Wednesday, February 27, 2013
I recently had the good fortune of attending the Learning Disabilities Association of America's national conference. I learned some things, made some great contacts and hope to make it back next year.
I had the good fortune of attending a presentation by Ruth Brodsky, an independent college counselor who works with a lot of learning disabled students. She has a background in special education, and her session on the SAT and ACT largely reflected my own views and strategies. But she made a recommendation for dyslexic students that had not occurred to me, but which makes a lot of sense. Dyslexic students should consider requesting a large format test booklet for the SAT or ACT.
Yes, I know this may sound strange. Large format test booklets were originally intended for visually impaired students, and I would guess are still almost always used by that population. However, there is some evidence that dyslexic students can benefit from large type print. Larger letters and extra space may help with decoding, which could improve comprehension.
I doubt that either the SAT or ACT will be awarding this accommodation to dyslexic students on a large scale, but if a student is receiving that accommodation in school he or she could be approved. Ms. Brodsky noted that students should ask about the desk available to them for testing if they are given a large text booklet. Because the test booklet is physically larger, the desk-chair combos common in schools can be a disaster. A large desk that allows a student to "spread out" is ideal.
Visit Ruth Brodsky's website for more information about her services if you're in the DC area.