Dyslexia Overview for Secondary Staff 2018-19


Welcome to the Dyslexia Overview video
designed for middle and high school staffs. I’m John Waters, director of the
St. Louis Regional Professional Development Center.This video was
created by the St. Louis RPDC to fill a need for professional development
about dyslexia for secondary staff. We’re delighted to share this video with you
and staffs throughout Missouri. We hope it is a valuable learning experience for
this important work to help students with dyslexia succeed. This video is
intended to be a two-hour experience with learning about dyslexia, processing
and reflection time built in to the experience.The purpose of the video is
to learn more about dyslexia including an overview, definitions, characteristic
brain research, screening, accommodations and interventions, and a featured piece
on assistive technology. The expected outcomes for this experience are to
understand what dyslexia is and is not, to be able identify characteristics of
dyslexia, to determine what accommodations would help students with
dyslexia at the secondary level, and to think about some interventions that
would be helpful to them. For more in-depth information there are several
documents on the DESE website under dyslexia including the DESE guidance
document that includes more information on screening, on accommodations, on
professional development, and several appendices that might be helpful to you. In addition there are several other documents including the professional
development options, frequently asked questions, and the screening organizer. Before we discuss the definitions and characteristics take a few minutes to
jot down your ideas about what Dyslexia is you can include what you think the
definition is, or characteristics, or anything that you can think of about
Dyslexia. At this point we want to talk a little
bit about what Dyslexia actually is. You will see Dyslexia referred to as a
specific learning disability, however at this point we do need to make sure that
everyone understands that Dyslexia is, not all students with Dyslexia will end
up being students with disabilities under IDEA, so not all of the kids who
get identified in screening as having some kind of difficulty with reading, not
all of those kids are going to end up being kids in the special education
program. We’ll talk just a little bit more about that in a second, but you also
need to know that Dyslexia is neurobiological in origin. There is
definitely some kind of different activity that goes on in the brains of
students who exhibit these types of characteristics and it’s not just a
choice that they make, there truly is something neurobiological going on. There’s a lot of brain research that has been done in the last 20 years to
indicate that. It is characterized by difficulty with accurate or fluent word
recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. So think for a second
about students that you’ve had who don’t read very fluently they when they read
out loud it’s choppy or by the kids who have poor spelling, those are kids who
probably would fall onto the Dyslexia spectrum in some way shape or form. They
typically have difficulties from what we call a deficit in the phonological
component of language. So it is a language based disorder. They have
difficulties that are unexpected in relation to what it seems like their
cognitive ability should be and what they probably should be able to do. So
these are the kids in your classroom who seem very bright who if you talk to them,
can talk about lots of topics, they have lots of interests, they have–they can
tell you about lots of things, but when it comes to actually having to read or
to do written language kinds of tasks or activities, they struggle. It also carries some other consequences. Reading
comprehension. Dyslexia is a disability in basically decoding words,
understanding those parts of language and when you can’t decode at a fluent
rate especially at the secondary level, it is absolutely going to affect your
reading comprehension. So you will see that in as a secondary consequence for
most kids that have difficulty with that masks that Dyslexia kind of, those
Dyslexia symptoms. They’re going to have probably a lower vocabulary ability
again, for the same reason, when you struggle to read you don’t read very
much and therefore your vocabulary may be diminished. Your ability to understand
words may be diminished as a result of that. So those are some of the secondary
consequences that you are going to see. Dyslexia is difficulty with that
phonological processes of language. If we look at, just it break down the word
“dyslexia” we come up with the the prefix “dys” dys, means difficulty, and “lexia” the
word “Lexia” means language, so clearly even the word itself tells you that that
students who struggle with these types of issues have difficulty with language. They have difficulty processing and manipulating all of these the the pieces
and the parts that go into language.Like oral language, they might they might turn
things around when they say them, they may not say them exactly in the right
context or the right stream that you might think they should. They have very
much difficulty hearing the sounds of words if you break words apart, “k” “at”
for the word “cat” they may have difficulty hearing the beginning middle
or end of that word. They have obviously those things play out when
you’re trying to learn to read because reading is based in the phonological
processes and so they’re going to have difficulty with that, which also as mentioned before shows up in written expression and spelling. If you can’t
hear the sounds of the word, it’s going to be very difficult to spell the word
as it sounds so they’re gonna have some difficulty with that. As mentioned in the
definition Dyslexia is neurobiological in origin so the slide that you’re
looking at on the screen where it represents the brain, depicts what has to
