Common College Accommodations for Dyslexia

Common College Accommodations for Dyslexia

Five Accommodations in College for Students with Dyslexia

Looking for advice on accommodations in college for students with dyslexia? We have you covered.

Dyslexia comes with its own set of issues and needs. Although it may share some characteristics with other learning disabilities, students with Dyslexia often have specific needs. Those needs get even more significant due to the high prevalence of other disabilities coexisting with Dyslexia. Some research suggests that comorbidity is up to 50%. It may seem complicated to figure out what can work. Further, as the severity of Dyslexia is on a continuum, the needs also vary widely.

College students have access to the disability services office. This office is responsible for any accommodation request for any disability, like a learning disability. The office staff will help you figure out what you need. Accommodations such as extra time for tests and distraction reduction are standard for most disabilities. Here are five common accommodations specific for Dyslexia in college.

1.            Books in an alternate format.

Books in an alternate format are used to allow students access to the textbooks for class. The books come in various formats, but PDF is the most common. You will have to check with the reader you use to see what works best. Know there is also a procedure to follow from the Office of Disability Services (ODS). Be sure to know the time frames of when to make the request and what ODS requires from you, usually a receipt that you purchased the books. The books are not free, and the student is responsible for having text-to-speech software. If you have questions about what format fits with your assistive technology, contact your college’s disability services office.

2.            Class materials are given out before class.

The concept of this accommodation is the same at each school. Be aware but it might be called something different. It gives the dyslexic student time to review the materials ensuring they can take the time to read them. For example, the student can read the power points used in class the day before, so the student does not have to decode them at the moment, losing valuable information from the lecture.

Common College Accommodations for Dyslexia

3.            Tests read aloud.

The tests are read to the student, so the student does not have to take the time to decode and then reread the question to get comprehension. The critical thing to remember is that the pronunciation of the words needs to be accurate. Although there are many ways to make that happen, it is not the student’s responsibility to do that, but the testing center staff. The student’s responsibility is to work with the testing center staff to schedule this ahead of the day of the test. Make sure you follow the scheduling policy to avoid big problems.

4.            Speech-to-text software for tests.

Again the title says it all. The student typically uses the software for essay questions, but it can be used for writing, such as short answer questions. Writing and decoding at the same time does not work out for some. However, speech-to-text eliminates that difficulty and allows the student to answer the questions unimpeded by the disability.

5.            Reduced course load.

If the student’s Dyslexia is moderate to severe, this may be needed. Dealing with the effects of Dyslexia can take a lot of time outside of class. A reduced course load allows a student to remain listed as a full-time student while taking less than the 12 full-time credits. Typically, it is no less than 9. Students with this accommodation are considered full-time students, which means they get all the benefits of being a full-time student, such as living in the residence halls. Fewer credits mean more time to devote to studies while not sacrificing full-time status. This accommodation has consequences, such as financial aid and possibly taking five years to get a degree. Before agreeing, consult the financial aid office and your academic advisor.


Getting accommodations in higher education is a process. Knowing that process and being prepared for it is essential for students with disabilities. Although there are some commonalities with accommodations across students with disabilities, each student will have a list of accommodations specifically tailored to their needs. This article outlined some of the many accommodations available. These are just some of the many accommodations available. The consultation with accessibility staff will determine the best accommodations for you.

A FREE resource to help you navigate the accommodations request process. Take the mystery out of it and get clear on what you need.

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