Text based learning disabilities are something that I think about a lot when working with my students, whether or not I have a student who has a diagnosis. This comes from my personal experience; my brother is highly dyslexic and dysgraphic but was not officially diagnosed until high school. It makes me incredibly sad to think he was not receiving the support he needed throughout school, and the way that has shaped his perception of education as a whole.
Luckily, IslandWood is a perfect setting to support students with text-based learning disabilities. Being able to engage students in hands on learning is extremely beneficial, especially for those students who might hold extremely negative views of school. I always try to balance the amount of “school like” work my groups do (writing or reading) with more hands-on activities, such as planting or exploring.
I also provide many scaffolds for all of my groups, whether they seem to need support in writing or not. For activities that involve large amounts of writing, I provide sentence stems for students to copy down. I also provide options for using illustrations rather than words to answer questions. For students who struggle specifically with text-based activities, I aim to provide one-on-one support in the form of scribing or reading allowed when possible.
Finally, I only have students read out loud to the group if the specifically volunteer to do so. I model culture of error in terms of my own challenges with spelling, by pointing out my own mistakes.