happen in anyone’s brain in order for reading to take place you can see all
the different colors, all the different pathways, all the different things, that
have to work together. You have to have access to vocabulary meaning, you have to
have visual parts of the brain triggering at the same time, you have to
have the language parts of the brain triggering, you have to have the hearing
part of your brain, all triggering at the same time, in order for reading to
actually take place. So again as mentioned it is neurobiological and you
get a disruption in any one of those pathways and you are going to struggle
to read. There is brain research out there, PET scans available, all kinds of
imaging available to show that students who struggle with reading actually do
have differences that are occurring in those neuron firings and those synapses
that are taking place in their brain. So this is real, it’s not something that
kids make up, it’s not kids being lazy, this is a real thing that happens for a
number of kids, actually more kids than probably anyone realizes at this point. The characteristics of students with Dyslexia come from the definition. So if
you look at this slide of elementary characteristics, you’ll notice that on
the left side of the slide are a lot of characteristics you would typically see
in younger children or students in elementary school, so things like not
being able to tie their shoes or tell time or delayed speech, some of those are
much more characteristics of younger students. However if you look at the
right side of the slide, many of those characteristics carry on into middle
school and high school. So for example students will still have trouble
following multi-step directions learning new vocabulary, retrieving
words, memorizing things, processing speed, and working memory can still be major
issues for students in middle school and high school. Some of the characteristics
that you will notice in secondary students that are unique, maybe to
middle school and high school students, are difficulty decoding multi-syllabic
words, so words that have many syllables that are common in most content area
classes, many times they need to read text many times for comprehension as
was mentioned earlier, fluency can be a problem so if you’re not fluent when you
read sometimes you have to read the same sentence over and over to even get the
meaning. Oftentimes another characteristic is distinguishing what’s
important. They’ll either tell you that nothing was important at a lecture or
everything was important in a lecture, but that also carries in to reading, not
just listening, in that they may have trouble figuring out where the main
ideas and details, you know, just what’s important to remember from anything. So
that also carries in to poor memory for facts, dates, names, difficulty summarizing,
paraphrasing, making inferences. And then many times what you’ll notice is their
written expression really shows a lot of problems so it can be spelling, editing,
mechanics, just you know, overall poor written expression like much lower level
than you would expect especially from talking to them or hearing them talk in
class and you see what they write and it just looks dramatically lower level than
you would expect. If you ask them to read it aloud in class they will often read
in a choppy manner or they just are very reluctant to ever read aloud, they’ll get
out try to get out of it in any way they can. And then also other work test scores
and other work don’t match their verbal expression. In addition to the academic
characteristics you will also notice a lot of social emotional behavioral kinds
of characteristics particularly as students, if they don’t get enough
intervention, or they don’t get enough assistance they will become pre-learned helpless or learned hopeless so you may see declining or already declined
stamina, motivation, persistence, you may also see behaviors that are really kind
of coping behaviors, they clown around in class, they distract others, they are
reluctant to even begin a task, or do a task, and it can even manifest itself in
depression and hopelessness and a lot of those coping characteristics can make
them seem like they’re doing fine like they’re charming and funny and you know
just have different personality characteristics that make them seem like
they’re doing fine, but that’s really just to mask all the difficulty that
they are having. Students with dyslexia also exhibit some relative, to very good
strengths, that we need to be, as teachers, paying close attention to. Very often
these kids have great verbal skills, they are good out-of-the-box thinkers, they’re
good problem solvers, they have great people skills, they are creative,
they’re musical, they’re talented in many other ways, they
are often gifted in math, in other kinds of technical skills, in some of the
mechanical or computing skills. We need to be sure that we’re paying attention
to those skills for these kids who struggle with reading because these are
the kinds of things that will keep them interested in school and so it’s
important that we pay attention to the things that they do well, and very often
those are the skills that will keep them motivated to come to school. It’s
important to note that one in five kids are somewhere on that Dyslexia spectrum. It works just like all other kinds of disorders that we might see in society,
where you have kids who fall in all different areas you will have kids who
will fall on that very light end of the spectrum, who will show a little bit of
of weakness in some of the reading areas and then you’re going to have kids who
fall all the way on the other side of that spectrum, who are very very
definitely impaired with all of the weaknesses and all of the issues that
are going on with them in this world of Dyslexia. The majority of the kids who exhibit those characteristics are not going to be kids
