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Disability Action Center NW

More training and opportunities for those with disabilities

With reference to the Gerald E. Weitz letter titled “About 20 percent of population is dyslexic” (May 7), I applaud Weitz’s call for more and better postsecondary training avenues outside traditional professional educational tracks.

Many people – including people with disabilities, such as dyslexia, about whom Weitz writes – benefit from educational opportunities that are more likely to offer individualized modalities for learning a profession, trade or craft.

Through individualized learning modalities, including those commonly provided by trade schools and community colleges, some people who otherwise would not continue their education may be more able to gain recognized career accreditation.

In this way, the economy benefits from a greater number of employable people who are trained to their potential and in the fields that they desire.

In addition, since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, institutions of postsecondary education have been building their resources and supports for students with disabilities.

Disabled students of any age have a civil right to “reasonable accommodations” (accommodations that are reasonable in both cost and effort) with which to level the academic playing field with their non-disabled classmates.

One of the most common academic accommodations that is reasonable for students with a wide range of disabilities, including dyslexia, is extended time to take tests, both¬†standardized college admission tests and classroom exams. Students with dyslexia may also benefit from “listening” to their tests and textbooks, through, most often today, computer-based assistive technologies.

With regard to employment, people with dyslexia can have accommodations that include seeing or hearing job interview questions before the interview as well as having access through alternative means to written documents once they are on the job.

Miriam Hertz

Disability Action Center NW