The Reasonableness of Reasonable Adjustments!

  • Reasonable adjustments are not cheating.
  • Reasonable adjustments are not so a child can avoid work.
  • Reasonable adjustments are not unfair to other students.
  • Reasonable adjustments are not rocket science.

Reasonable adjustments are essential for students who can not complete class work at a level expected in the classroom. Schools are most certainly legally obliged to implement any adjustment for a child with dyslexia that is deemed “reasonable.” Reasonable adjustments should be adjusted over time and individualised for the student with consultation of parent, guardian and/or student.

Reasonable adjustments are a legal right under the DDA and The Disability Standards for Education. Students, parents and professionals all have a right to be involved in the process of determination of reasonable adjustments. “An ‘adjustment’ is a measure or action taken to assist a student with disability to participate in education and training on the same basis as other students. “Student Diversity.” Student Diversity – Students with Disability – The Australian Curriculum V8.3. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.

“Perhaps the most significant feature of the Education Standards is the introduction of a positive obligation on education providers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities.[355] The Standards also impose an obligation on education providers to consult with affected students or their associates in relation to such adjustments.[356]” Admin. “Federal Discrimination Law: Chapter 5 The Disability Discrimination Act.” Admin. 16 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Feb. 2017

  • You should not except a school’s decision that a request is not reasonable.
  • You should not accept a schools insistance that Dyslexia is not covered by the DDA and Education Act.
  • Many schools are not aware of their legal obligations under the Acts and they should be!

Dyslexia is a disability recognised under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 Act. These acts are federal legislation so cover every educational institution in Australia in the public and private sector. The DDA also covers discrimination of the basis of disability in all areas of Australian life including the workplace.
Disability Discrimination act 1992

“disability, in relation to a person, means:
(f) a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction;
Disability Discrimination Act 1992

You can seek further clarification with the Department of Education, Human Rights Commission or Anti-discrimation organisation in your state.

“To determine if an adjustment is reasonable an education provider must properly consider:

  • The barriers, needs or challenges confronting a student with a particular disability
  • The views of the student or their associate
  • Whether the academic standards or essential requirements of an educational course are affected by the adjustment
  • What benefits or disadvantages the adjustment might have on other people affected by it
  • The costs and benefits of making the adjustment”
    National Disability Coordination Officer Programme, Disability Standards for Education (2005)


Further information on adjustments to the Australian Curriculum can be found at

Each child will have different needs in the classroom. Adjustments will change as a child moves through the school system and with remediation. Adjustments are not a substitute for good quality instruction but are essential to enable a student to access the curriculum whilst remediation is being undertaken. Adjustments are even more essential when a child is well behind their peers in Secondary School where the gap has become quite significant.

Examples of possible adjustments to learning


  • Only ask the student to read aloud if student is comfortable.
  • Allow use of audio books.
  • Allow use of assistive technology such as c-pen and text to speech software.
  • Limit amount of reading.
  • Provide outlines, summaries, vocabulary words and preview questions.
  • Provide texts appropriate to reading age of student.


  • Provide digital dictionary
  • Teach the rules and structure of the English Language.
  • Provide word banks.
  • Do not focus on the marking spelling unless it is the goal of the task.
  • Allow use of assistive technology such as predictive spelling and specialised programs.


  • Allow use of assistive technology such as snaptype, screen shots, predictive spelling and word processor.
  • Allow extra time to complete tasks.
  • Do not expect large amounts of writing.
  • Avoid copying notes from the board.
  • Give student opportunities to express knowledge verbally.
  • Give student scaffolds, graphic organisers and writing frames.
  • Teach explicitly sentence and paragraph structure.

Organisation and memory

  • Break large tasks into steps.
  • Make instructions short, simple and clear.
  • Ask children to repeat instructions back to make sure they have understood.
  • Clarify and simplify directions.
  • Use visual aids.
  • Make allowances for poor memory in terms of handing in notes and in general school organisation.
  • Sit student with a peer helper.
  • Simplify worksheet design.
  • Email parent important information, homework and assessment tasks.


See Dyslexia and the Law Fact Sheet link which outlines the education act and Disability Discrimination act and how they apply to Dyslexia and reasonable adjustments.







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Dekker Delves into Dyslexia

Advocate for the introduction of the phonics check in Australia. Advocate for the teaching of evidence based literacy instruction for every child in every school. The explicit and systematic teaching of Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary and Comprehension. Advocate for Dyslexia Awareness I support reputable organisations such as the Australian Dyslexia Association (ADA), Learning Difficulties Australia (LDA), the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), the FIVE from FIVE Project, and the International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction (IFERI) AUSPELD and State-based SPELD organisations, as they all recommend the use of EVIDENCE-BASED TREATMENTS/PROGRAMS for learning difficulties. Mum to 2 delightful, amazing and creative kids. Mum to a kid with Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia and anxiety. Admin of Dyslexia Support Australia Group, Dyslexia Awareness Australia and Dyscalculia Awareness Australia. Board of Directors SPELD NSW 10 Years a High School Teacher All my opinions are based not only on experience as a teacher, a mum and an administrator of Australia’s largest Dyslexia Support group but on research. I believe in the scientific method and the need for education to meet the same rigorous evidence based standards as the medical profession.

8 thoughts on “The Reasonableness of Reasonable Adjustments!”

  1. The problem is getting the school to agree what is reasonable. Who do you go to when a “reasonable adjustment” is rejected by a school as they say it is not reasonable? Is there an arbitrator or ombudsman who can determine what is reasonable and what is not?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow fantastic information none of which I knew. I will check my daughters ILP With her teacher. Previous years they have been very good at her school and given her the support she so desperately needs. This year (year 6) she has a teacher that is also dyslexic, time will tell if it’s a good or bad thing but so far so good but still only early days.
    My daughter was severely neglected in the public system so much so I could write a book about it and she’s only 10. I was encouraged by other mums st the school to report them to the education board but I had no fight left in me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this Belinda. Perfect timing too. Thank you for laying it out simply and all inclusive. Ive checked my sons ILP against your suggestions and feel like I’ve covered all bases thanks to you. X

    Liked by 1 person

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