who qualify for special education.You’re going to have maybe the last fourth of
that spectrum that are actually going to qualify and you’re going to have the
rest of that spectrum who are going to be in your classrooms and who are going
to need some kind of support in order to be able to access the information to
access education in the best way possible. So it’s important for all of us to understand that that’s our jobs as
teachers. A Dyslexic brain works like a jigsaw
puzzle, not everything fits together to make a seamless picture. It looks mostly
correct but not quite.When I spell a word, the letters might be out of order or I’m
using a wrong letter. When I hear the word finger I hear “th” not an “f.” When a
teacher gives me an assignment I can only read about 75% other words right. It takes me twice as long to read the words than my classmates. It’s hard for
me to scan the sheet to look for the answers. So as you know one in five kids
have some types of Dyslexia. It is more where the brain has a hard time
attaching meaning to a letter, so when you’re hearing a sound you don’t attach
that meaning to a letter to create a word and then backwards to look at
words in order to make sounds to understand what you’re reading. So it
makes it very difficult for the kids to break that code and so it’s important to
teach them a little bit differently how to do that. OK, now it’s time for you guys to do a little bit of reflection. Find a partner,
or if you’re at tables with not more than about five people, then use your
whole table to talk about these questions. How are your perceptions of what Dyslexia is now, compared to what you
knew or thought about before? So given all the information that we’ve just gone
through, what’s changed your thought about what Dyslexia actually is or maybe
it didn’t change your thought. Just have a quick conversation with the people at
your table about those kinds of things. The second thing we’d like to talk to
you we’d like you to talk about is can you think of any students you have or
have had in your classes who may have exhibited these characteristics of
Dyslexia, and as a side to that, what did you do about that? What were any
accommodations or things that maybe you yourself put in place because you
noticed that the kids were struggling? So quickly, at your tables have a conversation about those two questions. One of the best ways to understand
Dyslexia is to actually experience what it might be like to have some of the
characteristics. So in this simulation we’re going to ask you to do several
things. You’ll need a piece of paper and a pencil or pen and you’ll need to
follow the directions that I’m going to give you. First you’re going to write
some sentences with your non-dominant hand, so whichever hand is not dominant
for you that’s the hand you’re going to use and I’m going to dictate the
sentences to you. Ready? Here’s your first sentence: Peter went to the store for
milk. Peter went to the store for milk. The next sentence is: Jason and his
father argued over homework. Jason and his father argued over homework. OK, think about what it felt like to
use your non-dominant hand and also to try to write sentences while I was
dictating them. In a few minutes we’re going to ask you to reflect on that so
just kind of think about what that felt like. The next activity is to write three to four sentences this time you get to use
your dominant hand, so you can switch to your dominant hand, write three to four
sentences about what you did this morning to get ready to come to work. Did that seem easier? Think about why that might have been easier besides using your dominant hand what
else made that task maybe a little easier?And again you’ll reflect on that
in just a few minutes. Now I want you to think about what you did yesterday
morning and write three to four sentences but you can’t use these words: “at, to, from, this, of, for” and for every “T” that you write you have to make it a “B”
and for every “o” that you write you have to make it an “A”. So follow the directions
on the screen if you can’t remember what I said and write three to four sentences
about what you did yesterday morning. Please take a few minutes with your
partner or your table to reflect on the questions that you see on the screen and
really think about how the simulation made you feel. I want to talk a few minutes just about
screening at the secondary level.The purpose of screening at the middle
school or high school level is not to result in a diagnosis of any kind, it is
really just to identify those students who have characteristics
of Dyslexia and who may need supports, interventions, accommodations. In the
guidance document there is much more information about screening, for example,
that all students have to be screened K through 3, starting this fall and
including the kids who transfer from other schools in Missouri and outside
Missouri, but for our purposes, all you need to know is that screening in
grades 4 through 12 is based on whether students are having experience or if
their parents refer them for screening. The role of secondary staff really is to
look for those characteristics to see how students are struggling in class, to
see if they fit any of the characteristics we’ve talked about so
far, to maybe discuss students with
colleagues, especially if you you know think they’re struggling your class you
mean when I talk to your colleagues about whether they’re struggling in
other classes also, and then to refer them to some kind of student-staff
support team whatever you call that in your school or to a school counselor, or
anyone who normally would take a closer look at students who are struggling. What
you might look for include all the characteristics we’ve already talked
about but even things like reluctance to read aloud, choppy reading, you know,
written work, it looks very disorganized, messy, lots of errors, their writing has
very low level vocabulary or low sentence construction compared to
