Many classrooms are not friendly to students with dyslexia. In fact, this holds true for a good deal of students, whether they have dyslexia or not. Online high schools help fill a need for approachable, fair and convenient instruction.
1. Students feel safe and like they belong
The environment in many, if not most, in-person classrooms prizes speed and rote learning over individualism and true understanding of the material. Students must raise their hands to be heard or risk falling behind. In some cases, teachers call on students and demand answers right away. Students with dyslexia feel pressured. Many experience years of being made fun of because they can’t answer like teachers want them to. They often don’t feel comfortable raising their hands because they’re afraid they will be ridiculed. This is especially true for high school students, who have had years of negative reinforcement. An online high school allows students to read, learn and contribute at their own pace. Instruction is asynchronous, meaning students access course material at times and speeds that work for them. They don’t feel in the spotlight if they need to ask a question, and they will never be suddenly called on. Typing instead of talking lets students take all the time they need to formulate their words. Students with dyslexia will feel no pressure.
Students have more freedom to communicate one on one with teachers—no burning judgment from other students.
Because of the flexibility in time, students can take as many breaks as they need to, and for however long they want. Some students use gum, water or other drinks to help them study or work. That’s no problem at an online high school while it often is in a traditional school.
2. Students are in control of their strengths
At an online high school, prejudices and stereotypes do not apply. Because students with dyslexia don’t experience pressure or rush to get material done, they are truly in control of the material they turn in and present to their teachers and classes. There are no “attacks,” whether from a teacher or fellow students. Online discussions are wide ranging and occur over a span of, for example, twenty-four hours or a week as compared to fifty minutes in live time.
Also, when teachers give handouts or ask students to read a set amount of pages, students can take their time with the reading. There’s no need to complete an assignment in the next thirty minutes. No urgent artificial pressure. Many students with dyslexia read slowly and some have trouble even reading their own writing. Online learning helps them break reading into manageable and even enjoyable components. They can even take advantage of computer reading programs to orally read textual material. Voice recognition programs also help students record what they’d like to say.
3. Visual learning is top notch
Many students with dyslexia learn best visually, and online high school provides plenty of that through whiteboards, webcams, sharing desktops, Skype, streaming video, online textbooks and virtual labs. Students can refer to a lesson as many times as they want and modify it to meet their learning styles. There are no “hit and run” lesson deliveries like in many modern classrooms where the lesson is delivered only once in an unfriendly format and must be absorbed immediately.
4. Emphasis is on individual learning
Courses focus on empowerment and learning style. Teachers work with students to tailor instruction to their goals, interests and areas of creativity.