Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities


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Fairly recent research has established that students with learning disabilities can be taught how to learn. In fact, they can be helped to a position so that they can even complete. Some effective strategies for teaching students with learning disabilities are mentioned below.

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Successful strategies

Two important practices for teaching students with learning disabilities were put in place in 1999 which yielded very successful results. One practice was direct instruction; the other, learning strategy instruction.

What are some of these strategies?

The teachers who applied these interventions

# would break the learning into small steps

# would administer probes

# gave quality feedback at regular intervals

# would used graphics, pictures and diagrams, as supplement to what they were teaching through words

# would provide well designed, independent and intensive practice

# would model their instructional practices for their students to follow

# gave prompts for the strategies to be used

# engaged the students in process related questions - how a certain strategy was working; where else they might apply it.

Scaffolding

Another strategy that really worked in teaching students with learning disabilities was the method of scaffolding. This meant administering explicit teacher oriented instructions, and as the students began to learn the skill, to shift to student mediated instructions.

When teaching students with learning disabilities, whether in a mainstream classroom or in a special education setting, the teacher must ensure that the activities are focused on monitoring and assessing the progress of individual students through the curriculum.

The strategies in detail: Teacher presentation

# The questions have to be asked in a clarifying manner and the students with learning disabilities have to then describe their understanding of the question.

# The course load has to be reduced for students with learning disabilities.

# An overhead projector has to be used, outlining the lesson of the day

# If it helps the disabled students, provide photocopies of the overhead transparencies and notes

# Help the students with study guides and chapter outlines that will reinforce the key points in the lessons

# Give out the course syllabus in detail before beginning the class

The students have to be asked questions in ways that help them to gain confidence, when teaching students with learning disabilities.

# The oral instructions have to be concise and logical, and they have to be reinforced with short cue words.

Complicated directions have to be repeated or reworded.

# Matter written on the chalkboard has to be verbalized frequently

# Classroom distractions like flickering lights, excessive noise etc should be eliminated

# Class presentations should be outlined on overhead transparency or chalkboard.

The material being covered in each class period has to be outlined. The important sections of each presentation should be summarized at the end of the class.

# Ensure that students have a clear understanding of class assignments

# Give the assignments in both oral and written forms.

# The more difficult lessons should be recorded and made available to the disabled students

# There has to be practice exercises if needed if a student has problems.


Types of Learning Disabilities