particularly how they talk in class or their verbal expression in class, and
even sometimes, at least, in my experience I saw student in ninth grade who was
still writing with his paper upside down and backwards, so I immediately looked at
that student to see what other characteristics he might have because
it’s kind of rare for students just still have those problems with
directionality in the 9th grade. And in general just if their work doesn’t match what you see from them in class, their
other work, you know, verbal work, or just anything that you see in class doesn’t
match what they do on paper, would be a good thing to look for. Once a student
has been screened and has been identified as having some of those
characteristics that we typically think about for kids who have Dyslexia
then it’s our responsibility to put something in place to try to help that
student. There are a variety of things that can be done so in this section
we’re going to talk about the differences between interventions,
accommodations, and just academic supports in general. What we need to
understand is that something does need to be done when you identify kids who
are struggling. At the secondary level it’s less likely that we are putting
interventions for all of these kids in place, however we do need to think about
that, and the difference between an intervention and an accommodation would
be an intervention is actually going to teach the skill. We’re not intervening by moving kids’ seats to the front of the room, or by giving kids
something on tape, that’s an accommodation. That is helping the
student access the other the information that all the other kids are accessing in
your class. So we need to know the difference between those two things. Academic supports are all of those things that we might be doing for a
student. We might be having them go to another room to get some instruction in
reading, we might be putting these academic accommodations in place, all of
those things fall into the area of support for the kids who are struggling. It’s also important to note when we are looking at what do we need to do for
students who are struggling, that the interventions, the accommodations, the
supports, whatever we put in place those things absolutely must be matched to the
students need, to the skill deficit. It doesn’t do us any good to intervene or
to accommodate for a skill that the student isn’t struggling with. We need to
be sure that we are matching it to the skill that the student is actually
struggling with. And that takes some thought. The slide that you’re going to that you see on the screen right now demonstrates
how the idea between interventions and supports, typically supports meaning
accommodations, basically switch as kids get older into the upper grades. We start
out in the K-3 world of doing a lot of intervention for these kids who are
struggling with these skills, with the idea that we want them to learn the
skill, that we want this to get better for them. As they get older if we haven’t
completely remediated those skills what needs to happen then is that the
supports pick up more along the grades four to twelve, the supports are going to
pick up for those kids, so that they can continue to access the same material
that all the other students are accessing but they’re going to do that
maybe in different ways. Which means you’re going to accommodate in some way.They’re either going to have things read, they’re going to use text-to-speech, some
other way that they’re going to be able to access the same kind
of skills that all the other kids are accessing. When considering the types of
accommodations and supports that need to be put in place for students who
are struggling, we need to be thinking about several things. We need to be
thinking about what is our learning objective. We don’t necessarily want to
change the objective of what you’re teaching in your classroom when you’re
accommodating for kids, you just want to be thinking of what are some alternative ways that kids can demonstrate what they know. Demonstrate
mastery, just demonstrate that they are actually learning the material that
you’re teaching. We want to make sure that we try to keep that as close to
grade level as possible. It is also likely that for some kids you may have
to be looking at some lower level type reading material or something along that
line but you want to try to keep it as close to grade level as possible, hence
the way you accommodate may move into that more technology world so that they
can stay as close to grade-level. We want this to
be a positive experience for these kids too. Let’s remember that when you struggle to learn, when you struggle to read, that doesn’t always give you a positive view
of school, so we want to try to make these accommodations as positive and as
useful as we can for the kids and not make it such a big deal that they feel
singled out or or that someone’s picking on them, or something along that line. We
also want to consider that kids do not have to have an IEP or a 504 plan in
order to get any kind of accommodation that is going to help them access the
material that you’re teaching in your classroom.This goes directly to what is
the climate in our school for making accommodations.Very often we hear people say well I’m not making that accommodation for this kid, he’s going to
have to do it the same way everyone else does it. That just doesn’t make sense in
this day and age. School is about learning. School is about kids accessing
the material. They do not have to have an IEP a 504 plan in order for us to make
accommodations that help these kids learn the material that we are trying to
teach them in our classroom. I’m going to mention just a few of the more general
kinds of accommodations that you can use for kids who are struggling in some way
to learn. I also want to make sure that you know that there there’s list upon
the list and poong lists of these a common types of accommodations in the
