Students can receive accommodations under an IEP or a 504 plan. There are many resources online with sample accommodations. Bright Solutions for Dyslexia has an excellent video and handout about accommodations for a student with dyslexia.
With so many choices how do you decide? To start, we suggest looking at the IEP or 504 evaluation for areas of weakness. Try to address all areas of concern with services (IEP only), assistive technology, and/or accommodations. Also ask your student what their day looks like and what is a struggle. Consider your child's mental health.
At the beginning of the school year consider making a video of your child to send to their teacher(s). Your child can introduce themselves, tell the teacher about their areas of difficulty and areas that they excel in. Or if they aren't comfortable in front of a camera, include a fact sheet (along with a copy of the 504 or IEP) tailored to your child's trouble areas and strengths. And/or you could individually email the teachers these sheets. Understood.org has some great one page sheets for each diagnosis. You can cross off areas that don't affect your child and highlight the areas that do. Dyslexia Fact Sheet, Dysgraphia Fact Sheet, ADHD Fact Sheet, Dyscalculia Fact Sheet, Slow Processing Speed Fact Sheet, Language Disorder Fact Sheet.
Here are some accommodations we have been told are helpful. Remember needs will differ as a child ages and every child is different. There are some redundant suggestions so you can have examples of different wording.
- Student will / will not work with parent volunteers. (Note that most parents have told us they prefer that their child does NOT work with a parent volunteer.)
- Student will not trade assignments, quizzes, or tests with other students for grading.
- Teacher will not display grades or progress, even without a name.
- Student will have the opportunity to participate in a weekly social skills group with peers.
- Student will be provided preferential seating in the front of the class next to a quiet student. (This could also be away from any other distractions.)
- Student will be able to clearly see and hear the teacher during all instructional time.
- Teacher will work to minimize auditory and visual distractions.
- Student will be allowed to “Take A Break” when he/she needs a break from the classroom.
- Wording options for not withholding activities:
- Student will not be held from assemblies, pep fest, and other such school events during the school day to complete work.
- Recess, special events, or rewards cannot be withheld for academic, punitive, or discipline reasons including missed work or goals unless it is withheld for the entire class.
- Student will not be held in from lunch, gym, or specials to complete an incomplete task unless it is student or parent requested.
- Student will not be held in from recess to complete work.
- Teacher will communicate with parents about items student needs to complete if it cannot be fit in during the regular class time.
- Any communication from teachers that indicates a need to retake a test, quiz, or assignment or concerns regarding performance should be done via email to the parent/guardian and not through the student.
- Assignments, quizzes, or tests with a grade of 70% or less will not be returned. Assignments, quizzes, or tests with a grade of 71% or better may be returned.
- Student will not be called on unless she raises her hand or volunteers.
- Student will not be asked to cold read or provide written answers in front of the glass unless student volunteers.
- For any absences, student will be given two (2) additional days (beyond time normally given to complete work from an absence) to submit work for full credit.
- Monitor student's progress when learning a second language in the areas of reading and writing. Consider other options such as American Sign Language, grading a second language class as Pass/Fail or waive the requirement of a second language.
Wording options for reducing verbal instruction:
- Teacher will slow down and reduce verbal communication when necessary. Teacher will repeat verbatim when asked.
- Teacher will reduce verbal instruction by keeping directions brief and use visual modeling and reinforcement. It is also helpful to pause when speaking to allow student to process information provided. He/She may miss entire words or merge words together when listening to ongoing speech, especially with fast-paced talkers.
- Student will be provided (by school’s speech pathologist) with auditory memory strategies (using both words and pictures) as a reference to use in the classroom. This will be kept at his/her desk.
- Teacher will not solely give directions for homework assignments orally. Directions will be communicated to parents in writing.
- He/She will be given preferential seating in the classroom, away from auditory distractions. If the assigned seat in the classroom is not optimal, child will notify the teacher and request a change.
Wording options for step by step instructions:
- The teacher is responsible for providing step by step visual instructions and student will not be penalized for failure to remember auditory instructions.
- Teacher will provide step by step instructions. Student does not follow multi-step instruction well, which is very normal for dyselxics. He/She does well with 1-2 step directions.
- When necessary, student’s teacher will break down multi-step activities into one-step directions including for individual and small group activities.
- Teacher will provide small group teaching, when necessary, for reading.
- Instructions for assignments, quizzes, and tests will be given orally to student with confirmation that he/she understands the directions. Student will verify his/her understanding with an oral or visual signal.
- Allow student to verbalize answers when necessary, i.e., spelling tests or testing that is taking too long.
- Student will be able to take a 2-3 minute break from activities where his/her dyslexia is an obstacle.
- On any assignments, quizzes, or tests on which student is given feedback or asked to make corrections, he/she will receive a blank copy of the assignment on which to learn from or to make these corrections. He/She will not be asked to correct or learn from a marked or corrected test, quiz, or assignment.
- Student may request to have directions on assignments read aloud to him/her.
- When appropriate, student’s writing should be assessed based on content and not on spelling or penmanship.
