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Help Your Student Find the Right College Academic ProgramGuest Contributor
Did you know approximately one in five students has dyslexia? If you support a student with dyslexia who is college-bound, they can thrive in higher education with:
I have coached students with dyslexia through all four years of college and share below my advice, tips and resources for you to support the student in your life with an amazing dyslexic brain!
Based on my experience as an executive functioning coach and faculty, here are some common barriers to success of college students with dyslexia:
Encourage your student to practice using a visual calendar now to keep track of their responsibilities during the week (chores, events with friends, homework assignments/long-term projects, etc.).
This is a universal design tool that helps ALL students improve their executive functioning skills (organization, planning & prioritization).
To assist with communication with professors, I recommend role playing potentially uncomfortable conversations. I have found role playing with real-world scenarios to be a very effective strategy.
For example, pretend you are a professor sitting at a desk in their office and have your student practice “walking into the office.” Try two or three different greetings from the professor and have your student respond.
As the “professor,” interact in different ways and practice how your student can advocate for themselves in different scenarios and conversations.
Writing and editing skills can be supported by introducing students to assistive technology tools before they get to college. Click here for a mini poster with links to specific AT tools for students with dyslexia created by NEAT (New England Assistive Technology).
An example of an AT tool that can assist with writing is a speech-to-text tool found in Google Docs called Google Voice (in Google Docs click on Tools, then scroll down to Voice Typing — it’s free!). Some of my students don’t realize they can speak their essays with their voice instead of typing with their fingers. I use voice dictation with my phone all the time — this is another universal AT tool that ALL OF US can use!
Remind students that in college they will have options about the type of textbook they buy. Students can buy a hardcover “hold in your hands” textbook, electronic textbook to read on the screen or listen to an audio book.
In my experience, students don’t realize they have options! If your student avoids reading a physical textbook but likes to listen to stories, remind them that this is an option in college.
Did you know Bookshare is an online library of audiobooks for students with reading disabilities and barriers such as dyslexia? Check it out!
The International Dyslexia Association provides many informative resources on their website for families and professionals. In particular, I like their infographics and fact sheets which represent statistics and questions in an easy to understand and visually appealing format.
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