Regardless of the learning environment, advocacy is an essential component of educating students with learning differences. Dyslexic students and their parents often need to understand and express their unique educational requirements to ensure they get the best support. And although advocacy is important, it is not always easy! Parents of students with learning differences may feel intimidated or uncomfortable when advocating for their child, but they are setting an excellent example for all children to be vocal about what they need to succeed in and out of the classroom. Read below to learn more about advocating for a dyslexic student through online and in-person learning.
Work collaboratively with educators.
Parents know their children best, and they can often provide valuable insights to educators on what is most effective for that student in the classroom. As parents collaborate with their child’s teacher to ensure the student gets the help they need, their child learns what is critical to their academic journey. Eventually, students with learning differences like dyslexia can recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and advocate for themselves directly to the teacher.
With in-person learning, working collaboratively with teachers takes place in regular meeting settings and can include reviews of individual learning plans such as 504 plans or individualized education plans (IEPs) to cover the child’s progress across subjects. In online learning situations, it may be more challenging for teachers and parents to stay on the same page. Parents and educators should do their best to remain organized when it comes to progress reports and prioritize regular online meetings, so the entire support team stays informed and involved in the student’s success.
Become familiar with available accommodations.
Remaining aware of and asking for available accommodations is one of the most useful ways parents can advocate for their dyslexic student. These accommodations include anything from extra time on a test to assistive technologies that allow students to dictate a writing assignment or have passages read aloud. With the help of advancing technology and expanded dyslexia awareness, more schools and educators are able to implement these helpful accommodations so dyslexic students can learn and enjoy their time in class.
It is often easier for parents to advocate for their student in terms of accommodations when there are opportunities for in-person interactions. In these situations, educators can see first-hand the value of accommodations, and students can clearly express how they are benefitting in the classroom. When learning at a distance, parents and students may need to be more vocal about the need for accommodations through a 504 plan, IEP, or other learning plan which children are still entitled to when learning online.
Don’t underestimate your voice.
No educational environment is perfect, but students and parents can make a difference in their lives and their community through advocacy. By respectfully educating others about the challenges that students with learning differences face during in-person and online school, parents improve the educational experiences of their own children and future students. For example, State Bill (SB) 10 in Georgia provides a Special Needs Scholarship Program, which helps students with learning differences attend a public or private school that focuses on their particular needs. Whether on an individual scale or in the wider community, advocates for students with learning differences like dyslexia can make a difference when they speak up.
At The Dyslexia Resource, we support all advocates who work to spread awareness and improve the lives of individuals with dyslexia and other learning differences. In everything we do, we hope to focus on the most important issues within the dyslexic community and make a real difference in the lives of struggling readers in and out of the classroom. Learn more about our teacher training courses, online resources, and opportunities for community outreach, or contact The Dyslexia Resource today!