guidance document that you can find on the DESE website, I believe that was
mentioned earlier, but just a few of the more common things that we can do for
kids is to accommodate maybe timing of how much time are they going to get to
complete an assignment. Possibly for kids who are struggling with that writing
piece, possibly giving some kind of an accommodation for the note-taking
possibly giving accommodations for the way things are being read to them or the
way students are supposed to access the material in the textbook, all of those
are some very general kinds of accommodations that you can do
and as mentioned there are lists upon this upon lists and you’ve probably
heard all those kinds of things before. The the difference is going to be that
now we need to pay attention to what types of accommodations are going to
work for what kids, basically go back to what is their need and how do I
accommodate for that need. Some of the things that you might do in the world of
math, again the timing in math is an issue that we may need to accommodate
for for kids we may need to let them use a calculator for math facts, we may need
to use graph paper for alignment, so if they struggle with the handwriting
pieces or with being organizationally challenged when it comes to putting
stuff on paper, graph paper is one of those things that might help with that. Lots and lots of other accommodations that you can do for math and they are
listed on that guidance document if you pull that up. Just in general for content
or elective classes, you might want to do some accommodations in the world of
vocabulary. It’s important for those kids to know the vocabulary that you need in
those content classes but simply having kids look words up in a dictionary is
probably not going to be the most beneficial way for those kids to learn
that vocabulary. Some kids are tactile learners, giving them options for the way
that they might display what they know for you, maybe they do it orally, maybe
they do it with a project of some sort, those kinds of things are all good
accommodations for kids who struggle with the writing pieces or the reading
pieces of an assignment. You can think through those kinds of things. Teachers often recognize a need that
they see in students and may even discuss it with other professionals in
the building. For example in high school where I taught, one of the geometry
teachers realized that a lot of kids were having trouble with the amount of
reading in geometry and a lot of the processing of the language in geometry
and some students even had some problems with spatial relations and other processes that influence geometry. So what he decided to do was create a
lab class for geometry in which the students had, maybe three days of it was
typical instruction, but then they also had a couple of days of lab experience
so it was all kinesthetic, manipulatives, that kind of process that they could
actually experience the geometry and then he took it one step further and
collaborated with the industrial tech teacher who was teaching woodworking and
lots of other industrial tech classes and they actually decided to have part of the class what that was computer assisted drafting and
it was a way for the kids to see how geometry works
in the real world and how it can be used to design buildings, design construction. Since then I have noticed that many states actually have these kinds of
classes, and Missouri I noticed yesterday in a news story, has that type of class
where they actually build a house. So I think a lot of times teachers can just
recognize a need and start thinking about how they can adapt for students
and it may even grow to be something that’s national. One of the strategies I
used when I was teaching was to preload vocabulary and text structure for
students who struggled with reading on grade level. I was a middle school
teacher I taught with a truly collaborative team and what we did is we
would start the year by taking texts that were students were going to need to
access we would ask the science teacher and the social studies teacher to go
through and to identify vocabulary that would be really
important for the students to have in order to access the text. And then as the
ELA teachers, what we did is we also identified academic words that they
needed. In addition we would actually set up a graphic organizer that matched the
text structure. So at the beginning of the year we were heavily scaffolding
this process. We would preload the vocabulary, preload the text structure,
had the students ready before they actually started the learning in that
area. You know one of the frustrating pieces as a middle school content
teacher is you have textbooks that are actually written above grade level and
we have students every year just like you do, who come in and they are reading
below grade level. What we found with this is that as the year went on we
could remove some of those scaffolds. We started having the students identify
vocabulary that they thought might be important and we’ve created a bank of
graphic organizers so that kids could use where they could actually go and
choose a graphic organizer that might fit what they were doing. We found this
to be highly successful students who were initially reluctant to participate
in class, often really wouldn’t try to read the text, they actually started
raising their hand, offering answers, digging into the text so that they could
use the graphic organizer. So we felt like this was a good structure for us. We know that extra processing time supports students who have Dyslexia. And there’s a
really simple strategy that you can use in any classroom with any grade level,
any content area, it’s an oldie but a goodie, it’s called “Think Share Write”
that is great in supporting students with Dyslexia and it really works great
for all kids. It’s just what it says the first thing that you do is you pose a
