News, Curriculum

Bringing Awareness to Dyslexia

In recognition of Dyslexia Awareness Month this October, here is an overview of the condition, its challenges, and how Progress Learning can help teachers, parents, and students access the accommodations needed to achieve academic success.

What is dyslexia?

In the past, people with dyslexia were often misunderstood as there was limited information about what Dyslexia is and how it works. With the development of brain scan technology, scientists have discovered that dyslexia isn’t related to effort or intelligence at all, but rather stems from a genetic difference in the wiring of the brain. 

Dyslexia is a common language-based learning disability that affects approximately 5-15% of Americans. It can affect both oral and written language learning, but it typically causes difficulties in reading, writing, and spelling. More specifically, dyslexic students struggle with decoding words accurately and fluently. While there is no cure for the condition, with proper support and accommodations, those affected can still be successful in school and as working adults later on in life.

Research shows that with early diagnosis and intervention, dyslexic students can learn to read and write well. Since the disability is characterized by a deficit in phonology, these students benefit the most from focused instruction in decoding skills. Furthermore, instead of the traditional guided reading approach, they need a more structured, customized literacy approach in which they are systematically and explicitly taught the structure of language through sound-syllable associations, morphology, syntax, and semantics.

How Do Accommodations Help Dyslexic Students?

Like most students with disabilities, students with dyslexia face many barriers when it comes to accessing information and demonstrating what they know due to factors such as their learning environment, their schedule, or the way the material is presented. Educators can help break down these barriers by providing dyslexic students with proper accommodations during instruction and assessments.

It’s important to note that accommodations do not change the information that students are expected to master, but instead change how that information is presented to them and/or how they show what they have learned. For example, to help dyslexic students during a history lesson, they may be presented with the information through verbal directions, use text-to-audio conversion, or receive more reading support through larger font, highlighted text, or less information per page. To limit distractions, they could be taught in smaller groups or one-on-one. During an assessment, they may be permitted to mark their answers in the test booklet instead of on a separate answer sheet, dictate their answers, or use keyboards to type their answers instead of writing them by hand. In addition, they may be given extended time or a more flexible testing schedule.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in the use of multiple learning environments, such as online learning, hybrid learning, and flipped classrooms. As a result, there is an even greater need for accommodations for students to succeed in these diverse learning environments. Fortunately, the increase in digital learning has made it easier to accommodate dyslexic students with easy-to-use, built-in online tools and resources, such as text-to-speech capabilities, highlighting and drawing tools, response masking, and options for larger fonts or audio-delivered directions. 

What Accommodations Does Progress Learning Offer?

Here at Progress Learning, our mission is to make education equitable and accessible to all K-12 students across the country, regardless of background or ability. Our online platform offers built-in accommodations such as those mentioned above and provides teachers with a number of instructional and interventionist strategies. Most importantly, it enables teachers to deliver individualized, standards-based study plans and assessments by making it easy for them to assign different grade level content and assignments to each student, as well as enable or disable their accommodations.
In addition to our accessible tools and products, we take pride in the support and guidance that we provide our teachers.

To learn more about how to use our accommodations, click here.

Interested in learning more about how Progress Learning can support all students? Request a Demo with us.

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