Middle school can be a tough time for all kids. And kids with dyslexia don’t want to feel singled out. It’s important to build self-advocacy skills to help them get what they need. Rehearsing common situations can help kids know where to start.
1. “Can I do part of this later?”
The situation: The coach says, “You need to sit down and fill out these forms before you can play.”
Your child can take the coach aside and say: “It may take me a little longer to read them. Can I work on it at home tonight, and still play today?”
Your child can say to you: “Coach wouldn’t let me play today because I couldn’t get the forms filled out. Can you talk to him about it?”
2. “Can you help me prep for reading aloud?”
The situation: Your child doesn’t feel comfortable reading aloud but doesn’t know how to tell the teacher.
Your child can say to you: “I need some help figuring out what to tell the teacher when I’m called on.”
Your child can say to the teacher later: “Can we choose the section I’m going to read out loud before next reading time? I can practice it and be prepared.”
3. “Is there an audiobook?”
The situation: The teacher says to the class: “By now you all should have read the book that you’ll be basing your projects on. If not, please make sure you do.”
Your child can say to the teacher at the end of class: “That’s a tough book and it’s taking me longer than I expected. Is there an audiobook version I can use?”
Your child can say to you: “Can we read this book together? It’s too hard for me, but I don’t want to be the only kid who hasn’t read it.”
4. “Can I get a copy of the teacher’s notes?”
The situation: Your child couldn’t finish copying all the notes on the board before the bell rang.
Your child can say to the teacher at the end of class: “I couldn’t read fast enough to get the notes down. Do you have a copy I can take home with me?”
Your child can say to you or the IEP team: “I have trouble copying the notes from the board. Can we add something to my learning plan that says I can get a copy ahead of time or after class?”
5. “Can we set up a time to talk about this?”
The situation: The teacher doesn’t remember that your child has the option to do a video book report instead of an essay and marks it as incomplete.
Your child can say to the teacher at the end of class: “Can we set up a time to talk about this? I remember us talking about how I could do this report differently. I’m worried about having an incomplete.”
Your child can say to his IEP team: “How can we make sure all the teachers know about my accommodations?”
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About the author
About the author
Amanda Morin is the director of thought leadership at Understood and author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.” She worked as a classroom teacher and early intervention specialist for more than a decade.
Mark J. Griffin, PhD was the founding headmaster of Eagle Hill School, a school for children with specific learning disabilities.