Is your school dyslexia friendly? Here’s a checklist

Last Updated on September 21, 2022 by Editorial Team

Senator Chuck Grassley once said, “What makes a child gifted and talented may not always be good grades in school, but a different way of looking at the world and learning.” This quote holds so true. Just look at some of the most successful people living right now, who have beaten the belief that grades are everything. Grading is just a check on your grip on the topic. It doesn’t necessarily have to define the destiny of your academic road. Practicing what you love will actually define your future prospects, and school plays an important role in achieving that.

It is the duty of the school to let a child explore the inner strength and use it to put his/her impact on society. Several real-life instances made it evident that children with learning disorders, such as dyslexia and dyscalculia too have a special gift and talent. In many cases, this may left be unexplored as we are stuck with orthodox views on the education system. That’s really really unfortunate.

What should you look for?

There are a couple of things which one should keep in mind while deciding a school for their child especially if their child is struggling with dyslexia or any other learning disorders.

Find the checkpoint where the child usually lacks and put extra effort for him or her to work on it

Special evaluation for the progress of the dyslexic child and giving regular feedback to the parents.

The end goal in such cases should be that the child suffering from dyslexia feels comfortable while going to school and sitting in a class. He/She must feel inclusive while in the classroom.

Focusing on what the child likes, and letting him or her explore it. Teacher must welcome the view of the child and participate in the discussion for taking to another level for career prospects.

mark up standards for a school to be declared dyslexia friendly

Checklist for dyslexia friendly school

In order for a school to achieve the ‘Dyslexia Friendly’ tag, there is an official document on it that the school must follow. Here is the pdf on the markup standards and eligibility criteria for accreditation. School’s inclusiveness towards dyslexia pupils is easily observable if they are incorporating the practice as discussed below.

Check if

  • Classrooms in the school are spacious clean and the whiteboard is easily visible
  • The classroom interior should be designed as such to produce a conducive environment for the child and there is the least chance of getting distracted.
  • Special resources for the student such as colored overlays, Mind maps, flow charts, etc. are readily available for use
  • Dyslexic students are usually seated in the front of the class
  • Key information is repeated and emphasized during the class. Colored coded information for keywords is used.
  • Visual learning is emphasized in the class for example media video clips and images are used regularly in teaching
  • Graphical representation of the topic is emphasized, such as mind maps, flow charts, and PowerPoint presentations are encouraged
  • Colour coded information is used to represent different topics

What makes schools ‘Dyslexia Friendly’?

British Dyslexia Association has the official document for the guidelines required to meet the ‘Dyslexia Status’. It could be obtained from the pdf on their site. Majorly, there are four areas that the school needs to work on.

1. School attitude towards learning disorder and its management capability

It’s very important that the School actually recognizes what dyslexia is. By that, we mean not just on paper but on actual practice as well. While making development plans for the school, assistance for dyslexic kids should also be taken care of. Achieving ‘Dyslexia Friendly’ status should one of the targets of the school. It should be reflected in their work easily as well. The key policy document of the school should clearly define the guidelines for meeting the needs of the pupils with dyslexia.

Management and staff personnel should promote the dyslexia friendly practice to meet the needs of the students having issues in the classroom. Management should opt for special school awareness training for dyslexia and other similar learning disorders. The staff should be equipped with enough knowledge to prepare a well-planned strategy including the allocation of suitable resources, tools, practice for providing support to the dyslexic students.

2. Quality of learning provided

This area focuses on the quality of the teaching being provided in the school. Teachers and staff must have appropriate qualifications and training in dealing with a child with dyslexia. In school, It would be expected that there will be at least one member of staff within a school who has achieved a specialist qualification in dyslexia or SpLD. Teaching styles should create an environment where the cognitive abilities of the dyslexia child are taken into account. The biggest issue with dyslexia is that it remains undiagnosed in most of the cases.

child reading in an education class

Special educators are expected to pick the indicators that may possibly signals dyslexia in a child in the early stages. They are expected to schedule a special in-class intervention and programs of support. Further, they must know when to refer for extra support. Teachers must know where to access the resources (such as Mindmapping, OCR) for dyslexia and how to use them for optimal results.

A multisensory teaching approach must be followed. Multi-sensory means that all parts of the brain are being stimulated at the same time, allowing the stronger senses to overcompensate for the weaker senses. Lastly, the most important and i.e. thorough evaluation and assessment of the performance of the child.

3. Classroom environment

The classroom learning climate must be conducive to the child. He or She must feel comfortable going to the classroom. School anxiety is quite prominent in a dyslexic child due to a comparative environment. A child with dyslexia usually demoralizes him/herself while comparing to peers.

classroom environment for dyslexic pupil

Its the duty of the Teacher to make such an environment that boosts the self-esteem of the child. The equal individual attention of the teacher is the key here. Children must be encouraged to participate in classroom activities. They must be praised for effort and achievement. Group activities and learning to be encouraged. Teachers must be well versed in dealing with the situation of harassment or bullying. Effective measures must be made to stop it forever.

Participating with parents on development plans of their child

School took measures to partner with the parents or the guardian of the child to develop an intervention strategy. Schools must be proactive and communicate with parents as soon as any concerns are raised.

Teachers must communicate with parents to let them understand dyslexia and the basis on which the dyslexia friendly school teaches and supports their child. Being in contact to report them about the progress and performance of the child. Concerns of parents must be well taken care of. Appropriate measures to deal with complaints from parents side. The teacher must work with parents on the emotional and behavioral issues of the child.

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