Tuesday, February 13, 2007

DYSLEXIA: Classroom Strategies

On a daily basis, teachers face multiple challenges in the classroom. One of those challenges is teaching a group of students with varying abilities so that everyone can learn grade-level skills and content. This means that while teaching to the group, you have to keep in mind the needs of individual learners. This is especially important for those students with learning disabilities (LD) in your classroom.

Students with learning disabilities often require special attention (in terms of accommodations and modifications) and may also need access to assistive technologies in order to keep up with their classmates. As you know, students with LD are often as smart as their peers, but since they process information differently, they need additional support to compensate for their disability. If a student has been formally diagnosed with a learning disability, the accommodations that he or she needs should already be listed in an Individualized Education Program (IEP). As the student’s teacher, you are an important member of the IEP team, providing observations and information about the kinds of specialized instruction and additional support that the student needs.

Accommodations and assistive technology are not meant to lower expectations of what a student with LD can learn and accomplish. They are intended to “level the playing field” in order to give the student a realistic chance to succeed in school. The following four articles should offer an introduction to the types of adjustments that you can make in the classroom.

Accommodations for Students with LD suggests a number of ways that teachers can accommodate students with regard to presentation, student response, timing, setting, and test scheduling.

Assistive Technology highlights the potential benefits of simple and complex “tools” for students with learning disabilities.

Accommodating Students with Dyslexia in All Classroom Settings suggests a number of concrete accommodations that teachers can use for dyslexic students with regard to interactive instruction and student response.

Accommodations, Techniques and Aids for Learning lists a wide range of adjustments that teachers can make depending upon a student’s particular disability.

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