Implications for Learning

A young woman sitting cross legged on the grass near a tree which is partially shading her upper body and head. She is looking down, poring over an open book, her face obscured by her long, dark hair.

According to the International Dyslexia Association (2012), the impact that dyslexia has is different for each person and depends on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of instruction or remediation. The core difficulty is with word recognition and reading fluency, spelling, and writing. Some people with dyslexia manage to learn early reading and spelling tasks, especially with excellent instruction, but later experience their most debilitating problems when more complex language skills are required, such as grammar, understanding textbook material, and writing essays.

People with dyslexia can also have problems with spoken language, even after they have been exposed to good language models in their homes and good language instruction in school. They may find it difficult to express themselves clearly, or to fully comprehend what others mean when they speak. Such language problems are often difficult to recognize, but they can lead to major problems in school, in the workplace, and in relating to other people. The effects of dyslexia reach well beyond the classroom.

Dyslexia can also affect a person's self-image. Students with dyslexia often end up feeling "dumb" and less capable than they actually are. After experiencing a great deal of stress due to academic problems, a student may become discouraged about continuing in school.

Common Accommodations

The following accommodations and classroom adaptations are a list of suggested accommodations, but are not comprehensive or exhaustive, nor will all accommodations listed be necessary in all cases. Other accommodations may be implemented based on the individual needs of each student as recommended by your campus Disability Services Office or other professionals.

Common Characteristics of a Student with Dyslexia Commonly Suggested Accommodations/Classroom Adaptations
Slow, hesitant, laborious reading. The use of reading software 1 by student and during study and test situations. Quiet surroundings are optimal.
Reading comprehension is slower than would be expected. Extra time during tests.
Allow more time to read material.
Reduced course load.
Use of reading software facilitated by instructors who can post readings well in advance of deadlines.
Errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation. Extra time and use of word processing and spell check software during tests.
Disorganization of ideas. Use of mind mapping software for studying, essay planning, and during tests.
Needs to focus on oral explanation of class material. Use of a note taker.
May need to review material taught in class to ensure comprehension. Use of a tutor.
Strong oral skills. Oral exams in consultation with instructor.
Need to review material several times to ensure understanding. Instructor provides course notes and slide presentations in advance.
Need to re-listen to lecture. Voice recorder (with instructor’s permission).
  • 1. The use of reading software is greatly facilitated by instructors identifying course materials well ahead of the start of the semester. Under Copyright Law, publishers must provide a student with a disability with an alternative format text. Universities and colleges may apply to the publisher for what is called “e-text” or a PDF version of the textbook for use with specialized software.