How to Ask for Accommodations for a Dyslexic Student

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Have you recently received a Section 504 diagnosis for a learning difference, such as Dyslexia, and attend public school?  I’ve shared with you the importance of preparing a binder that you will use to keep up with documentation, grades, work samples, notes, etc. Now, it is time to plan for success and there is no better way to do that, than with a meeting.


how to get accommodations for a dyslexic child


Request a Success Plan Meeting

It is all about lingo, baby. Or at least this is what I am finding. After two school years of regular parent/teacher conferences, I had no idea that nothing in these conference was set in stone accommodation or modification wise. In other words, if modifications for our son were agreed upon in a  parent/teacher conference, even though it was documented on the parent/teacher conference paperwork,  teacher nor the school where held accountable when these requests did not take place unless these specific accommodation/modification were listed in his 504 Committee Report and Accommodation Plan.

Not one professional told me this. I had to figure it our for myself when I filed a grievance with the Office of Civil Rights and their first question was What is stated in your child’s 504 Accommodation Plan? 

Me: What? But I have all of these parent teacher conferences where we stated this and that.

OCR: It must be clearly outlined in his 504 Accommodation Plan.

To avoid this,  you need to schedule what I call a Success Plan Meeting.   I believe it is ideal to have a Success Plan Meeting at the beginning of each school year, while continuing to have parent teacher conferences, check in with the teacher via phone calls/email, as well as  face to face contact through out the school year.

Who Will Attend the Success Plan Meeting

Request in writing, either email or a letter, that the following people attend:

  1. Your student’s homeroom teacher– for obvious reasons. She is the constant contact person who knows just about everything going on with your child.
  2. Dyslexia teacher she is or will be instructing him with his dyslexia training.
  3. Your student’s reading teacherthis is only if they change classes for reading. At our school they begin changing classes for Math, Science, Reading, etc., in third grade.
  4. Title One reading teacher– if your child attends a school that is deemed Title One, there is additional funding given to your school for extra resources in specific areas such as reading. This teacher offers help for any student, as deemed appropriate by staff and parent. This extra training can be done by this teacher during the school day or after school in a tutoring type setting.
  5. School Counselor– you will soon find the school counselor is heavily involved in situations such as these. I see her very much as a liaison handling a great deal of the paperwork processing and coordinating from the very beginning of the testing/diagnosis process.
  6. Administrative Representative– this can be the principal or an assistant principal.

Whew, that is a lot of people in one room, hua?

modifications for dyslexic students


If this leaves you feeling like there are many people stacked against you, remember this- you are your child’s voice. You are there for your child to get him all the help you can. I have sat in a room by myself with many of these people. If you feel intimidated, don’t! YOU ARE YOUR CHILD’S VOICE. Take your husband, if he is available. Take a friend or another parent who has been through this type of meeting if you need the support. Do you know a retired teacher? See if they would be interested in sitting with you. You can also hire an attorney to go with you, but I know for many this is  financially not an option.

What to Discuss in a Success Plan Meeting

  • you will attend the meeting with your binder so you can take notes and you readily have available any document you need from previous meetings. You can show samples of previous school work that support your reason for requesting accommodations. You will have his report cards at hand to support your concerns of struggle, etc.
  • If everyone you invited attends this meeting, you have everyone in place that can meet and become familiar with you and see you are serious about getting your child the assistance he deserves. You can exchange email and contact phone numbers with each of these people. Each of these people, including yourself, play an intricate role in your child’s education.
  • In this meeting you are going to ask for the accommodations and modifications you have researched and deem appropriate for your child.
  • Expect this meeting to take a while. I have sat through meetings for 1-2 hours.
  • At the end of the meeting, you are going to specifically state that you want these modification and accommodation requests reviewed by the 504 Committee.
  • Now the committee will meet and review your requests.   This committee is generally made up of many of the people you just met with in your Success Plan Meeting: school administrator, counselor, homeroom teacher and dyslexia specialist, etc.

Within a a few weeks you will have results from this meeting. For us, every single accommodation I asked for was given to Anthony, and more.   Know that you do not have to sign any of the paperwork given to you unless you agree with everything outlined.

. . . . . . . .

I will tell you this school year has been Anthony’s most successful in his elementary career! The progress has been amazing when compared to some of his previous school years.

Please, share your thoughts. I would love to know your experience with dyslexia. I would love to know how you requested modifications or accommodations for your child and how that played out. If you have any resources or solutions you can add, please do! Please also share what state you are in as thing can be very different depending on where people live.

Upcoming Dyslexia topics include: reading/writing applications for your  iTouch/iPad that your struggling student might find helpful, a guest post from a Crystal & Co., reader who has an amazing resource for Dyslexic students that I am so happy to share with you guys, websites to check out as well as some additional resources I’m finding as readers are sharing so much with me. One includes a potential site for finding an advocate.


  1. Catherine says:

    Great advice – very proactive! I have a great Special Ed teacher this year. The annual IEP review meeting has been moved up by 6 weeks. She and I are going to meet to review the draft IEP on her computer in advance of the meeting. She is also incorporating SMART goals. Once I see what these look like, I will let you know what they are and how they work. The Special Ed teacher is also contemplating giving a Keyboarding Camp this summer which will help my daughter use the Alpha Smart. I love this series.

