Dyslexia and Student Discipline Defense

Discipline Risks Dyslexic Students Face 

Dyslexic students face greater school risks than other students. Surprising as it may seem, dyslexia has subtle but damaging ways in which it contributes to student misconduct charges. Students with dyslexia, and their parents and guardians, might mistakenly assume that dyslexia simply presents learning issues, creating academic challenges for those students. But dyslexia can do much more harm to a student's education than simply making it harder for the student to learn. Dyslexia can be a causative, contributing, or complicating factor for all kinds of student misconduct charges. Dyslexia can certainly contribute to poor or failing grades and failure to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Yet dyslexia can lead not only to poor or failing grades and failure to academically progress but also to cheating allegations and allegations of behavioral misconduct. Any one of these issues or a combination of them can lead to student discipline, from warnings and reprimands right up to suspension and expulsion. It shouldn't be so, but dyslexic students face greater school discipline risks. 

Discipline Defense Help for Dyslexic Students 

Fortunately, though, dyslexic students can get help with unfair discipline and misconduct charges. A skilled and experienced student discipline defense attorney can aggressively and strategically invoke discipline procedures available at every school at every level. Your retained discipline defense attorney can show school officials that the charges are false and due instead to the dyslexic student's reasonable accommodations, that dyslexia is a contributing cause requiring accommodation, not discipline, or that dyslexia is an exonerating or mitigating factor. Dyslexic students also have disability accommodation rights that, with the right attorney advocacy, can protect them from false and unfair student misconduct charges. If you are a dyslexic student or a parent or guardian offor a dyslexic student facing school expulsion, suspension, or other disciplinary actione, retain national student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team. Get the skilled and experienced representation you need to preserve the dyslexic student's education. Don't let insensitive or uninformed school officials ruin the dyslexic student's education. Aggressive and effective discipline defense help is available for dyslexic students. 

Understanding Dyslexia 

School officials at every level, from high school through college and into graduate or professional school, can misunderstand dyslexia and its effects. Even students who suffer from dyslexia, and their parents and guardians, can misunderstand the condition and how it impacts learning and misconduct charges. The Mayo Clinic calls dyslexia a reading disorder having to do with the student's ability to relate speech patterns to words and letters. Dyslexia involves the part of the brain that encodes and decodes symbols into language. Dyslexia is a reading disability. Dyslexia interferes with reading, both silent and aloud. Dyslexia slows and confuses a student's reading, where reading efficiently and effectively is a critical skill, indeed the critical skill to learning at all levels. Depending on the severity and extent of the condition and the dyslexic student's other abilities, supports, and resources, the dyslexic student may either read so slowly or read so inefficiently and inaccurately as to be unable without accommodation to complete the school program. Instructors, officials, and student peers may mistakenly assume that the dyslexic student is not trying, not sufficiently disciplined, not interested, or just not sufficiently smart or academically prepared or capable, when, onto the contrary, the student has every appropriate ambition and skill but just needs disability accommodations. While dyslexia has to do with reading skills, the related dysgraphia has to do with writing skills and related dyscalculiadiscalculia with math skills.  

Respecting Dyslexia Accommodations 

Fortunately, the clinical psychologists who examine and treat dyslexics, and the reading and learning experts who help dyslexics adjust to and overcome their reading disability, have helped school officials develop a range of effective accommodations for dyslexia. As the International Dyslexia Association confirms, accommodations don't excuse a dyslexic student's substandard performance. Instead, accommodations have the purpose and effect of bringing the dyslexic student's educational performance up to institutional standards. Accommodations simply modify the conditions for student performance to account for dyslexia. Accommodations don't tilt the playing field unfairly. They instead level the playing field for the dyslexic student. Not all school officials understand dyslexia accommodations. Uninformed school officials can have bad attitudes about accommodations. Educating insensitive, uninformed, and misguided school disciplinary officials is a key role for the dyslexic student's advocate. The defense attorney you retain to challenge, guide, and correct school discipline officials must understand and be able to aggressively and effectively advocate for dyslexia accommodations. Retain national student discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team for skilled, experienced, and winning student discipline defense representation. 

