“Check-up is so necessary when attaining increase in all things”
― Sunday Adelaja
If your child has dyslexia and they have an IEP (Individual Education Plan), you know how important their accommodations are in helping them to learn in the classroom. Do you know however, which ones are being consistently applied and which ones are truly helping your child access the curriculum? With only three months left in this school year, this is the ideal time to do an accommodations tune-up to prepare for next September.
Why are accommodations so important?
Children with dyslexia need accommodations to learn effectively, just as children with poor vision need glasses to be able read the textbooks. This is the parallel Susan Barton, founder of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia uses in her video Embracing Dyslexia: The Interviews – Susan Barton to explain why accommodations in the classroom are so important for dyslexic children. “Accommodations are not an easy A,” she says “they just give a child a chance to access the curriculum like everyone else.”
What types of accommodations are available for students with IEP’s?
As explained in this Ontario Ministry of Education document entitled Special Education Policy in Ontario (Draft Version, 2017) Part E: Individual Education Plan, there are three types of accommodations:
- Instructional accommodations: Adjustments in teaching strategies required to enable the student to learn and to progress through the curriculum (Examples: note-taking, organizational coaching, etc.)
- Environmental accommodations: Changes or supports in the physical environment of the classroom and/or the school (Examples: alternative workspace, noise minimizing, etc.)
- Assessment accommodations: Adjustments in assessment activities and methods required to enable the student to demonstrate learning (Examples: extended time limits, computer options, etc.)
An excellent accommodations resource guide for parents and educators and is, Dyslexia in the Classroom – What Every Teacher Needs to Know from the International Dyslexia Association. Under the section, “Classrooms Strategies, Tips and Tools” you will find a full list of suggestions under these categories: Accommodations Involving Materials, Accommodations Involving Interactive Instruction and Accommodations Involving Student Performance.
How can I assess which accommodations are helping the most?
Talk with your child
Arrange to speak with your child’s teachers and share your child’s feedback. Ask the teachers what they have observed. Having taught your child online or in the classroom for several months, they should have observations and insights about which accommodations are helping your child to fully grasp the curriculum.
When a child resists using available accommodations
If your child is embarrassed or resistant about using accommodations available to them—ask them to watch this video: Dyslexia Accommodations for School by Dyslexia Connect. It just might change their mind! It explains in straight-forward language, what accommodations are, and how they may help dyslexic students complete regular assignments.
For more information on IEP’s and Special Education Legislation in Ontario, check out:
- Ontario Government Department of Education IEP Resource Guide PDF and particularly, your rights as a parent to request changes to the IEP on Page 48.
- Special Education Policy in Ontario (Draft Version, 2017) Part E: Individual Education Plan
- Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s Identification Placement and Review Committee Parent Guide (Learning Support Services)
For more information about accommodations and understanding the challenges of dyslexia, check out these previous Open Door blog posts:
- Accommodation, Modification, and Remediation…What? https://theopendoor.ca/accommodation-modification-remediation/
- Approaching the teacher about your child’s dyslexia https://theopendoor.ca/approaching-the-teacher-about-your-childs-dyslexia/
- October is Dyslexia Awareness Month—Understand the challenges of dyslexia https://theopendoor.ca/october-is-dyslexia-awareness-month-understand-the-challenges-of-dyslexia/
If you know a parent who could use this information about accommodations, please share this with them.
Marion May is the Blog Curator and Content Writer for The Open Door blog as well as a reading and spelling tutor for The Open Door, tutoring children between the ages of seven and 10. Her blog content is “local, organic and specific” and is relevant for parents of children with dyslexia.
Marion formerly tutored teenaged students in a literacy remediation program at Sir Guy Carleton Secondary School in Ottawa. She also worked as a paid fundraiser and grant proposal writer for The Excellence in Literacy Foundation, a national non-profit aimed at helping marginalized youth. She began her career in radio broadcasting and news writing and has worked in the area of promotional writing for several federal government departments and agencies, including the National Research Council.
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