What is an accommodation? Sometimes people think its cheating. I always tell my husband jokingly that I earned both my A and his B in a college course we took because I took all the notes and he just used my notes to study. Not understanding dyslexia, I did feel like he had “cheated” but now I understand why he needed that accommodation.
An accommodation is basically a change in the way the teacher presents the information, the student demonstrates and practices the new skill, and a change in the way the student is tested so that every student has a chance to succeed.
See flyer from Bright Solutions here that provides a 3-page list of accommodations for students.
This year is my son’s in 8th grade year and I am working on helping him become independent so that he is ready for high school. There are several accommodations that we have been doing since he was diagnosed:
I provide all his books on audio-
For a few years now we have been using Learning Ally for our literature books. They have a really good selection. Unfortunately, the voices are not great. He complains about it all the time. However, I am persistent and don’t let him stop. I feel the more he gets used to the voices the easier it will be.
We have also purchased audio from curriculum companies. For example, Apologia has all their textbooks on audio. Ever since he was diagnosed, I have purchased the audio for his books. We also use The Story of the World and he likes the audio for that.
This year, I was going to use Notgrass World History with him and I contacted the company to find out if they had audio available. They did not, however, they did provide me with ALL the pdf files so that we could listen to them. So, now I have a new option!
Along these lines, I have also used the “speech” option when he has to read on the computer. In the class he is taking on Landry, the teacher provides the class slides to review. He doesn’t want to read of them so we turn on the speech feature and the computer reads it to him.
Often I have him dictate a written assignment
Often times, I act as his scribe. Recently, we were working on his Apologia General Science Study Guide and the amount of questions was too overwhelming so I took over the pen and had him search for the answers and tell me what to write.
Sometimes we will share the pen. He writes some and then I write some.
He types most of his work
He started learning to type as soon as I found out he had dyslexia and dysgraphia. We used several different programs, but really they all teach the same thing. He types all his written projects even his first draft. We then print it out and edit and revise the written copy. Going back to Apologia, I plan on typing out the Study Guides on Word and having him type in his answers.
He uses a calculator
Now that I know he can perform the four operations on his own, I allow him to use a calculator. Especially now that he is dealing with decimals, fractions and percents. Learning math facts is hard for dyslexics, so even if he wasn’t proficient in math skills I still would let him use the calculator.
He takes modified test
This year is the first year he will be doing tests. I will be modifying his science tests to include multiple choice, fill in and matching. It will test the same material but in a different way. He often gets stuck on not remembering a word, so I will provide word banks.
He has a modified work load
I often have him do every other problem or just 5 problems on things that are frustrating to him. Right now we are doing Analytical Grammar, which I love, but for him to diagram 10 sentences is too much. So I ask him to only diagram 2-3 sentences. As long as he can show me he understands, I think there is no need to do a hundred problems.
School happens only thanks to these accommodations. There are many on the list provided by Bright Solutions that would work too, but these are what works for us.
I also will be sharing in another post how I am getting him ready for high school. We will we using more technology as time goes on.