question that’s going to require some thought and you instruct the kids to
take about a minute of think time they’re thinking silently they can draw
and doodle while they’re thinking if they need to, after that minute of think
time is up, then you ask kids to turn and share their thinking with someone near
them and to listen to a partner’s shared thinking. Again they can add any ideas,
doodle while that’s happening if that supports their learning, and then the
final step is to ask them to write their thinking. So now they’ve had processing
time they’ve been able to think through something they’ve been able to say their
own thoughts hear the thoughts of others and now
they’re writing. You could also add a step in there for drawing a lot of
students with Dyslexia are actually very strong in their visual — they have visual
strengths — and so they can take time to draw their thinking. And then if needed
share their thinking with you and someone can script for them. They tend to
be very much big picture thinkers then they don’t see details and that’s why
you know when you’re working with them in math class, they may not recognize
that there’s a negative sign in the problem that you’re working through, so
what you can do to help is making sure that you’re using highlighting. Highlight
that negative sign, you know, as it travels through the problem so then that
way the student can follow through and recognize that that’s going to affect
the answer. The other thing too where you can use highlighting is highlighting in
different colors in social studies for example. So if you’re learning about
World War II and you have to follow what the United States is doing, the
Soviet Union, Japan, and Germany, have each one of those countries be a different
color and then as they have done things being a part of a battle or it a certain
action that you highlight in in that specific color so that way the student
can scan back through that sheet to be able to see okay this is everything that
was connected to the United States or this was the things that were connected
to the Soviet Union. I’d like to switch roles for just a minute here and talk
about what a difference it made for my own daughter when a teacher, a high
school math teacher, on her own, just decided to make an accommodation for her
that absolutely changed the her perception of math and what she was able
to do in that class. My daughter does have a diagnosed learning disability
and she is likely Dyslexic. But it started to show up in math class when
the test had a lot of reading on it and the teacher noticed after one particular
test that my daughter could talk about this stuff in class, could answer the
questions in class, but when it came to taking the test she was bombing the tests and so after again, one particular test, she said to
herself something’s not right here. This is this is not this girl. She knows
this information. So she called my daughter back into her room
and she asked her what happened. And my daughter said, you know, the
questions don’t make any sense when I read them, the information just doesn’t
make any sense. I can’t keep it straight. So the teacher on her own said we’re
gonna try something and she read the test and the questions out loud to
my daughter and she ended up moving from a failing grade on that test to getting
an A on the test because she did know the information and she simply could not
get it out when when she was trying to read the questions. She just could not
make sense of what it was asking her, but when the the teacher read them and
explained you know some of the stuff in a little bit of a different way, she was
able to give her all the information that she could give in class for that
test. So from that point forward, on her own, that teacher decided that she was
from this point forward going to give my daughter an oral math test. And took time during her plan time to call her out of a learning lab in order
to give her that opportunity to show what she knew. I would like to share a
grading system that consists of time as the variable. In this grading system
there are only three grades that a student can earn and that is 0, 80% and a 100% and within this grading system the assessment is
made up of maybe four to five standards where each
standard there would be maybe four to five questions on items per standard. So
the test will consist of about 20 questions. The beauty of this type of
grading system is that students have the opportunity to retake tests and they can
have up to three chances to improve their grade. So if they made an 80% they
have an opportunity to make a 100% and as I said the grades, there
are only three grades, 0, 80% and 100%. So if you have five standards on your
tests you would need to get you know four out of the five. So for example if
students wanted to retake a test because they got a 0% and they could
have missed maybe two of the standards, then they would retake the test only
testing those items under that standard. So they’re only testing the unmastered
items and they would have to qualify to take the test by completing all homework
or any other practice lessons or activities to help them to prepare to be
successful on that retake. And I have found this to be very helpful for all
students. It’s my pleasure to talk a little bit about two high school examples
of how you can not only help students with Dyslexia, but help all students be
academically as good as they possibly can be in high school. I worked in a
large Missouri high school in St. Louis that had an eight-block schedule. And
during that schedule we had what was called an academic networking period
which met every other day for 90 minutes. And during that time we help students
with makeup assignments, students were able to go see teachers to get extra
help, kids that had a project 3 or 4 kids together that had a project could work
on it during that time. And it was a place where students could also get some
