KNOW! One of the first steps in advocacy is knowing which accommodations and / or modifications are necessary. Here’s a nice list from the state of CT.
There’s a reason this article is filed under “Self-Advocacy”. Students should be aware that they are unlikely to get an appropriate education if they don’t ASK.
It comes easier for some people more than others. For the ones who don’t want to ask, it’s especially important to have important information written down and to PRACTICE with a parent or other supportive person. Don’t hesitate to have a typed sheet for backup as well as to giving something to leave with the teacher.
FOUR OF THE MOST COMMON ASKS:
1. I NEED MORE TIME. Because of my dyslexia, I need more time on exams to get my ideas down on paper. Older students should be prepared to answer questions about ‘why’ (for instance, in order to re-read questions or to putting ideas into words).
2. I NEED TO DICTATE/TYPE. I’m dyslexic and dysgraphic. I need to dictate or use a scribe or type with a software program.
3. I NEED AUDIOBOOKS. Again, it’s best to have information written down and know about options such as Learning Ally or Bookshare. Be prepared to also say, “I also need to be able to have a copy of my textbook at home.”
4. I NEED NOTES / I NEED A NOTETAKER. Anticipate that your teacher may not know why you need notes or a notetaker. Explain that you cannot listen and write notes at the same time. Think about what you need to get the information reliably from class. Do you need a copy of the Powerpoints so you can write on them in class? Do you need the teacher to assign a notetaker so that you can reliably get a copy of notes after every class? What about a backup when that person is out sick?
Practice, practice practice. It gets easier with time.
Finally, practice saying “It’s in my education plan” if it is!