Wording options for additional time to complete assignments:
- Student shall receive 1 additional day for assignments. Additional time can be granted with teacher permission.
- For any missing assignments, the teacher will check-in with student and provide 2 days from that time to turn in the assignments without penalty.
- Parents and staff will communicate if work completion becomes an issue to determine an appropriate plan and implementation of strategies.
- Do not have student trade assignments, quizzes, or tests with other students for grading. Do not display grades or progress, even without a name.
Wording options for shortening assignments:
- Shortened assignments as needed.
- When necessary, student’s teacher will reduce the number of questions/problems on assignments.
- Parents may shorten homework assignments when necessary and will communicate to the teacher when and why assignments were shortened.
- In consultation with the teacher, the child or the parent may request extended time to complete an assignment or task or request a homework modification or reduction.
- Regarding timed tasks related to direct instruction reading or math, student will participate in the task, but will not be graded on these tasks. Student will only participate in timed testing when it is being conducted for the aforementioned progress monitoring purposes, otherwise he/she will not be timed for in-class assignments, quizzes, or tests. Students will have extended time on all assessments (such as ACT Aspire/Star and state assessments).
- Student will be allowed extra time to complete classroom assessments, quizzes, or tests (double time).
- When test corrections are assigned to the class no explanation of what/why/how he/she got the problem wrong will be required.
- Student will be allowed to take routine tests and quizzes outside of the classroom setting with extended time; he/she will ask the teacher if he/she wants to utilize this accommodation.
- Student will be allowed to take standardized assessments such as the MCA and MAP in a small group setting with extended time.
- Student may request that the teacher reads test directions or questions to him/her (except when prohibited such as during MCA or MAP testing).
- Student is allowed a limit of _____-minutes maximum time to be spent on homework without penalty. Parents can use discretion to determine if student can do more or less of his/her homework on a given night without penalty and will communicate with the classroom teacher related to the amount of homework completed.
- Student is allowed to dictate to an adult who will write for him/her in order to complete homework assignments unless the goal of the homework assignment is handwriting. In which case, student can dictate the handwriting sentence to an adult and the adult can write down a model for student to copy in him/her own handwriting.
- Student's handwriting will be graded only on assignments, quizzes, and tests specifically targeting handwriting and not on assignments, quizzes, and tests for other subjects.
- Due to writing challenges, child will be able to type rather than write.
- Student will be graded on the content of his/her writing, not his/her spelling or handwriting (exception: spelling may be considered in classes such as Spanish where spelling can change the meaning of a word or in Language Arts when completing a long-term project or writing task where multiple edits are expected).
- Student will be allowed to use apps such as Dragon Dictation, Popplet, Padlet, iCard Sort, Co- Writer Universal, or other technology supported by the school district to assist with writing tasks and organization.
- Three consecutive spelling tests on which student receives a score of 70% or below will trigger a team meeting to discuss alternative spelling tests.
- Do not write a grade on the spelling test or mark words with an X. The correct spelling should be written next to an incorrect word.
- Student's spelling will only be graded on spelling tests. Points will not be taken off for misspellings or reversals in assignments other than spelling quizzes or tests.
- Student will not be penalized for reversals on spelling assignments, quizzes, and/or tests.
- Student will not be graded for spelling.
- Student will not be required to read in front of the class. He/She will only be called on to read aloud if he/she volunteers. Exceptions will be made for reading class when with his/her readiness group during which he/she can be called on to read.
- No reading or writing in front of the class via cold call.
- Student will be allowed to use audiobooks including Learning Ally or Bookshare for reading assignments, including during silent reading.
- Student will be given the option to choose shortened or alternate memory assignments.
- Student will be allowed to recite any shortened or alternate options away from peers, and will not be penalized for mispronouncing words.
- Student will not have to memorize in a language other than English except in his/her (other language) class.
- Student will be allowed a multiplication chart and other relevant visual aids for math tests, quizzes, and assignments.
- Teacher will provide enough space on worksheets, quizzes, and tests for student to line up his/her problems and solve them.
- Student will be allowed to use a calculator.
Instructional Material, Aids, and Supports:
- Student will be able to access and utilize google read/write.
- As needed, student will be given a visual schedule/task list.
- Student will be provided with structured, or skeleton notes to reduce the volume of writing.
- Reduce/eliminate copying tasks.
Wording options for class notes and study guides:
- Student will be provided a complete copy of any class notes at the beginning of class. He/She will not be required to copy down the notes and if notes are graded student will be allowed to turn in the provided complete notes for his/her grade.
- Student will be provided with a completed study guide or be given guidance in filling out any student guide. If the study guide is graded he/she will be allowed to turn in the provided or guided copy for the grade.
- Student will be provided access to a letter chart for assignments/tests, such as spelling tests, where letter formation may impact a grade.
- Student will be allowed to listen to books on their iPad during free reading time (but will also have the option to read a physical book).
- Student will be provided access to assistive technology for organization, reading and writing assignments.
Have any to add? Let us know at decodingdyslexiamn (at) gmail.com