homework done. We felt, teachers in in that school felt that we needed to be
more prescriptive with our help, but certainly and what we did was get
academic help in each of the various academic areas. We also tried to help
students with homework completion and we tried to make sure that they were
getting their work turned in to all their teachers in terms of getting
communication back from those staff. Another example that I want to press
forward is one in Illinois where we were a smaller high school and during that
particular school schedule we had a seven period day but we also had a
30-minute advisory period during that time and we
tried to use that time for the same kinds of things that I’m mentioning to
you that we did in the school in Missouri. We tried to get kids help, we
tried to do makeup work, we tried to have groups work together and we tried to get
be prescriptive about what things we thought students should get to be able
to be the most productive they possibly could be in high school. So I guess what
I’m saying is you don’t have to be specific to Dyslexia, you have to be
specific to helping students and if you come up with a schedule that fits your
school the reason I gave you the two examples is we all have different
schedules and so you need to adapt it to what your schedule could be, but I think
giving kids help during that time, being prescriptive during the school day, is
especially helpful in schools which have a lot of busing to school, a lot of
activities after school, and during that school day you need to get to those
students that actually need to help because that’s the best time that you
can help them. At this point we’d like you to take a few minutes to again talk
to your partners at your table about the types of accommodations or supports that
you may already be using for kids that you’re accustomed to doing for students. Possibly other people at your table have some other ideas of things that they’ve
done, but take a few seconds just to chat about the types of things that you are
familiar with and the types of things that you may have also seen that kids
could use, you just weren’t sure that it was okay to do that for others do for
students if they didn’t already have some kind of a plan. One of the most appropriate ways to support our secondary students is through the use of technology, and we can do that through
assistive technologies but I want to talk about technology that is
appropriate for all students, any students that are sitting in our
classrooms. We want to look at the student and make
sure that we have some data that supports the kind of supports that we’re
going to put in place we also want to look at the environment and what the
barriers might be within the environment, the tech tools that are already in place,
the platforms that are already in place, the laptops, the mobile devices, if we’re
working with a Google for education, iPads, those kinds of things. We want to
make sure that we’re putting tools and supports in the hands of our students on
the tools that they are already working with. We want to look at the tools that
are already in place, that are already in our classrooms. We want to make sure that we are supporting the students with the tools that they already have access to–
easy access to. If they have iPads, if they have their own mobile devices, if
they are using Google Apps for Education, we want to make sure that we are putting
the supports within those tools. If we can take the information that we have
about our students and the problem areas that they’re having problems in and
match the tools to those areas, then that will give us a more intentional service
plan. We can use tools like text-to-speech, dictation level text,
display accommodations, writing tools and note-taking tools. We’re going to look at
text-to-speech now. This is digital text that’s read aloud by a device. This is
different than audio books. Audio books is text read aloud by a human. Sometimes our students can get caught up in the digital voice but this is
something that can take some time to to learn and to used to. So if we look at the at three different platforms for
this, we’re going to look at Google. And on Google you can download or install a
Google extension and the one that I want to talk about is read and write for
Google Chrome. This is a software that you can attach to your browser and it’s
going to take the take the text on the screen and read it aloud for the student. This is free for all students. This is also free for for educator
accounts as well. I’d also like to talk about text speech on any tablet. This is
a free feature on most devices if you are able to go into the accessibility
settings and enable it. A web-based based version of text-to-speech would be
Natural Reader, and you can go to their website and watch a tutorial on the on
the software and use it within any web-based browser.Let’s talk about
dictation, this is your spoken words converted into digital text on a device. In Google, you can use this within Google Docs and Google slides. It is available
in Google slides in the presenter notes. You can then take your presenter notes
and copy that copy and paste them into your Google slides. You want to enable
this within the tools bar and it’s under voice typing. You can also use this on
any tablet, it’s a free feature available on most devices. You’ll want to check on
this in your accessibility features. And then on a Chromebook, you can use this
with your on-screen keyboard you would need to enable voice typing on your
on-screen keyboard. Another way to support our struggling readers is to
provide them text on their independent reading level. And the way that we can do
this within Google is through the snap and read extension. It has a simplify
feature. The Read and Write for google Chrome also has this as well within the
premium features and the premium features are free for teachers but
purchased for students. On the web we can use rewordify.com.
