslexia can comprehend better when they are read to.
Providing bookmarks or coloured strips to help focus on a part of the text like a line or a small paragraph, because background images and stylized formatting can be distracting.
- Using large font sizes and increasing word spacing of printed text.
- Using audiobooks during reading sessions.
- Using alphabet strips for reinforcing alphabet recognition.
- Providing additional practice activities such as educational games.
- Using number formation prompt strips for independent writing
- Using assistive tools including reading apps such as MDA Avaz Reader, and speech-to-text software to help with writing.
- Providing books for all levels of reading, on varied topics of interest.
Assignments are essential to reaffirm classroom learning and gauge how much the child has learned on an ongoing basis. Here are some of the ways in which dyslexic students can be supported to do their assignments –
- Providing samples of completed assignments to show them what needs to be done.
- Providing a rubric explaining how the assignment will be graded.
- Providing a glossary of words in the assignment.
- Highlighting key words on the worksheets so that the students do not not miss out key information.
- Giving smaller assignments. If the child needs to finish a project, breaking it into smaller assignments so that the child is not discouraged by the huge amount of work to be done.
- Grading the assignments based on comprehension of concepts, ignoring spelling errors.
- Giving them alternate ways to present assignments such as oral reports, or PowerPoint presentations.
Tests are another crucial component in the learning process. Here are some ways in which tests can be made more accommodating for dyslexic students –
- Providing additional time for taking tests.
- Providing a quiet room for taking tests, and blocking out external stimuli.
- Allowing use of tablets and other assistive devices to take tests.
- Giving taped tests, where students can listen to the audio format of the questions.
- Announcing the tests in advance so that the students get enough time to prepare.
The classroom can be an intimidating space for a child with dyslexia. If the classroom experience is made dyslexia friendly, dyslexic students can make the most of it. Here is how that can be done –
- Giving typed or written notes of lessons before teaching them.
- Using visual representation while teaching new concepts
- Explaining theory using relevant practical experiments, wherever applicable.
- Assigning learning partners and reading buddies so that they can get help from their peers.
- Writing significant terms on the board so that the student pays attention to them.
- Using audiovisual instructional methods to explain the concepts
- Encouraging daily review of lessons so that they can follow the lesson the next day.
Dyslexia is a learning disability that can affect the academic performance of students. Several children with the disability suffer from low self-esteem due to their low grades, and get discouraged from pursuing higher education. Accommodations for students with dyslexia gives them the platform to play to their strengths. Consequently, the students get an opportunity to nourish their individual talents, hone their skills, and attain success in life.
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