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Embracing Accommodations to Thrive in College with Severe Dyslexia

Categories: Disability Type, Learning Disabilities, Parenting, Uncategorized

How do our kids learn to be independent college students who can study on their own if we keep accommodating them in high school? And does all this tutoring and extra work tend to burn them out by the time they get to college? Do they even want to go to college by this point? So many questions from a high school student's mom. This excellent question was recently asked to the group on our Learning Ally Parent Chat. A reply from Doresa Jen was so insightful and reassuring that we wanted to share it on our blog. The following is shared with her permission:  CTeen College Girlolleges have all sorts of accommodations for students. I know this for a fact since I have been teaching at the collegiate level for seventeen years for state and private colleges and universities. There are also a number of accommodations available in plenty of professional work environments, again - I know this as a severe dyslexic myself that has had accommodations including speech-to-text software. The key is teaching students how to self advocate and utilize the accommodations available to them effectively. There is much less of a stigma regarding accommodations in college than I see in K-12 schools. College accommodations I have seen implemented by students in my classrooms include things such as audio versions of the textbook, permission to audio record lectures, note takers, quizzes and exams administered online - some with additional time, in quiet areas, etc. Helping students find areas that will maximize their strengths and accommodate their areas of weakness is key.
Many don't know that some of the schools with the highest rates of student populations with dyslexia are some of the most prestigious. For instance, MIT has a student body that has higher rates of dyslexia than found in the general population. There have been a number of articles that talk about companies actively recruiting dyslexic graduates.
I would highly recommend reading the book, The Dyslexic Advantage by the Eides (neuroscientists that study dyslexia) to see many of the actual advantages dyslexics have in terms of learning and working. Find how those strengths manifest in your high schooler and teach them how to tap into those advantages to create their best outcomes in life. Dyslexics are over-represented in fields like engineering, architecture, and even screenwriters and poets. Yes, dyslexia is a disability and being dyslexic makes learning a lot of things very hard. However, dyslexia is also a lifelong condition and learning to embrace the good with the bad and carving out an existence that is satisfying and gratifying is important. Signed, Doresa Jen A severe dyslexic with a PhD Learning Ally   We'd love to have you join in the discussion! Click here to join: Learning Ally Parent Chat           

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