Supporting Students with Dyslexia

Supporting Students With Dyslexia During Annual Awareness Month
Posted on 10/27/2021

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, and during October for Dyslexia Awareness Month, the School District works to inform the community about information and resources available to students with dyslexia.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Students with dyslexia typically have difficulties with reading, spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment. 

Misconceptions About Dyslexia

1. Individuals with dyslexia write “backwards.”

In actuality, their writing can look jumbled at times because students have trouble remembering letter symbols for sounds and letter patterns in words. This is because dyslexia is a language-based disorder resulting from how the brain processes sounds.

2. Students with dyslexia have a disease and can be cured.

There is no cure for dyslexia and individuals with the condition benefit from learning coping strategies. With proper support and timely instruction, students with dyslexia can succeed in school.

3. Students with dyslexia have a lower level of intelligence.

Research indicates that dyslexia has no relationship to intelligence. Individuals with dyslexia are not more or less intelligent than the general population.

People with dyslexia can face difficulty in the following areas:

• Learning to speak.
• Spelling, learning letters and their sounds.
• Organizing written and spoken language.
• Persistence and comprehension of longer reading assignments.
• Reading quickly enough to comprehend.
• Learning another language.

• Correctly doing math operations.
• Memorizing number facts.

Not all students who have difficulties with the above skills have dyslexia.

Problem Solving for Students Exhibiting Reading Difficulties

It is important that every student receives high-quality intensive reading instruction that includes all aspects of reading. Even with quality instruction, if a student struggles to meet proficiency, the District will provide additional and more targeted support. Progress monitoring is key and will drive instruction across all levels of support. 

The District supports evidence and research-based strategies for instruction. With these problem-solving processes, some students may be determined for accommodations through a 504 Plan or for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with accommodations and services based on their individual needs. 

Currently, the state of Florida does not have an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) eligibility category of dyslexia. Instead, some students are determined to have the ESE eligibility of Specific Learning Disabled which can include, but does not always mean, students with characteristics of dyslexia. 

Accommodations and Strategies

Accommodations and instructional strategies can be provided to students who are demonstrating characteristics of dyslexia. This will include support from families who will work closely with the school-based team to formulate an individualized plan. 

Examples of accommodations that can be provided in the classroom during assignments are to break larger assignments into smaller assignments and to allow the student sufficient time to read and comprehend material. 

During instruction in the classroom, students with characteristics of dyslexia may benefit from the use of multisensory instructional practices and multi-modal methods when new material is presented, graphic or visual organizers, and illustrations with informational text.

Instructional strategies can also be provided to students in content areas. This can include assigning peer reading buddies, reviewing vocabulary prior to reading, use of a keyboard when appropriate, using a graphic organizer, providing grid paper to line up math problems, and presenting information in small increments.

Please note that instructional strategies are encouraged in the classroom, but specific individual accommodations for classroom or assessment settings would not be available unless the student has a 504 plan or IEP in place. 

Parents are asked to reach out to their school’s SBT Coordinator, 504 Designee, or ESE Contact with questions applicable to their child.

Additional dyslexia resources: Dyslexia in the Classroom
The School District of Palm Beach County