During a recent road trip to see your sister, your son listened to an entire book on your Audible app. He was able to tell his cousins about the book down to almost every detail about the story. You realize this would be an excellent accommodation for his classes too. Since your son is struggling to read and his strength is learning more from what he hears (auditory learner, if you are wondering) why not ask for an accommodation for more audiobooks and reading tests aloud?
Teachers may suggest appropriate accommodations for your son at his IEP/504 meeting, but many times the educators may look to you (yes, the parents) to request an accommodation. You will want to ask the educators how familiar they are with dyslexia. If the educators are not experienced in writing goals and accommodations for students with dyslexia, you will want to be prepared with your own list of accommodations that you believe will help your son be successful at school.
Accommodations should be provided for instruction and testing. You are not requesting to change academic standards or expectations, but to provide a different way to access the topic and demonstrate your son’s knowledge of the particular concept. You don’t want the accommodations only during testing, because your son won’t be as comfortable. And that will affect how well he does on the test.
5 BEST ACCOMMODATIONS
There are many accommodations that can be provided in the classroom. This is not an exhaustive list of accommodations, but the top 5 accommodations requested to help students with dyslexia thrive academically.
- Audio – resources (texts, books, and notes) and testing with read-aloud
- Do not count off for spelling errors
- Type answers (instead of handwriting) or use Pilot FriXion Pens (they are erasable) and Paper Mate Pencils (they have a triangular barrel design that makes it easier to grasp for younger children)
- Slant board for writing
- Extra time for assignments and tests
Accommodations can be provided for students who have an IEP or 504 Plan. A helpful resource is to talk with your son’s current and previous teachers (and tutor). What worked best in her class? Are there specific accommodations your son believes will help with classroom instruction, homework, and tests?
Remember the goal of accommodations is not to water down the curriculum, but to provide the dyslexic student with a different way to demonstrate his or her mastery of the subject. As a mom, you know your child’s strengths and weaknesses. You want to look for ways to lessen unnecessary stress and frustration while providing a way for your child to demonstrate his or her gifts (strengths). If your son can explain a concept, but handwriting a paragraph is not legible then another way should be considered to demonstrate mastery. It could be to type the paragraph or record an audio response for the teacher. There is no one way that is right or wrong, so expect to adjust the accommodations as needed while you figure out what works best for your son.
When in high school, your daughter may request accommodations for the ACT and SAT, but she must prove a history of accommodations for testing at their school for ACT and SAT to be approved.
When everyone goes to sleep tonight (or early in the morning), grab a pen and a piece of paper to jot down the areas your child struggles and figure out what specific accommodations you want to request at your next meeting. You got this!