What do I need to know as a teacher?
Dyslexia can have a substantial and long term adverse effect on normal day to day activities, and is therefore a recognised disability under the Equality Act 2010. The Act states that schools and higher education institutions have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students (this includes students with learning difficulties such as dyslexia).
The duty to make reasonable adjustments requires a school to take positive steps to ensure that pupils with additional needs can fully participate in the education provided by the school, and that they can enjoy the other benefits, facilities and services that the school provides for pupils.
Often reasonable adjustments are minor changes and don't have to involved costly materials or additional staff time. Small considered changes can have a big impact on a student's education.
Examples of reasonable adjustments
- Provide coloured overlays as some dyslexic people can experience visual discomfort or disturbances when they read black text on a white background which can make reading more difficult and much slower.
- Provide handouts in lessons rather than asking pupils to copy text or take notes.
- Provide all handouts on coloured paper.
- Use a sans serif font on all printed materials, such as Verdana, Arial or Calibri and make sure the font is at least 12 point or above.
- Change background colour when using a whiteboard or computer screen.
- Provide highlighters so learners can track text that has been read, or highlight important pieces of information.
- Provide access to assistive technology such as a computer, for pupils who find it difficult to write quickly enough in class.
- Use multisensory ways of teaching.
- Allow additional 'thinking' time.
- Break information up into smaller 'chunks'.
These simple changes can benefit all pupils, not just those with a specific learning difficulty.
Read our Dyslexia Friendly Style Guide for tips on creating dyslexia-friendly materials.