Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities
Learning disabilities dramatically impact learning, threatening the academic achievement of countless students across the United States. These disabilities may not be easily recognizable, which further complicates a teacher’s work in the classroom. To address this challenge, teachers can implement strategies to better support students with one or more disabilities.
Critical to a student’s learning experience, teachers may not be fully aware of the scope and nature of learning disability. One third of educators admit that laziness and learning disability can be easily confused, raising a problematic issue regarding awareness and understanding of disability in the teaching community.
Typically, learning disabilities refer to a group of conditions that hinder learning and academic performance. Common examples include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, and cerebral palsy.
However, not all learning disabilities are rooted in visible intellectual or cognitive issues. For instance, temporary limitations such as bone fractures or long-term conditions like epilepsy and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) can also negatively affect learning. Other hidden disabilities range from lupus and diabetes to psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Learning disabilities usually influence a student’s reading and writing progress. Some may need to repeat tasks multiple times, while others find it difficult to focus on classroom activities. Interacting with other students can be an obstacle for children who face challenges in processing social cues.
Teachers must approach students with a nuanced awareness of learning differences. Overlooking learning disability means struggling students don’t receive the attention they need to lead a healthy life in school and at home.
Organizational strategies are important in optimizing the classroom environment for better learning. Teachers should limit the number of distractions in the classroom to support students with attention problems. They can also resort to visual cues to make it easier for students to navigate the classroom. For example, using colored tape to demarcate boundaries for different areas can signal different functions like studying, playing, snacking.
Organization also entails time management with clear time slots for teaching and breaks. Breaks can benefit students overwhelmed with information processing. A predictable daily schedule enforces a clear routine for all students. Posting the schedule with easy-to-process symbols such as a pencil for studying and an apple for snacking is one approach. Teachers can facilitate access to school supplies and games by careful placement on low shelves or labeled see-through cabinets.
Students with learning disabilities, particularly intellectual ones, may find it hard to follow long or complex instructions. Teachers can break down instructions into clear and simple steps so students can manage tasks more effectively. To ensure complete understanding, teachers should phrase their instructions and task description to cover three main points: how long the task is expected to take, specific actions expected of students, and any reward for completing the task.
Teachers can introduce awards for positive results or specific achievements. This is a form of positive reinforcement that helps students celebrate their accomplishments and boosts morale.
Teachers don’t have to handle the responsibility of supporting students with disabilities alone. They can collaborate with administrators, therapists, families, and specialists to improve the learning experience for students with disabilities. Maintaining open communication with parents is especially beneficial, while regular updates about the children’s progress can guide parents in their efforts at home.
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August 16, 2022 at 05:31AM
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