Are you a Dyslexia friendly school? The Top Ten Checklist

1.     Think about visual noise

It is lovely to have lots and lots of displays around of students work. Or helpful posters and reminders about spelling.  Think about where these are displayed.  Having lots of posters/work around the board is added visual noise.  It distracts from the board.  Don’t have lots of displays around notice boards or signposts in the schools. Simple and clear makes it easier. 

2.     Don’t ask students to read aloud

I know. Everyone knows this one, except I still hear of it happening. Or the rest of the class is asked to read aloud and it’s obvious who isn’t. Ask for volunteers.

3.     Ensure Dyslexia students are not barred from high sets

If a student is orally capable of a higher set standard of work they should be in the higher sets.  Not being able to read or write because of Dyslexia should not be a bar to higher sets.

4.     Encourage Assistive Technology to be used

Allow assistive technology to be used. There are a wealth of paid for and free apps and technologies.  These can mean complete independent learning for dyslexic students.  It also prepares them for life after school.

5.     Support for lack of organisational skills

Dyslexia students are likely to be dis-organised, to expect anything else is unrealistic (similar to expecting my kids to have a tidy room).  Put in place support, reminders, spare kit etc to allow for this disorganisation.  Assistive technology can also help here with reminder alarms.

6.     Make sure students are recognised for verbal contributions

Dyslexia doesn’t affect intelligence, and often Dyslexic students can think outside the box.  Could you accept homework recorded as an MP3? Could make marking a little less boring for you as well!

7.     Have agreed visual clues

Do you have students who you know struggle to understand directions or content the first time, but they don’t like to ask you to repeat it? Have a visual clue that only you and they know, e.g. scratching their nose or pulling their ear.  You can then say, “let me just repeat that to make sure you’ve got it.” I am sure there will be other students who will benefit as well and the student won’t feel stupid.

8.     Students are praised for positive qualities

Dyslexic students very often only hear negatives about their ability.  We must appreciate the whole child.  Positive qualities must be recognised and valued. 

9.     Does not miss out on any activities

Can Dyslexic students access all your after-school clubs?  If not, why not? Many great actors are Dyslexic so that should not be a barrier to drama club. Half of NASA’s employees are Dyslexic so STEM activities stimulate Dyslexic students

10.  Create understanding amongst other students

It is important that other students understand Dyslexia as a learning difference.  That there is a reason why they do some things differently, or use technology in class.