Resources for Dyslexic Students

Students with dyslexia face unique challenges that can be difficult for anyone unfamiliar with the condition to understand. This language-based learning disability typically involves interpreting letters and words, therefore affecting one’s ability to read. Because reading is crucial to a person’s education, dyslexic students generally find completing assignments, test-taking, and related academic activities to be a daily challenge. But certain strategies can help dyslexic students to succeed, and heeding the right tips can prove beneficial for students regardless of whether they are in high school or enrolled in college and working toward their degree.

Be Smart About How You Use Your Time

For people with dyslexia, the smart use of time has a significant impact on their ability to successfully do the work assigned. Whether they’re taking a test or completing homework, people should allow themselves extra time to fully understand the task at hand. As a result, people may need to adjust some of their previous behaviors. To accomplish this:

  • Make large projects more manageable by breaking them up into smaller tasks. To ensure that the entire project is completed in a timely fashion, assign a due date to each of the pieces of the project.
  • Don’t rush assignments and risk missing some important aspect.
  • Prioritize all assignments, first by due date and then by complexity.
  • Be proactive on down days by studying for upcoming tests or by getting a head start on upcoming assignments.
  • Create outlines for complex assignments. Plan out each step necessary to complete the task and how long it might take.
  • Avoid overextending yourself on an assignment. Make the effort to do your best, but don’t try to do more than what is actually needed to complete the assignment.
  • When faced with a reading assignment, scan it in advance for words that are problematic and discuss any issues with the instructor.
  • Request tests that are short-essay-based when possible. Multiple-choice questions can cause difficulties in visual tracking in people who are dyslexic.

Take Advantage of Simple Aids

  • Break down study content into small, digestible chunks and use this information to create flashcards. Flash cards are a simple way to study and can be taken anywhere.
  • Choose a study location that has few distractions.
  • In areas where audio distractions are unavoidable, use noise-canceling headphones to block the sound or use earplugs.
  • Make visual aids such as color-coding, highlighting, diagrams, or symbols a part of the learning process.

Take Advantage of Technology

  • Use PowerPoint as a study tool by turning study materials into a presentation. If possible, use the automatic speech option to read the presentation out loud.
  • Don’t write assignments by hand; instead, a person with dyslexia should use a word processing program that will make it easier to focus and make any edits.
  • Use dictation. One can purchase dictation software or use the dictation feature in a word processing program.
  • Review completed work by reading it out loud. A cell phone or some other recording device can be used to record the reading for easy replay, which can make it easier to identify problems in the work.
  • Sign up for one or more audiobook services. Parents may need to subscribe to these services for younger students.
  • For reading assignments, listen to the audiobook and read the hard copy simultaneously.
  • Use electronic devices such as computers, tablets, or laptops to read documents, notes, and other materials out loud.
  • Purchase and use the Livescribe Smartpen to take notes during classes. This pen records what is being said and written. This information can be transferred to a computer at a later time for playback and review. The pen can also play back only a specific section of one’s notes or play recordings back at different speeds.

Seek Help When Needed

  • Turn to outside sources for help with writing papers. College students may ask parents or other family members, instructors, or their peers for assistance in working out ideas and putting them down on paper. Students may also seek assistance with coursework or specific assignments from campus writing centers.
  • Clarify topics and assignments with teachers.
  • Study with fellow students and discuss shared lectures.
  • Ask instructors for extra time when taking tests, starting off with twice as much time as one thinks they need.

Understand the Power of Dyslexia

  • Having dyslexia requires time-management skills that can be beneficial in all areas of life, not just studying.
  • People who are dyslexic can use their success stories to inspire others who are living with the same condition.
  • Exercising patience can prevent people from rushing through tests and projects, which can ultimately help students retain information better and achieve better results.