This is a website that you can go and paste text into and then select the
appropriate level and then it automatically re-levels the text. This
leveling feature is also available and built-in to some websites like newsela.com or readworks.org. I’d also like to talk about accommodating for the display.This is changing the font, the size, the spacing of the text, also cleaning up the
screen so that there there aren’t a lot of distractions on the computer screen. So within Google we can use the nOverlay Extension, this changes the color
of your screen. The read&write extension, there’s a visor feature
and then there’s the Mercury Reader extension which cleans up the text the
article or the text on your web page so that it is free of distraction. Beeline
Reader Extension is also available which changes the font as well as changes the
colors within the sentences, sometimes the words are different colors the
letters are different words, to help to be able to see the differences between
between the letters within the words. On a tablet you can change the color
of your screen and Safari reader you have within your Safari browser, you can
tap on the Safari reader, to clean up the web page just like you do with the
Mercury Reader extension and it reduces the distraction on the web page. You can also enlarge the font size within your iPad settings. Another great
free tool for students and teachers is Microsoft’s immersive reader. This can be
used on Office 365 in Microsoft Word and Microsoft OneNote. This this has a lot of
great features but one of my favorites is the how it breaks the words up of a
text – any copied texts or written text into syllables. It also has text-to-speech built into it with highlighting so the students are
able to follow along easily. Another powerful tool is word prediction this is
software that suggests words as you type. Co-writer Universal is available for
Google and for tablets. This is a free feature on a tablet if you’re able to
enable it on your keyboard. On a Chromebook the on-screen keyboard has
word prediction as well. Some tools to help with the mechanics and conventions
of writing would be an SAS Writing revsisor add-on. You can find this within
Google Docs. Read&write Extension has great outlining tools and then the
Verity Spell add-on will help students who struggle with spelling. When
students are working on a tablet they have access to a dictionary. This
is going to be found within the settings and you may have to install a specific
dictionary on on the device. There is also an Inspiration Maps app as well as
the snap and read app is available on iOS. Read&write has a keyboard this
is a third-party keyboard that’s going to assist the students as they write by
predicting words. A note-taking support that we can use with our students for
Google would be Google Peep. This is going to help them to be able to take
notes on things that they’ve read and to be able to jot their their thoughts down
about passages that they’ve read. On a tablet you would be able to install
Notability. Notability and Google keep, you can use dictation as well to be able
to voice your notes or your thoughts. On a desktop you can have two windows open
side-by-side, reading on one window and then also note-taking on your second
window that’s open. So take some time at your tables to think about the
technology that you have available and how it can support your students. As we close this overview of Dyslexia
remember that as educators our goal is to build on students strengths.It is
important to ensure that their strengths, not their weaknesses, to find their lives. The top five actions we can take as secondary teachers to assist students
with Dyslexia are to identify students who are struggling, refer them for
screening, provide research validated interventions, make accommodations to
meet their needs, and build upon their strengths in each of your classes.Take
five minutes at your table to think about what you’ve learned and how your
perceptions about dyslexia have changed and how you can support students with
characteristics of dyslexia in your classes. To learn more here are some of
the resources that you may want to investigate. Many of these were used to
prepare the content of this video. Our goal is to help all students experience
the victory of success and the peace of feeling good about themselves. We can
meet this goal by collaborating within our schools, talking to each other –
counselors, administrators, special educators, reading teachers, coaches and
other specialists.Please contact Beth Columbo at the St. Louis RPDC, your
RPDC dyslexia facilitator or Kim Stuckey at the Department of Elementary
and Secondary Education for more information. Thank you!


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