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Dyslexia: Study Strategies

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

By Momena Sheikh

Reading time 6 minutes⏰



Dyslexia can be a very challenging learning disability to live with. Many people with dyslexia may feel overwhelmed or discouraged about school, sometimes even more so than the average student.


A study published in 2019 called “Study strategies of first-year undergraduates with and without dyslexia and the effect of gender”, found that “self-reported fear of failure was higher in the students with dyslexia” than those without dyslexia. Implementing good studying habits is one way to increase confidence in your work and reduce anxiety. The following study tips can be helpful for dyslexic students and allow them to succeed.


Organization and Time Management

Students with dyslexia may struggle with some important executive functioning skills. Executive functioning skills refers to “the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully.” This combination of abilities is necessary for the brain to filter out distractions, organize tasks, set and meet objectives, and restrain impulses. This is why it is especially important for dyslexic students to develop effective organization and time management skills.


One of the ways organizational skills can be developed is by starting small. Things like having a specific location for school supplies and important documents for easy access can lay the foundation for effective studying.


Establishing a normal routine can build good studying habits and help with both organization and time management. It may take students with dyslexia much longer to read or write notes, so it is crucial that they use their time wisely. Use calendars and organizers such as agendas, to prioritize important tasks and plan your time accordingly to make sure you have enough time to study effectively. If you have trouble remembering information, it is very helpful to practice paraphrasing, underlining important terms and info, and making notes on post-it notes.


Don’t be intimidated by big tasks, but rather take the time to slowly break it into smaller, manageable pieces. Outline the task and plan out the steps to complete it, taking into account the amount of time that you need.


Take Advantage of Available Technology

For students that are dylslexic, technology can be a very powerful tool. For example, typing out work on microsoft word and google docs instead of handwriting them would be an effective way to do work because of the built-in spelling and grammar checks. Alternatively, students can also choose to handwrite their notes to improve writing skills and synthesize information more effectively.


Oftentimes in university, lectures will often be recorded. This is extremely useful and something to take advantage of because it gives more time for dyslexic students to write and prepare effective notes by having the ability to pause and rewind. If there are no recorded lectures available, then students can try using other online resources such as Khan Academy or perhaps even youtube tutors.


Another useful tool would be using a phonetic dictionary. A phonetic dictionary allows a user to look up words by how they sound, even if multiple letters are incorrect.


Asking for Help

There is no shame in asking for help if you are struggling. It is important to communicate your difficulties and ask for advice in order to succeed academically.

Look for an on-campus study group, student organizations, and campus resources. An on-campus study group can improve study habits and be an important support resource. A student organization focused on dyslexia can help students connect with others who also have dyslexia and can be a powerful support system where many different people collaborate and share resources. Many universities also have campus resources such as accessibility services, that are there in order to help students with disabilities of all kinds and it is important to take advantage of them.

It may also be necessary to communicate directly with your professors in order to figure out a way to succeed in tests and assignments. All in all, it is important to work hard but also be lenient on yourself to avoid stress. Remember, everyone has setbacks and it is always possible to overcome them!


References:


Broderick, Thomas. 2021. “College Guide For Students With Dyslexia And Dysgraphia.” Affordable Colleges Online. https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/dyslexia-dysgraphia/.


“Executive Function & Self-Regulation.” Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, March 24, 2020. https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/executive-function/.


“Tips from Students.” Yale Dyslexia. Accessed July 2, 2022. https://dyslexia.yale.edu/resources/dyslexic-kids-adults/tips-from-students/.


“Tips for Studying with Dyslexia.” The Dyslexia Resource, December 18, 2020. https://dyslexiaresource.org/tips-for-studying-with-dyslexia/.


Tops, Wim, Toivo Glatz, Angie Premchand, Maaike Callens, and Marc Brysbaert. "Study Strategies of First-Year Undergraduates with and without Dyslexia and the Effect of Gender." European Journal of Special Needs Education 35, no. 3 (2020): 398-413. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2019.1703580. http://myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fscholarly-journals%2Fstudy-strategies-first-year-undergraduates-with%2Fdocview%2F2331502260%2Fse-2.



1 Comment


Namak
Namak
Jul 22, 2022

Really enjoyed this article. Was succinct, efficient and well-written. These articles help me to be more empathetic and connected to my peers and I really appreciate the insight I gleaned.

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