    1. Catherine- thank you so much for the input. I am so glad you are finding this information helpful and I love that you have shared your story as well. Best of luck- sounds like you guys are having a great school year.

      What are SMART goals?

  2. Awesome post!
    My 13 yr old is hi func autistic and my 7 yr old is dysgraphic. I am finding there is a WORLD of diff between special ed and 504.

    Also- be empowered. If the school wants people at the meeting you do not know/ do not want there. Ask why. If they have to speak about one thing, do that first and then ask them to leave. Or just say you do not want them there. You have the right. My old school would invite everyone under the sun (as an intimidating tactic I figured out).

    1. Thank you so much Deanna for taking the time to read this and sharing your story.

      We do have to speak up- I agree. And they do try to intimidate, for sure.

      At the end of the day remember, they are running a business. Run your meeting like a business. You be in control. Have an agenda. Stay on target. Be the leader… you will get their attention.

  3. I just stumbled upon your site tonight and I wish I had found it years ago. My son is entering 7th grade and life has been a complete struggle and ball of frustration for him and us. I always knew something was wrong, but everytime I would bring it up I was told he was just young for his grade or he is lazy. He is very smart and I knew this and wondered why no one else was seeing there was something else going on.

    Finally I took him to a learning specialist and he did several tests and recommended we see an educational consultant because he had extreme delays in processing times and short term memory issues among other things. At this point he was in 5th grade with a teacher who did not know how to deal with non high achievers and was a bully. So needless to say his self confidence and his love of education were both gone.

    The Education consultant went to the meetings with us and Thank goodness she did. In Kansas Dyslexia is not covered under a 504 plan. They consider it a medical issue and not a learning issue. So we had to approach the meeting from a different angle and use different words to get the needed attention. What was disturbing to me was how they wanted to just give him easier or non grade level work. I had to get vocal and quit playing nice, because my child is very smart he just learns differently and needed a few concessions. It was a fight all year long and it was the worst year of our lives.

    6th grade he moved to Junior High and had 7 different teachers and every single one of them was willing to help him learn any way he needed to. What a huge difference this made in his attitude and his grades. His self esteem is going up and he knows he is smart.

    Thank you so much for writing about this on your blog and also for the post on the glasses. I am going to check it out because anyway to make life easier for him I am all about it.

    1. Dixie, thank you so much for your comment!

      I am always surprised when a state does not recognize dyslexia as something that should be covered under 504. That, I am sure, amplifies the struggle even more. While we have had a battle to get the diagnosis and proper help, I am certainly grateful that Texas acknowledges dyslexia as a condition. Although it took relentless research, meetings and lobbying for our child, this past school year (3rd grade) was a huge success for him. Things seem to really be turning around for him. We’ve already had a 504 meeting to develop a success plan for 4th grade- he will hit the ground running, so to speak.

      How awesome that things are turning around for your son as well. I love that you’re experiencing such success in jr high, a time where typically it can be difficult to get 7 different teachers on board. I hate hearing about situations of teachers bullying students. It just goes all over me.

      I hope you will stop back in as I share more dyslexia solutions and resources through our journey. Here is to a successful 2011-2012 school year for both of our guys!

      1. Lori Drake says:

        I have a son in 3rd grade that has dyslexia as well. After questioning his preschool, Kindergarten, 1st grader teacher about dyslexia they all looked at me as if I was crazy for thinking our son had any issues. In 2nd grade, we decided not to question his teacher and decided to pull him out to have him tested at Children’s Hospital which cost us a bundle of money. It was well worth our money and he tested as having dyslexia. My question is, what kind of accomodations did you have in place for your child when State Testing rolled around? Ours are coming up in March and we’re due for another parent/teacher’s conference because his teacher can’t devote the time to give him instructions because she has 24 other students in the class. I’m put off by this! If anything, accomodation will occur by next month. 🙂

        1. Lori- what state are you in? We are in Texas. Each state is different.

          Here, if the accommodations were not outlined in his 504 paperwork, then anything we asked for through out the year in a parent teacher conference did not “have” to be granted. That 504 is golden. We had a 504 meeting every school year.

          For state testing he could have all tests read to him, if he chose, except for the reading test. He could have a teacher there with him. She obviously could not answer questions about the problems, but she could re-read directions and test questions, etc. He also had the opportunity to test in a room outside of the traditional classroom to eliminate distractions, etc. That is all I can remember off the top of my head. I would have to pull out the binder of paperwork to see if there was anything else. We homeschool him now, so he is taught how we feel is best and I loath state testing.

          We had a list of every day modifications and accommodations outside of the state testing, but that too must all be outlined in your 504 paperwork.

          Are you in Texas?

  4. How do you get the state to recognize that Dyslexia should be recognized for a 504 plan?

    1. We live in Texas so it was pretty easy. What state are you in? Maybe you need to file something with the Office of Civil Rights where you live?

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