Do those words sound silly? Offensive? If your child wears glasses to see, would this statement made by a teacher get your blood pumping?
I’ve worn glasses to see at a distance since 3rd grade, and I can tell you no one has ever told me to take them off. No one told my mother that they were cheating or that they are worried I might “grow dependent” on them. In fact, it was the SCHOOL that recommended to my mother that she may want to get my eyes checked.
So, why do people to say this about the tools our students with dyslexia need to access grade-level content?
I’m talking mostly about audiobooks here.
For a student with moderate to profound dyslexia, audiobooks are a game changer. In nearly all cases (unless there is something comorbid), students with dyslexia can understand grade-level content. They just struggle to ACCESS it.
When I was growing up, struggling readers were often forced to repeat a grade. Sometimes they were forced to repeat several grades. Or they were placed in the “special” room all day long to be taught 1+1=2 while everyone else moved onto Alegebra. This meant that, due to a reading struggle, they were also getting behind in every.single.subject.
It’s was so bad, in fact, that many of those same kids (who are now adults) refuse to send their own children to public school due to the memories of how they actually were left behind.
With today’s technology, it does not have to be that way anymore. Our kids with LD can attend the same classes as their peers. They can learn the same science, social studies, history, math, and yes even English Language Arts, right alongside their peers, if we just give them ACCESS.
Why would anyone NOT??
Now, don’t get me wrong here. Our kids absolutely do and should still be getting appropriate reading intervention help. That help should always be structured and explicit in nature such as an Orton-Gillingham based program.
BUT, they should never EVER be held to their reading level in all subjects solely due to dyslexia. Nor should they become DEPENDENT on a teacher reading everything to them when they have the tools of INDEPENDENCE right at their fingertips!
I’m not just saying this. I’m living it. Currently, my middle schooler who has severe dyslexia is in all general education courses, even ELA, and doing WELL. Our school is pretty large, and so luckily they do have the resources to provide an extra hour of specialized reading intervention per day. We actually moved, and stay, in this district for this reason. He can read, but due to his dyslexia, he gets tired faster than other kids. It’s a greater struggle. So, he has AT. In all of his classes from math to Spanish (yes Spanish) to science, he uses assistive tech to keep up with the 6th-grade content. There is no excuse for him not to! He does this independently, without a teacher or another student having to read everything to him, and he’s learning.
He is not being held back solely due to a reading struggle. He is learning WHILE still working on reading.
That is the entire point of school.