Types of Dyslexia Accommodations 

The Mayo Clinic says that dyslexia has no cure. Dyslexia is not a condition that a student can eliminate with surgery, radiation, medication, or other treatment. But accommodations can, in many cases, reduce or effectively eliminate the learning impacts of dyslexia. Dyslexic students do persist and succeed through the most rigorous of educational programs, when they get the necessary accommodations. With appropriate accommodations, dyslexics can do much more than just learn to read. The International Dyslexia Association points to filmmaker Steven Spielberg, inventor Thomas Edison, author F. Scott Fitzgerald, and financier Charles Schwab as examples of famously successful individuals who overcame dyslexia. The Mayo Clinic identifies tutoring, special services, and emotional support as three general categories of dyslexia accommodations. But accommodations can vary markedly as a dyslexic student progresses from lower to higher education levels. Initial support in elementary and secondary schools may focus on tutoring and special services, while accommodations in college and graduate schools may focus on readers, time allowances, and sensory modifications. Yet, according to the International Dyslexia Association, any of the following accommodations may be appropriate at any level, depending on the student's condition and conditions and requirements of the school program: 

  • Presentation accommodations for instruction like verbal rather than written instructions, repetition of instructions, instructions in audio format, larger print, fewer items per page, visual prompts or cues, highlighted text, alternative answer sheets, and information in songs or poems, and for assessment like calculators, speech-to-text software, text-to-speech software, electronic dictionaries, spell checkers, and grammar checkers; 
  • Response accommodations like marking answers in the test book instead of on a separate answer sheet, dictating to a scribe or recording oral responses on an audio recorder, recording oral responses using a scribe pen, pointing to response choices, and typing keyboard responsesresponse rather than writing; 
  • Setting accommodations like individual or small group work, reducing visual and auditory distractions with a separate desk or location within the classroom, distraction-freedistraction free settings in a separate room, and alternative furniture arrangementsarrangement such as facing the front for whole group lessons versus a block of tables for small group work; and 
  • Timing or scheduling accommodations like flexible scheduling, several sessions versus one session, extended time sessions, allowing for more frequent breaks, and changing the order of tasks or subtests. 

Discovering Dyslexia 

Don't be too surprised: some students do not discover their dyslexia until they are in graduate or professional school. Dyslexic students can be masters at managing their disability. Indeed, they've known nothing else than their dyslexic condition. As the International Dyslexia Association shares, without help or accommodations, dyslexics can often learn how to organize studies and adopt study strategies for success. What a skilled diagnostician would recognize as dyslexia, the dyslexic student may simply assume is any student's normal challenge of reading for comprehension and writing for understanding. Yet education is generally progressively more difficult at each higher level. The dyslexic student may do fine in high school but meet the student's match in college. Or the dyslexic student may do fine in college but meet the student's match in graduate or professional school. Time and again, students who did fine at lower levels discover from their struggles at higher levels that they've always had dyslexia. The student who faces disciplinary proceedings that the student or student's parent suspects has something to do with the student's undiagnosed dyslexia or other disability should get a learning disability professional's prompt examination. Find out what's going on. Your school troubles may have something to do with undiagnosed dyslexia. A dyslexia diagnosis could mean all the difference to the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding. The Mayo Clinic says to watch for these signs of undiagnosed dyslexia in teens and adults, and to consult : 

  • Difficulty reading silently; 
  • Difficulty reading aloud; 
  • Slow and labor-intensive reading and writing; 
  • Problems spelling; 
  • Avoiding activities that involve reading; 
  • Mispronouncing names or words; 
  • Problems retrieving words; 
  • Trouble understanding idioms, jokes, or other anomalous expressions; 
  • Spending an unusually long timelong-time completing reading or writing; 
  • Difficulty summarizing readings; 
  • Trouble learning new terms; 
  • Trouble learning foreign terms or foreign language; 
  • Difficulty memorizing; and  
  • Difficulty doing math problems. 

Diagnosing Dyslexia 

If you or your student face disciplinary proceedings that you feel may in some way be related to undiagnosed dyslexia, get prompt evaluation and diagnosis from a qualified educational psychologist. The Cleveland Clinic reports that diagnosing dyslexia isn't as simple as a blood test or imaging scan. An educational psychologist must instead carefully evaluate outward signs, drawn from interviews gathering information about personal and school experiences and from testing administered in the diagnostician's office. The International Dyslexia Association indicates that tests for dyslexia may include IQ testing, reading and reading comprehension testing, and testing in oral language skills, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, decoding, fluency, and phonological processing. Don't attempt to self-diagnose. Testing and diagnosis by a qualified educational psychologist will often be necessary for disability accommodations and for student discipline defense. Retain national student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to assist you with identifying the qualified professional to make a dyslexia diagnosis and the reports necessary to use that diagnosis effectively in your student disciplinary proceeding. 

Disclosing Dyslexia 

Once you or your student confirms a dyslexia diagnosis is interfering with school studies, the question becomes whether and how to disclose that diagnosis to school officials or others in the school community. Students with reading or other learning disabilities can be rightly sensitive to the embarrassment and isolation that disability disclosures can cause, as one disabilities advocacy organization documents. Dyslexic students may prefer not to tell anyone about their dyslexia. Yet disclosure, at least to school accommodations officials, is generally wise. Indeed, the dyslexic student must disclose the disability to school accommodations officials to obtain appropriate accommodations. Disclosure to the involved instructor may or may not be necessary or wise. School accommodations officials can help the dyslexic student make that decision. The dyslexic student and