If you’re a teacher in higher education there are things you can do to help students who have dyslexia or other learning disabilities.

At the Australian Disability Clearing House (ADCH) there is a range of teaching and assessment strategies to use with students who have dyslexia. I have adapted the ADCH strategies, in combination with my own personal experiences while at university. A selection that I think are particularly useful are:

Reading lists

  • Provide lists of essential reading. Students with dyslexia can easily feel overwhelmed by a list that combines essential and non-essential-but-nice reading.
  • Provide that essential list well before the start of the course so that students who have dyslexia can get started early.
  • Offer tailored reading lists for students and provide some guidance on key texts.
  • If you can, allow work to be completed on an in-depth study of a few texts rather than a broad study of many.

Procedures and processes

  • When you’re introducing work that requires a sequence of steps to be followed, for example in a laboratory or computing exercise, make sure that the stages or sequences are nice and clear. Provide them verbally and in writing.

Assistive technology

  • Some students will benefit from assistive technology, such as text to speech programs and reading pens. You can learn more about these options and more in assisted technology.

Variety is essential

  • Use as much verbal description as possible to supplement the material presented on whiteboard or overhead. But remember, whiteboards can be hard for students who have dyslexia to read from. (I found the red markers were the hardest to read, but everyone will be different.)
  • Present information in a range of formats – handouts, worksheets, overheads, videos – to meet a diversity of learning styles.
  • Use a variety of teaching methods so that students are not restricted to just reading to find the information they need. Where possible, present material diagrammatically – in lists, flow charts, concept maps etc.

Other useful pages: