5 Things Your Middle-Schooler With Dyslexia Can Say to Self-Advocate

By Amanda Morin
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Middle school can be a tough time for kids with dyslexia. Your child probably doesn’t want to feel singled out, so it’s important that he build self-advocacy skills to get what he needs. Rehearsing common situations with your child can help him 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, but 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 she calls on me.”

Your child can say to the teacher later: “Can we choose the section you want me 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 for me and it’s taking me longer than I expected. Is there an audiobook for this that I can follow along with?”

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’m having 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 telling your child he can 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 upset about having an incomplete.”

Your child can say to his IEP team: “Can you make sure all the teachers know about my accommodations?”

About the Author

About the Author

Amanda Morin 

worked as a classroom teacher and as an early intervention specialist for 10 years. She is the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education. Two of her children have learning differences.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Mark J. Griffin, PhD 

was the founding headmaster of Eagle Hill School, a school for children with specific learning disabilities.

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