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Answered by Suzanne Martin OCT, teacher-diagnostician (retired), Conseil scolaire catholique de district des Grandes Rivières

Each and every student with learning disabilities (LDs) is unique, as are their strengths and needs; because of the diversity of LDs, it is essential that educators know the particular strengths and needs of their students in order to select appropriate accommodations. It should be noted as well that each student will respond differently to the accommodations offered to them.

Similarly, each assessment is different, so a technique that is effective for one evaluation may not be the best for another. The student’s IEP will list the environmental, instructional, and assessment accommodations to which the student should have access at all times. That being said, educators may wish to put in place other accommodation strategies not listed in the student’s IEP; if these strategies prove effective, they may later be added to the IEP.

Here are some examples of accommodations that can effectively support students with LDs, during assessment:

For students with reading difficulties

The student can listen to the assessment questions using text-to-speech technology.  If the student does not have access to technology, someone can read the questions out loud.

For more information…

Click here to access the article Dyslexia: When hidden talents are awakened

For students with writing difficulties

The student can:

  • have access to a scribe or speech-to-text technology;
  • use spell-checker software;
  • use word prediction software to help with spelling, and to ease the process of generating idea;,
  • use a method of demonstrating their learning, other than pen and paper;
    • videos, mind maps, comics, bristol boards, models;
  • complete the evaluation orally, and/or
  • complete the evaluation as a fill-in-the-blank style page, so they only need to add the basic information being assessed.

For more information…

Click here to access the article Strategies to Assist Students with Writing Difficulties

Click here to access the Ask the Expert question and answer How can technology be used to help students with spelling difficulties to edit their writing?

For students with difficulties organizing their ideas and their time

  • Chunk the evaluation into smaller sections that a student can complete over a number of different class periods.
  • Chunk the questions into smaller steps, and in a logical order for the work required.
  • Use a countdown timer to help students manage their time.

For more information…

Click here to access a recording of the LD@school webinar Strengthening Executive Functioning Skills in the Classroom

For students with memory difficulties


  • a word bank related to the assessment;
  • a formula list related to a math assessment;
  • a glossary (either with images or written definitions, depending on the students’ strengths), and/or
  • a reference page for calculation processes (division, multiplication, how to use a protractor).

Allow students access to devices, such as calculators for math computations; the student will still be required to justify their answer on paper.

For problem-solving, have students read the problem aloud.

For more information…

Click here to access the article How can I support my students with working memory difficulties?

Click here to access the article Mnemonics

Key takeaways

It is important to remember that the techniques chosen by educators must allow students with LDs to demonstrate their learning effectively during the evaluation.  These techniques should play off the students’ strengths and minimize the impact of their weaknesses, so that they can achieve to their greatest potential.

Do you have a question about LDs? Click here to ask our experts!

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novembre_photo-suzanneSuzanne Martin started her teaching career in special education in Moosonee, Ontario in 1986. Her entire career has been dedicated to students with special needs. Throughout her 30 years as an educator, she developed a breadth of knowledge and strategies, working with students with diverse learning profiles. Suzanne holds specialist qualifications in special education and in integration of information and computer technology in the classroom, among others. One of her priorities as an educator was to stay abreast of the newest educational technologies and to share with other educators the success and autonomy that they could foster among students with LDs. Before retiring, Suzanne had the opportunity to work with two French school boards, collaborating in the process of psycho-educational assessments as a teacher-diagnostician.