Accommodations for LD

If you read about learning disabilities, you will quickly come across the topic of accommodations. There are accommodations at school and at work, at home and at play. Although I haven’t done a study, I am willing to wager that the most common accommodation at school is extra time.

This is due to the fact that it’s an easy accommodation to give, not necessarily because it serves the best interest of the child or the adult the child will become; nor because it is relevant to the learning disability.

Most people with LD will one day need to work, and be able to work. Many will need accommodations. And one accommodation that is unlikely to be available is extra time. On a job interview, tell the person interviewing you that you can do the job, but will require a lot of extra time. Don’t count on getting that job.

But extra time is easy to give in school.

Some LD people don’t even need extra time; personally, I finished first on every test I took through high school and almost always first in college and grad school. No matter what grade I got – from F to A – I was done quickly.

But extra time is easy to give in school.

Who are we accommodating? The students or the schools? And what are we preparing students for? The work world, or more school?

In the real world, the work world, we LD people need to figure out how to accommodate for ourselves. There are many many options. The trouble is, they require individualization and thought, and individualization doesn’t fit well with the bureaucracy of school.

What sort of accommodations? Well, to name a few:

Taping what someone says for later playback (for those who have trouble taking in information orally).
Having a computer keyboard where each key has a different feel (useful for people who are highly tactile)
Large print (for lots of purposes)
Text to speech software (for those who have trouble reading)
Speech to text software (for those who have trouble writing)
Flex time (for avoiding rush hour, which can be overwhelming)
Word processing software of various kinds (can help with different sorts of disabilities)
Rulers with large fonts (for those who have trouble figuring out the little lines on normal rulers)

and so on and on and on.

If you are an LD person, educate yourself about what accommodations might help you.
If you work with LD people, educate yourself about these acccommodations and others
And if you happen to be someone who sets policy for a school, then look into alternative accommodations.

Before we all run out of time.

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